As a PR pro who's on top of your game when it comes to measurement, it's easy to get mired in minutiae. And while details have their place, it can simplify your sense of purpose to consistently be mindful of what will make a difference to the execs. What matters to them matters to the business (and, let's face it, matters to your career).
Lisa Bell, vice president of public relations at 451 Marketing, often asks her team: "What piece of coverage, idea or initiative is the CEO going to tell his buddies about over a beer, or his family at the holiday dinner table?" Such a question puts into perspective your worries over how many impressions you got in Q3. It's far more likely that the boss will tell people about the one feature article you landed that led to four new clients.
In the PR News Book of PR Measurement Strategies Vol. 9, Bell gives the following tips to ensure that you and the C-Suite are on the same page when it comes to PR goals:
Meet face to face. According to a PR News survey, 25 percent of respondents said they do not have face-to-face meetings with clients to determine which outcomes from PR programs tie into organizational goals. It’s not a surprise that some brands have a tough time monetizing their PR programs. Measurement can’t operate in a management vacuum.
Identify the challenge. Be as inquisitive as a 4-year-old. Ask, “Why?” Ask it again. And again. Sometimes you need to ask a CEO or CMO several times to finally get to the root of what he/she is looking for from PR. First look at what the problem is in their minds and then think about how PR can solve it. That’s what should be measured. Is it tone of coverage, for example? Quantity of coverage? More social engagement to gain additional users?
What can PR realistically do to fix a problem? Be specific. When executed correctly, PR can make or break a brand in the eyes of customers and the media, but PR has its limits. PR professionals know this better than anyone, despite what your client might think. Don’t set yourself up for failure by letting blind ambition lead you. Step up to the challenge with a thoughtful strategy detailing what steps need to be taken to succeed.
■ If it doesn’t help figure out what to do next, skip it. Remember that wonderful little acronym from when we first learned how to write essays in school? K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple, stupid). There’s a reason we still remember it to this day—it holds just as much merit with our work now as it did back then. Just because there are a bazillion KPIs doesn’t mean they all contribute equally to the success of a campaign. If you’re reporting a metric simply for the sake of reporting it without gaining much insight into how to proceed, delete it. De-clutter reporting for the clearest picture of where your campaign is succeeding and where it may be failing.
For further insight on managing your measurement efforts, attend the PR News Measurement Conference in Chicago on Nov. 18. Speakers will deliver case studies and tips from their work with companies such as AARP, Affect, General Mills, MasterCard, Medtronic and Porter Novelli.
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