PR measurementWinning a PR award can boost your self-esteem, not to mention your career. A PR award gains recognition for the team that created the campaign and can be instrumental in attracting additional clients to a PR agency.

How do you get your application to rise to the top and gain the respect and attention of judges? (Bribes don’t work.)

Winning an award requires following the basics, such as following instructions, proofreading the submission and adhering to the word limit. But there’s one single factor that’s most important winning a PR award: measurement — more specifically, measuring results against objectives.

PR Measurement Analytics for Award Entries

Here’s some advice from public relations experts on how to win a PR award by measuring results.

Select a high-impact campaign. The key is to pick a campaign where your PR impacted important business metrics. PR may be just a small part of the overall business operations, but it’s important to highlight the importance of your PR efforts.

Explain shortcomings. Award applications typically allow around 1000 to 1500 words to explain the campaign. Some space can be used to clarify shortcomings or discrepancies. Honesty can work in your favor as long as the campaign provided major benefits to the organization.

Get analytical. Cite ample metrics, especially for objectives and results. However, citing key business metrics is preferable to “vanity metrics” such as retweets or Facebook likes that may not impact the bottom line.

It’s not mandatary to quantify every single element. Sometimes, attempting to quantify an objective is not possible. In those cases, describing qualitative results will suffice. The key is to describe the campaign’s path from objectives to results.

Get Smart

Following the SMART criteria can help applicants structure the application and identify objectives. The acronym stands for:

Specific – target a specific area for improvement.

Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress.

Assignable – specify who will do it.

Realistic – state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.

Time-related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved.

Barcelona Principles

In presenting analytics in PR award entries, it’s essential to meet the Barcelona Principles. In fact, PR measurement expert Katie Paine of Paine Publishing is urging judges to disqualify any PR award entries that do not comply with the Barcelona Principles.

Measuring results against the stated objective is a fundamental rule of PR measurement. Yet shockingly, alleged examples of PR success fail to follow that rule.

“I recently read three highly touted case studies of content marketing success and every single one of them broke the most cardinal rule of measurement,” she wrote in her blog.

The applicants clearly never read or intended to follow the principles. That indicates that the people behind the Barcelona principles need to do a better job of educating PR pros.

Instead of accepting any entry from any organization that ponies up the entry fee, organizations holding PR awards contents should state clearly that any entry that does not show results that reflect the goals and objectives will be disqualified.

A PR Example

Paine offers a typical example. A pet food company launched a video campaign designed to “Reinforce the key message that puppies need specialized nutrition.” The video did a good job showing that puppies are cute but need a lot of attention. The message that puppies need special food was far from obvious.

The PR team measured views, likes, and shares. They should have measured percentage of views that watched longer than two minutes (when the message actually appeared) and deducted the rest, as well pre- and post-understanding of the nutritional needs of puppies.

Including some sort of action response in a PR campaign such as a campaign-specific coupon, a specific response URL, or a request for an ebook makes it easier to measure PR results against business objectives, and adds credibility to claims of success in PR award entries.

Bottom Line: Winning a PR award can boost client companies, PR agencies and the individuals who created and implemented the campaign. However, many PR applicants fail to sufficiently measure how their campaign outcomes succeeded in meeting stated goals, a key criteria in today’s business environment and in judging of PR award entries. Winning entries feature credible PR measurement of business outcomes.

This article was originally published on the CyberAlert blog.