Metrics can be difficult for Public Relations.
Share of voice and sentiment used to be enough. Share of voice showed how well media covered your company against rivals. This was measured and analyzed in terms of audience reach, number of articles, topic comparison, etc. Sentiment highlighted how positive or negative the coverage was. Often used in crisis PR, it showed how the media perceived your company (and its products).
But with social media and the increasing role of PR in direct marketing efforts, measuring its worth is becoming increasingly more difficult. For example, how do you put a number on converting negative social media comments into positive ones?
This is why many are looking for better means of gauging PR. Here are three metrics that are becoming crucial in today’s PR world:
- Message penetration
How well are your messages being heard? Are they being confused with others’? And what do journalists perceive when they see/read your messages? To measure this, you need to monitor your engagement with journalists closely. Poll surveys or even quick calls will offer useful hints. This will help to fine tune your messaging. It’s the reason why many marketers are now adding hashtags, emoji icons and catch phrases to reinforce their message penetration.
- Big data analytics on coverage
Big data tools are helping marketing firms to fine tune their PR effort. With data about articles and comments freely available, these tools can highlight trends. Some go even further by producing a dashboard that shows the state of your reputation. It is especially vital if you are looking to reach a specific niche or audience and have a limited window to penetrate and influence.
- Measuring actual PR value
Forget Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE). Today’s biggest value for PR lies in lead generation—inbound inquiries or interest highlighted at various touchpoints. By helping to drive leads and convert them, PR’s role is becoming more important than just the monetary value of media coverage (which AVE measured). It is the reason why many are now looking at other measurement formulas, especially “Cost per Contact” and “Opportunity to See”. [bctt tweet=”Tracking & measuring the value of #PublicRelations is challenging”]
Tracking and measuring the value of Public Relations is challenging. After all, it is an inexact science. However, as PR’s role increases in today’s organizations, demand for a way to better measure it will get stronger. New technology tools, data-driven platforms and new measurement approaches are becoming available to fill this gap. Together, these will help PR to move from metrics that impress to metrics that really matter to a company’s bottom line.