If you’ve been measuring PR results for a while, it’s likely your reports contain at least a few meaningless metrics.
Maybe they’re outdated, ancillary or obsolete. Perhaps you’ve been trying to measure activities with data points that don’t really capture what you want them to. In any case, your measurement is getting dragged down by dead weight.
Sound familiar? Here are four approaches to dealing with broken or meaningless metrics:
1. Rethink what you’re measuring.
This approach works particularly well if you have a new boss or CEO. Explain that you’ve decided to measure your performance against actual business objectives, so you’re revamping monthly or quarterly reports to reflect the impact on business goals.
This approach can be tricky if there are people invested in the old data points. Even if it’s useless or antiquated information, some folks might fight to keep the old ways simply due to familiarity. Be prepared for tough conversations to make sure everyone agrees on what metrics are most important.
As for how many items to track, everyone will be happier to see five meaningful metrics—as opposed to 105 numbers no one knows what to do with.
2. Drop the most meaningless metrics.
Are you pumping out monthly reports that include metrics of dubious value just because they’ve always been there?
Try leaving out some of the least substantive metrics and see if anyone notices. If the metrics are deemed important, you can always add them back in. If no one misses them, then banish them to the trash heap of history.
3. Stop with the charts and numbers; focus on providing insight.
Your leadership team cares about the insight your data can reveal. How can you improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your department?
Spend less time worrying about dashboards and calculations and more time drawing useful conclusions. Spend even more time discussing results and learning from failures.
If you can illustrate your conclusions with some nice charts, great—but focus on the insights.
4. If you have time or money for only one system, use Google Analytics.
Data are easy to come by. The difficult part is figuring out how to organize, analyze and draw insight from heaps of information.
If you don’t have the time or money to survey regularly or analyze reams of data, Google Analytics is an effective one-stop shop. It’s free, there are plenty of great tutorials on how to set it up, and dashboards are included. Once Google Analytics is set up, it’s a breeze to generate reports.
If only it were so easy to get consensus on which metrics are the most important to track.
A version of this post first appeared on Paine Publishing.