What follows are 10 surefire ways to help you measure the right activities and then translate your results—so that everyone gets the message.
1. Go ahead and jump in—before you get pushed. If you’re sitting back waiting for your leadership to ask you to measure your efforts, you’re missing a good opportunity to jump in and take control of the measurement process.
2. Speak the language of business. Measurement starts with the company’s overall business objectives, and these company objectives should be used to define PR metrics or your communications performance indicators (CPIs).
3. One-trick ponies don’t last in the circus. Measuring just one form of PR activity, such as print media mentions, doesn’t offer a comprehensive view of your PR strategy.
4. Connect the dots between clip counts. By using multi-faceted metrics, you can start to identify trends in coverage, sentiment and favorability. Armed with this analysis, you can begin to anticipate the outcome and consequences of your organization’s next move.
5. Don’t miss the point. With metrics in hand, your mission becomes identifying the opportunities and risks facing the company. You need to understand the key business issues and any cause and effect that come as a consequence of your communications strategy.
6. Measure perception, not coverage. Reality doesn’t matter in PR; it’s all about managing perception. Perception defines the environment in which the company operates and is often a leading indicator of its performance.
7. Count the sheep while tending the flock. In addition to providing a balanced view of your coverage, consider developing a way to measure the process of educating the media.
8. Set your sights on the competition. Competitive benchmarking can be done for almost any type of measurement, but should be based on your company’s objectives.
9. Show the love, then measure it. Since public relations is primarily concerned with building strategic relationships with key publics, this should be one of the key metrics that you report to senior leadership.
10. Pretty pictures aren’t just for walls. Recognize that presentation of your measurement report is important. You must understand your audience and the type of metrics they need.