4 standards to set for PR measurement

Boosting a client’s reputation alone won’t cut it anymore. Here are some ways to ensure that you can prove your worth.

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I led a roundtable on PR measurement, and we didn’t get past the second slide.

That’s because the first slide asked: “How does your agency measure PR success?”

The PR agency owners in attendance, hailing from all over the country, offered an array of answers with limited crossover among them. I learned that ad equivalency rates have (finally) gone by the wayside, but in their place there has cropped up a slew of metrics that PR agencies and in-house PR pros use.

Based on the points that came up during this discussion and in the many others I’ve had with colleagues over the years, I’d like to offer four standards for PR measurement that could cover all the bases:

1. Earned media and social mentions

Since the dawn of PR, we’ve been counting what we earn. That’s not going to stop, and it shouldn’t. But consider this: Are you assigning a value to every earned placement? Does a tweet by someone with 10,000 followers hold the same weight as one from someone with 1,000 followers within your client’s industry? Does a mention in the local Business Journal have the same impact as a mention in a popular industry blog?

Not all earned results are created equal, so let’s add some depth to those numbers.

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