PR Measurement: Don’t Get Swamped By Your Data

Carrie Schum
Carrie Schum

You’ll never know if your PR efforts are making an impact unless you measure them. But how do you keep track of your efforts without being overtaken by volumes of measurement data or, worse yet, measuring the wrong data completely?

This conundrum was addressed Tuesday at PR News’ One-Day Boot Camp for Emerging PR Stars in Washington, D.C., compliments of  Carrie Schum, executive VP of strategic planning analytics and research at Porter Novelli.

“You have to decide what is to be measured,” Schum said. You can only answer that by knowing your overall objective. It could be anything, but, added Schum, “It must be influenced by communications.”

An objective also has to be specific and measurable. A good objective would be increasing your Facebook followers by 10% during the next year. A poor objective would be partnering with influencers to drive national media exposure. That is vague and not measurable.

Key performance indicators are another tool that confirms whether your program is doing what it is meant to do.

“KPIs measure the process by which you will attain your objectives,”  Schum said. “They give you the check-in points to see whether things are working as they should.  They also allow you to adjust along the way before you have your outcome data.”

A good KPI, akin to an objective, is measurable and specific, but KPI is a process. For example, driving 200,000 qualified impressions via traditional media as measured by research would be a KPI.

Schum advised communicators at the Boot Camp to be stingy when it comes to measuring PR efforts. “If you have too many objectives and KPIs you will spend all your time and money measuring, not executing," she said. "One or two goals, and three to five KPIs are plenty to get you the information you need."

For more information, please see the PR Measurement Guidebook, vol. 7

Follow Carrie Schum: @porternovelli

Follow Richard Brownell: @RickBrownell