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By Kelly Byrd March 15, 2017 Reading time: 3 minutes


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PR measurement

By now you’ve likely begun to implement some updated PR measurement practices to more accurately prove the value of your work. I’m talking data that dives far deeper than impressions and press hits.

Hopefully, you are doing your due diligence in analyzing and interpreting PR data that can help you continually refine your communications strategy and realign your tactics. But how do you know if your measurement practices are truly where they should be?

Here are four signs you may have some room to grow in the “modern PR measurement” department, along with tips for forging forward.

1. You can’t recall explaining the relevance of your go-to PR metrics to coworkers beyond your immediate team.

Part of implementing more effective PR measurement practices is educating fellow teams within your organization so they understand what success looks like (in your world). If you report PR wins and data to a greater marketing group, but never take the time to explain your measurement system, it makes it nearly impossible for anyone to benefit from what you’re sharing.

When explaining how modern PR measurement works to those who are unfamiliar, follow the advice of Ketchum SVP KayAnn Schoeneman and consider the various stages of PR measurement: 1. Output (media relationships developed, placements gained, awareness garnered, perceptions changed), 2. Outcomes (social amplification, website traffic driven, actions taken), and 3. Impact (overall as it pertains to various goals).

When your colleagues have a clear window into how you think about your work and decide what justifies a success, they’ll be able to draw more of their own insights.

2. You have a hard time proving the value of your work.

As AirPR’s Chief Strategy Officer Rebekah Iliff has noted, “If you cannot translate PR to business value, it’s very difficult to prove success and be a leader.” Many marketers measure results against the KPIs they and their colleagues are used to — such as impressions — and not necessarily against the metrics that truly show successful performance.

Make sure the entire team understands how various PR and marketing metrics relate to each other, the customer journey, and your company’s business objectives. For example, does your marketing team realize that PR is a driver of high-quality, top-of-funnel leads?

3. You don’t feel comfortable articulating PR’s value.

Here’s an important reminder from Jennefer Witter, CEO of NYC-based PR firm The Boreland Group: “You must always be able to defend what you’re doing, and explain why it’s a benefit.”

When you present results, think about how you can best demonstrate a solid understanding of “new-world PR metrics” so there’s a focus on lessons learned and how you’ll evolve your strategy moving forward rather than an explanation of the work at hand. Proper articulation of PR’s value is all about providing meaningful context, and practice makes perfect.

4. You’re not sure how to replicate success.

Julia Monti, VP of Global Communications at Mastercard reminds us: “Data is not just about measuring success. Also use data to inform strategy.” Change the perspective on measurement from “reporting results” to “a guide for next steps.”

After proving or disproving your predictions of what’s driving the results you’re seeking, use those performance indicators to inform your strategies and tactics. Once you are measuring the right data, review the results on an ongoing basis and use that review as a guide for evolving your efforts. That will make the difference between simply doing what’s asked of you and what actually works.

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