Before embarking on any project, the general rule is to have clearly defined objectives and goals. Without them, the entire project is likely a waste of time and resources.
But, for many public relations projects or campaigns, goals are often meaningless because they are an afterthought rather than a key part of the initial planning.
Over the years, PR measurement has evolved for the better due in part to the power of social media and the emergence of sophisticated measurement tools. To our delight, gone are the days of manually counting clips and comparing an earned media placement to the equivalent of a purchased advertisement. Today, PR and social media professionals take a more holistic approach that evaluates both quantitative and qualitative data.
At WordWrite, we’ve adopted the industry standard, The Barcelona Principles, for tracking and measuring the success of our work on behalf of our clients. One of the principles (there are 7 total) is the total rejection of advertising value equivalents as a concept to value PR, media content or earned media. Obviously, this is a complete departure from the early days of PR measurement and we’re certainly grateful for that!
Instead, we look at three key categories:
- Outputs: materials or tactics to share a story (press release, news conference, media pitch, etc.)
- Outtakes: broad, accurate and compelling articulation of the story and messaging, as evidenced by quality and quantity of media coverage, increased visibility
- Outcomes: identified metrics that tie back to a business objective
Drilling down within those areas, there are many metrics you can choose to measure. What’s most important is to identify ones that closely tie back to your business goals whenever possible. Some of our most successful client engagements were the result of being aligned with the marketing department. Our metrics overlapped, telling a more complete story for leadership, further reinforcing ROI.
Once you’ve chosen the metrics, establish your baseline and create a document to track progress. On a weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly basis, review the data and course correct if things aren’t progressing as you’d anticipated. Senior leadership will often only want to see quarterly or yearly data, but you’ll need to have your finger on the pulse of the project so frequent monitoring is key.
If you have a PR project in mind but aren’t sure how to measure success, we’d be happy to talk through your goals and help you create a simple way to track progress so you can demonstrate ROI for your company.