Measuring PR, A Series: Working Backward to Decide on Objectives and KPIs
Measuring PR continues to be one of the biggest challenges in our industry. To really dig into these challenges and present solutions to measure the most important metrics, I decided one analysis would not be enough. Welcome to my first series of three for measuring PR!
Measuring success is important in any industry. But in PR, we have not cracked the nut on how to do it well. Advertising value equivalency has been debunked as a bad metric. Big impression numbers are nice to look at but seem shallow.
I attended PR Measurement Boot Camp 2 where I was able to learn from Jen Bruce with Adobe, SEO expert Stella Bayles, and CEO Katie Delahaye Paine with Paine Publishing, on how best to measure media and PR efforts. While there were many takeaways, I’ve decided to start my series off with the value of KPIs.
First, it’s important to recognize the difference between key performance indicators (KPIs) and your team’s objectives. An objective helps guide us towards the finish line, while KPIs illustrate whether we are performing above or below the target interval we’ve set. In order for us to accurately set our goals, objectives and KPIs, it’s essential that we should decide first on what is valuable and worth measuring. That way, we can put in place a measurement system that allows us to get that data and act on it.
What makes PR measurement even more difficult is figuring out the right data to collect; there is a danger in relying on the wrong types of numbers. That’s why it’s important to base your measurement structure on business goals and objectives. It doesn’t do your campaign any good to get billions of impressions on something that resulted in your company’s market share or popularity dropping.
Developing your objectives just got a lot easier if you work backward from answering the questions above.
The cool part about measuring PR efforts is that every campaign, initiative, or event can be measured in different ways. What does the perfect story look like for your organization or your client? Does the type of outlet matter to you? Does the story need to have a video or image included? Does coverage need to occur in a specific market? Do you need a certain number of people to visit the website? Whatever your metrics are, make sure you have a number of qualitative AND quantitative measurements.
Once you are able to define the metrics that matter most to your communication objectives, score away!
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