Are you stuck in a measurement rut? Are you using the same measurement tools you’ve been using since you started out in PR? Maybe now is the time to make a change.
At the end of every activity or any piece of campaign work, it is essential to evaluate what has gone well, what can be improved, what you wouldn’t choose to do again, and the reasons why.
Here are five great tools to answer those questions.
1. Carry out a target-audience perception audit.
A perception audit should never be an audit of the general population, as no brand is targeted at everyone. Sample error and sample bias are common issues with communication audits. A smaller, representative sample of your target audience will deliver far greater results than a large, random survey.
2. Track inquiries and web search results.
If your objective is more leads, inquiries, and Web traffic, then those are the things you measure. At a very basic leve,l you can simply look for an uplift in inquiries around a campaign or over a period of time. If you want to isolate the impact of a PR campaign from other marketing activity and if budgets allow, then using PR to publicize a particular telephone number or creating backlinks that link to a specific website is highly effective.
3. Monitor the level of click through activity and downloads.
Download counts of owned content provide instant feedback on whether what you are communicating is actively engaging your customer base. At a media relations level, backlinks in online media and references to specific pages or sections of websites in printed media can create measurable peaks in Web traffic.
4. Account for shares and conversation.
If you’ve got your communications right, you should be generating some sort of conversation online. You can monitor and track these conversations, and measure the influence of individuals who generate conversation. That data can then be fed back into future campaigns so that influencers are picked off and turned into advocates. For example, take a look at Twitonomy to track conversations taking place on Twitter.
5. Don’t dismiss the traditional way.
The traditional way of measuring the value of external communications and PR has always been advertising value equivalency (AVE), the calculation that correlates editorial space secured through media relations with a cost of securing like-for-like advertising space.
PR is moving away from AVE for the most part and is heading toward more relevant and business-related metrics. However, in certain circumstances, like getting financial director buy-in, AVE can still be relevant. Just be sure to pick the right measurement for the right audience.
Rebecca Scully is the managing director of Smarts PR.