PR Measurement [Infographic from @onboardly]

PR Measurement [Infographic from @onboardly]

PR MeasurementThe value of PR is often questioned, especially when people hear that the results can be intangible. But, measurement goes hand in hand with PR and is a topic that many have dedicated a great deal of time to, not least of whom is Katie Paine. And, with the right metrics and approaches in place, PR’s impact can be easily derived. Take it from Bill Gates who knows the value of PR and famously once said, “If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on public relations.”

With all of this in mind, Onboardly recently developed an infographic that takes a look at the power of PR and some best practices for its measurement. By looking at pitch interactions and coverage shares, combined with new referral links, website traffic and leads, companies can start down the path to determining their ROI for PR. Take a look…  Read more

Google Trends Show PR Insights

Google Trends Show PR Insights

Google TrendsGoogle Trends may be one of my new favorite tools. Not only is interesting to see fluctuations in hot topics of the day or things you’re interested in, but it’s great for PR campaign measurement too. Something public relations professionals constantly struggle with is showing ROI on media campaigns, which are often more tangential in nature. But, thanks to tools like Google Analytics, which can (hopefully) show traffic spikes on clients’ websites after major announcements or media pushes, and, now also Google Trends, the task of demonstrating ROI is becoming a bit easier. Read more

Blog Panel – Part 2: How Social Media Will Shape 2010

Blog Panel – Part 2: How Social Media Will Shape 2010

This is the second post in the blog panel series I’m participating in with Krim StephensonJohn Sidline, and Frank Strong.  To view the first post on the biggest lessons learned this year for PR, see here.

In my first post, Blog Panel – Part 1: 2009’S Biggest PR Lessons Learned, I discussed how social media played a pivotal role in 2009 for the PR industry.  Specifically, I discussed the importance of listening and observing social media instead of just participating while also being transparent through your social media interactions.  I believe the lessons we’ve learned about social media, like these, are going to help shape how public relations evolves in the coming year in two main ways:

1. Keep it Short and Sweet

Social media has taught us to keep our words snappy – short and sweet.  With brief status updates on LinkedIn and Facebook, and only a 140 character limit on Twitter, we’ve learned to get our point across as succinctly as possible.  I talked about the importance of being able to describe things concisely in an earlier post, Making a Successful Elevator Pitch, but what’s important to note is where this social media induced trend is taking us.  Social media has not only trained us to deliver our own message in as few words as possible, but has also taught us to read and look for the shortest messages delivered by others.  For the public relations industry, this is an important thing to realize as it is going to affect how we pitch, write press releases, and communicate stories.  All of a sudden, the subject line of your email becomes that much more important since that’s likely breaching the 140 character limit people have become so accustomed to.

2. Measure the Impact

With the growing importance of social media, many companies are going to start wanting to measure the social media impact or effect of our PR campaigns.  Some social media measurement tools like Radian 6 are already on the market, but are still quite pricey.  Measuring the ROI of public relations has always been an industry challenge, as I recently pointed out in my post, How to Measure PR Efforts, and social media will be no different.  But by doing searches on Twitter and tracking fans on your client’s Facebook page for instance, we’ll be able to see where conversations are heading and how people are reacting to our latest PR tactics.

Companies are continuing to invest in social media and will expect to see some direct results from that investment.  In a report from earlier this year, Forrester Research asked 114 global companies with 250 employees or more what their 2009 budget looks like for social media, even during a downturn, and found that 53% indicated an increase in their social media budget.  According to another report, conducted byEconsultancy and bigmouthmedia, they found an overwhelming 86% of companies surveyed plan to spend more money on social media in 2010.  Our clients are realizing social media’s importance, so we should be prepared to show them exactly why and how it is important and being impacted by our PR efforts in the coming year.

See what the other panelists are saying about this on their blogs:

The third and final post in this panel series will be published on Tuesday, January 5th, on what we see as the major changes that will unfold in our industry in 2010 and beyond.  Stay tuned!

How to Measure PR Efforts

How to Measure PR Efforts

This afternoon, I attended PR News’ Advanced PR Measurement Workshop: Strategies To Boost Reputation & Market Share Across all Platforms.  Johna Burke, SVP Marketing, BurrellesLuce, Ashley Welde, Director of Startegy Development, Burson-Marsteller, and Kellie Parker, Community Manager, Sega of America, spoke about how to tackle measuring PR efforts.  How do you measure success?

Measuring PR is an issue that has been around as long as the PR industry itself and it’s helpful to know that even these successful executives struggle with many of the same challenges.  The webinar provided some useful insight though that made it all worthwhile.  There’s a major difference between strategy and return as Johna pointed out.  There’s lots of terminology in the marketplace that can’t equate to a return or relate to the company’s bottom line or business objectives.  It’s more about executing a strategy and defining the parameters with your internal team.  Setting measurable metrics with applicable values and realistic expectations is an important first step.

Many companies put off measuring their work because they do not have a good starting point.  A good place to start is looking at where PR is a key fit to your client’s organization.  It’s important to have a benchmark so you can know where you are now and see how you grow – in what areas you excel and what areas you can improve.  Kellie notes that it’s not just about page views and visits though.  Fans, followers, views, re-tweets, and sentiment is all important when tracking – especially for social media.  There are many sources of data for one tracking report.

To avoiding measurement mistakes it’s important to:

  • Focus on measurable objectives at the beginning
  • Measure the impact of the organization’s objectives – not just the program objectives
  • Measure throughout the duration of the program, not just at the end

When I asked Ashley how you can measure the direct impact PR has on lead generation, she answered that this is particularly difficult since there is never just one component driving a message.  Ideally, to do this, you would need to isolate all the other moving parts so that you could measure just the effects of the PR campaign.  However, there are so many things going on at once that this is not possible.  Ashley’s answer was to simply track, track, track.  Whether it’s daily, weekly, or monthly, looking at website traffic, incoming links, and the like will help show patterns and trends.  Only after six months or so will the real trends start to emerge and then you can remove superfluous activity that’s having an effect on what you’re measuring, but not resulting from PR.

While this may seem like a daunting task, it’s all the more important today as Ashley notes that since the economic crisis, 32% of CEOs are much more concerned about PR ROI than in previous years.  Only 26% of CEOs are very satisfied with their PR, which leaves a vast majority in need of convincing and demonstrating how and why their PR is important and successful to their business as a whole.  Ashley noted that, according to their research, CEOs are investing only 26% in PR market research, while investing 34% in advertising, and 36% in sales.  The need to show PR’s benefits is clear, but the challenges of tracking and measuring PR’s success and influence are still great.

Above all, Johna notes that it’s important to be SMARTSpecific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, andTimely when tracking your efforts.  It’s a lot of work to track your PR success and show an impact on the customer’s business, but is well worth the time and effort.