Measuring the value of PR can be more challenging than measuring other marketing channels, because PR is all about awareness. While that is tremendously valuable, it doesn’t always translate into an immediate sale; at least not on its own. Measuring the advertising value equivalency (AVE) of media hits is irrelevant to the impact of those PR wins. While ads and editorial may be on the same page, that’s where the similarities end.
For an extremely thorough and maybe just a tiny bit overly-academic answer to the question of how to measure PR, you can turn to AMEC, the International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication.
Let me summarize here our philosophy and best practices for measurement:
What We Measure
We measure press mentions, the circulation and reach of those mentions, share of voice, key message pull-through and sentiment. With that mix, you have both quantity and quality covered. We can also view how those hits are doing through the lens of social media by measuring the sharing, commenting, and liking of those PR stories.
PR goals should absolutely align with business goals, therefore we are also happy to collaborate with clients, when possible, in measuring PR’s impact on sales, leads, website traffic, and other metrics.
The Importance of Planning Ahead
We should agree ahead of time what to measure, for what time period (the next quarter, the next month, etc.), and against which competitors. Searching backwards for media trends and hits is difficult and often leads to inaccurate results.
Don’t Overdo Measurement
Yes – measurement is essential, but too much time and effort spent on measuring results can take away from the budget you’ve set for actually achieving those results. We believe in scaling measurement to match the size and maturity of your company. Coverage analysis and reports for a company like Oracle, for example, will look very different from the measurement required for a nimble, young start-up.
Not to mention that some things simply can’t be measured with numbers. For example, a mobile video company client was thrilled to finally get a major wireless carrier endorsement via a press release. And while the resulting articles were excellent, nothing compared to the doors that opened for the business development team with other carriers. The message here is to think beyond the spreadsheet when you consider the value that PR brings to your organization.
If you’d like to discuss PR measurement or anything else PR-related, feel free to reach out to us.