Communicators face a challenge when it comes to showing results. This is a long-standing challenge in PR. Many of the “standard” measurements really aren’t of value, but somehow along the way – they became what we did.
Counting clippings used to be one way of measurement. It showed how much ink, airtime or online coverage you generated. Even when you dig deeper and review key messages, placement, tone and style, images and other factors, you still aren’t getting the whole picture. What else happened that day? Were there world events that distracted people from paying attention? What context was the coverage in?
There is so much more to measuring the effectiveness of a PR initiative.
Today, we see the world differently. We talk about “influencers” and what they mean. We track how we measure influence as well as looking at the hard and fast facts of which media outlet or blogger mentioned our organization, product, service or event. There may be more depth in how we measure, but it’s important to keep it in context and to understand the bigger picture. What was the overall objective of the campaign? Where were you before you started – do you have a measurement of that? Did you want to move individuals or groups to action, to change behaviors, to inform and educate? It is more complicated than just looking at how many followers you have on Twitter or how many people visited your website.
Katie Delahaye Paine has an excellent blog post on this topic that’s worth a read.