PR – Measurement Tips

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CARMA International has been providing the PR News community with a weekly PR measurement tip. Here are all the Measurement Tips of the Week, to date.

  • Just like with all measurement results, media performance is relative; results that are sub-par for one company or industry might be great for another, depending on the context in which the companies and industries are operating.

  • When deciding how well you performed in the press, it’s vital to take into account your competitive context and media environment. Just hitting your message points is not enough.
  • Be careful to use automated measurement tools only for a wide-angle-lens view. Boolean logic and computerized sentiment can easily misread the truth.
  • Focus your efforts on measurable questions. Casting too wide a net can leave you overwhelmed and under-informed.
  • Identify and maintain a core set of critical measurements so that your measurement efforts in the future can be honestly compared with your present and past performance.
  • Don’t measure your work after the fact. Start every campaign with clear goals and objectives for what you want to accomplish, and then select tools and metrics that will deliver against your plan.
  • Target the media outlets that are most relevant to you. Deep intelligence on a highly relevant set of news is almost always more valuable and actionable than a more dilute analysis of a broader, less relevant set of media.
  • Be honest with yourself and your clients. Measure negative coverage as broadly and deeply as you measure positive news.
  • Do not force measurement of sentiment into just positive, neutral or negative buckets. Identifying the degree of sentiment more precisely, such as using a quantifiable scale, enables analyses that are both more accurate and actionable.
  • You may be surprised at how affordable human media analysis can be. Don't settle for automated solutions without checking all your options first.
  • Make media measurement more than a scorecard. It should be used as a tool for learning and managing performance. Measure, learn, implement and improve.
  • Measurement for the sake of measurement is not useful unless there are actions taken to improve results—both outputs and outcomes. Use analysis to guide your actions.
  • Use correlation methods to link media outputs to business outcomes. It's a simple, cost-effective and statistically sound way to help your organization move beyond the anecdotal with data-driven intelligence the C-suite will get behind.
  • If getting placements in your target media outlets isn't actually getting the business results you want to achieve, you may want to refocus your PR strategy.
  • Goal setting and measurement should be essential aspects of any PR activity. If you do not know the target then you cannot assess if you have hit it or not.
  • Without competitive analysis, you don't have benchmarks to compare to for your PR plan.
  • Report measurement results in the language of business leaders. Avoid PR speak such as "buzz," "impressions" and "influencers."
  • In share of voice comparisons, make sure that tone is scored separately for each competitor. For example, a story may be rated positive overall, but in actuality it may include some negative messaging toward your company or a competitor's. Automated analysis can't always make a distinction, so be sure to check your results.
  • Conduct a baseline analysis to identify a core set of media outlets and influencers that are key for a more intensive ongoing measurement program.
  • While advertisers and marketers may prefer using unique visitors per month when calculating audience reach for online campaigns, the average number of unique visitors per day is a better metric for PR pros to use for audience reach. UVD is more comparable to a print outlet's circulation and broadcast outlet's audience than is UVM.
  • Understanding what didn't work in your PR program is just as important—if not more important—as understanding what did work. Examine which goals were not met, which aspects of your campaign missed their targets and which efforts did not result in the type of coverage (either quantity or quality) that you hoped for, and explore what might have gone wrong and what can be learned from these failures.
  • With any PR campaign, it is not important what your intentions were. What is important is the effect the campaign had, both in terms of the resulting coverage and in the campaign's impact on your organizational objectives or results. These effects can be unearthed only through a comprehensive media measurement program that incorporates an output-to-outcome analysis.
  • The sound approach to any measurement program is to analyze a broader set of comprehensive elements coupled with campaign-specific elements to get both the big picture and more targeted information.
  • Use a broader baseline analysis to identify a core set of media outlets and influencers for more intensive ongoing outreach and measurement.
  • Your measurement vendor should be an integral part of your team. They can not only tell you how you did yesterday, they can provide insights that can assist you with planning for tomorrow.