PR measurement, evaluation and analysis: a guide

PR people from around the globe recently met in Barcelona for a conference on measuring public relations.

The professionals in attendance came up with a seven point measurement standard for the public relations industry.
.
The initial reaction from the blogosphere was that these points didn’t offer anything new and told PR people what they already knew.

My guess is that the PR Week article didn’t reflect the depth at which each of these points were discussed. Instead it inspired me to write this post on measurement.

So, just how can you measure PR?

Prior planning
What seems to be missing from most PR blog posts on this subject is that measurement should begin before a proposal has even been written.

Public relations experts use planning tools, similar to those used in advertising, to find out about:
– Markets, products, services, demographics, media and attitudes, e.g. TGI data or Caci for example
– online media profiling, e.g. using www.google.com/adplanner or Metrica’s http://www.metrica.net/ tools, which I have used.

Note, I promised to blog about Metrica because I used their great planning tool but fatherhood distracted me, sorry lads.

By undertaking planning, PR consultants can target campaigns, but also help to inform objective setting. More on this later.

Set public relations objectives
The first important step is to set SMART PR objectives
– e.g. achieve a three per cent sales increase on an e-commerce site by targeting the travel media.
Without SMART KPIs you can’t measure. Don’t be scared to set PR objectives which link directly to business outcomes, rather than media coverage objectives. However don’t neglect media objectives too.

What to measure?

Impact
It doesn’t matter if an article had all your key messages in and was 32 pages long if it had no impact with your target audience. To measure impact you can:

– Use sales or footfall data. Have you seen a return on investment? What was it?
– Monitor behavioural change. Read this post on behavioural economics
– Undertake opinion tracking studies of customers.
– What do they think?
– Has it changed?
– Research the views analysts and industry experts
– Survey your staff.

Competitors
Don’t just monitor yourself. Monitor your competitors PR activity.
– As a percentage has their share of voice decreased?
– What is the impact of their campaign on yours? What do your customers think of them?
– Demonstrate client and competitor social search visibility.

SEO
PR has a huge impact on SEO so measure it. Too many PR agencies fail when it comes to measuring online coverage. IT IS SIMPLE TO DO.
– Use Yahoo Site Explorer to measure backlinks.
– Map out when press coverage was achieved and overlay it to Google Analytics data on site visitors.
– Is there a correlation?
– Referral sites, where did visitors come from?
– Compare news content ranking with competitors.
– Run a keyword ranking report and compare to a competitors.
– Set keyword ranking goals and overlay any changes with PR coverage.

Interaction
Has your campaign created interaction with a community or group, both on or off line? Radian6 is good for online but expensive. In the real world, maybe monitoring the impact on third parties is a job for a community relations officer?

Coverage measurement
Don’t forget that nothing makes the client happier than clippings. Although the real power of public relations is shown with its impact on the business, a managing director loves to see physical results.

– How many clippings, articles, bookmarks, retweets, reblogs, readers or viewers have you achieved?
– Group the media based on importance. Is this a tier one, two or three title (one being most important)?
– Regionality: are you reaching all the right places both globally and locally.
– Photography: it’s a metric for print media, but a picture can really improve page impact, and readability.
– Advertising equivalent value (AVE): Firstly contrary to the CIPR, AVE is OK and is not “dead”, it is just not that important in the grand scheme of things.
– Key messages: create key messages and measure their number, prominence and effect on the overall tone of the article. This can be done:

o quantitatively (e.g. how many times these appeared in the article.)
o qualitatively (e.g. was the theme of the article consistently on or off message?)
o by analysing use of spokespeople: where they quoted?
o Favourability.

– Journalists/ analyst/ blogger tracking: what are they saying and why and has it changed over time?
– Social-economic penetration: has the coverage reached your target audience?
– Reach frequency and opportunities to see.

There are lots more different ways to measure, but I am stopping now. I could go on and on and on. If you want to know more about PR measurement, drop me a line or visit AMEC.

Tags: , Posted by
  • Great post James, and thanks for the Radian6 mention.

    I like that you’ve included both qualitative and quantitative measurement objectives. What really stood out for me though is your emphasis on the importance of the planning/research stage as part of any PR activity – couldn’t agree more.

    Olivia Landolt
    Marketing and Community Manager
    @6Consulting

    6Consulting | The UK’s authorized Radian6 partner

    • Cheers Olivia. Planning is important.

  • Great post James, and thanks for the Radian6 mention.

    I like that you’ve included both qualitative and quantitative measurement objectives. What really stood out for me though is your emphasis on the importance of the planning/research stage as part of any PR activity – couldn’t agree more.

    Olivia Landolt
    Marketing and Community Manager
    @6Consulting

    6Consulting | The UK’s authorized Radian6 partner

    • Cheers Olivia. Planning is important.

  • latitudemedia

    On measuring public relations @theprcoach: Meandering Through Measurement #PR http://bit.ly/aJDCXV

  • latitudemedia

    On measuring public relations @theprcoach: Meandering Through Measurement #PR http://bit.ly/aJDCXV

Get in touch