April 3, 2020
In life, rewards are offered for results and not just for efforts. Therefore, there must be a concise, clear and agreed way to measure so as to know when the set results have been achieved. Public Relations (PR) is not exempt from this growing need to measure everything.
To begin to measure, we must set a target and be ready to measure outputs, measure outtakes and measure outcomes. The goal is to evaluate the impact of the PR effort.
Measurement is the way to know that your PR is working.
So, it needs to be done and done properly, effectively and regularly.
But what is measurement? Measurement is a way of giving an activity a precise dimension, generally by comparison to some standard; usually done in a quantifiable or numerical manner. (Public Relations Measurement and Research Dictionary, 3rd Edition).
Measurement has also been described as the process(es) of taking specific measures, such as counting items, collecting ratings on a scale, or capturing data online. Measurement can be done before, during, and after various programs, campaigns or projects and can produce quantitative and qualitative data.
Why measure PR?
The Public Relations Society of America says that without appropriate measurements, you cannot truly gauge success. You need to measure PR to prove value to your client, management and board.
Essentially, PR measurement:
- Provides a guideline for evaluating the success of a campaign, particularly in relation to set objectives.
- Provides strategic insights that enable PR professionals to make better and smarter decisions.
How to measure PR
To get you started in measuring, here are five ways to measure PR:
#1 Press Clippings
The number of press clippings mentioning the brand or its services can be used to indicate the success of a PR activity. The more mentions a brand gets in selected media outlets, the higher the chances of increasing brand recognition. The catch here is that articles have to appear in publications where the target audience are most likely to view them.
#2 Content Analysis
Apart from gathering press clippings, client evaluates PR by the quality of content reported by the press. They also check if their brand’s message is properly narrated and portrayed in a positive light. It is with these they determine if their investment in PR is truly worth it.
#3 Media Impressions
Another way of quantifying PR success is through media impressions. This is achieved by multiplying the press clippings (over a period of time) by the total circulation of publications it appeared in. For instance, if a newspaper with a total circulation of one million mentioned your brand, you have gained one million media impressions. This figure may be more, especially in a country like Nigeria when more than one person is likely to view a newspaper.
#4 Social Media Engagement
With the role digital plays in PR by taking brand conversations online, it is now easy to determine on social media if PR is working. During a campaign, social media reach can be measured by the conversations going on in the online community about a brand. Such mentions and engagements inform the client about the activities of PR and how it has increased awareness of the brand.
#5 Website Traffic
This way of measuring PR investments comes in handy especially when launching a campaign. Here, the volume of website traffic before a campaign is measured against the volume after. This determines how effective a campaign was, by either showing an increase or a reduction in website traffic. It eliminates doubts about the efforts of PR.
Of course, there are other types of measurements beyond those listed here, and oftentimes, one single metrics alone is not sufficient. So, it now becomes a case of choosing the best option (or mix) that fits a specific purpose and plan.
In addition, there are also several proprietary measurement standards developed and deployed by the top PR practitioners. Smaller PR firms can begin to think in the same direction. The important thing is, no matter what you do, measure!
PR measurements enable you to focus resources on what works, adjust plans on what does not work and allow you to make informed decisions on next steps to carry out.
This is why at Mediacraft Associates, PR measurement is an indispensable part of the strategic solutions that we provide for all our clients.
Daniel Eteghe, a Public relations executive writes from Lagos.