4 signs you should up your PR measurement game

If you aren’t getting the results you want or can’t explain the worth of your efforts, it might be time to adjust your strategy.

This article originally ran on PR Daily in April of 2017.

By now you’ve probably updated your PR metrics to prove the value of your work.

Still, how do you know whether your measurement practices are where they should be?

Here are four signs that you may have room to grow in the “modern PR measurement” department, along with tips for improving:

1. You can’t recall explaining the relevance of your go-to PR metrics to co-workers beyond your immediate team.

Part of implementing effective PR measurement practices is educating other teams and colleagues so they understand what success looks like (in your world). If you report PR wins and data to a greater marketing group but never explain your measurement system, how can anyone benefit from what you’re sharing?

When explaining modern PR measurement, follow the advice of Ketchum SVP KayAnn Schoeneman and consider its various stages:

· Output (media relationships developed, placements gained, awareness garnered, perceptions changed)

· Results (social amplification, website traffic driven, actions taken)

· Impact (overall as it pertains to various goals)

When your colleagues have a clear window into how you identify success, they can draw their own insights.

2. You have a hard time proving the value of your work.

As AirPR Chief Strategy Officer Rebekah Iliff has said, “If you cannot translate PR to business value, it’s very difficult to prove success and be a leader.” Many marketers measure results against the key performance indicators they and their colleagues recognize—such as impressions—and not necessarily against the metrics that show successful performance.

Make sure the entire team understands how various PR and marketing metrics relate to one another, the customer journey and your company’s business objectives. For example, does your marketing team realize that PR is a driver of high-quality leads?

3. You don’t feel comfortable articulating PR’s value.

Here’s an important reminder from Jennefer Witter, CEO of NYC-based Boreland Group: “You must always be able to defend what you’re doing and explain why it’s a benefit.”

When you present results, think about how you can best demonstrate a solid understanding of “new-world PR metrics” so there’s a focus on lessons learned and how you’ll develop your strategy rather than on explaining the work at hand. Proper articulation of PR’s value is all about providing meaningful context, and practice makes perfect.

4. You’re not sure how to replicate success.

Julia Monti, VP of global communications at Mastercard, reminds us: “Data is not just about measuring success. Also use data to inform strategy.” Change the perspective on measurement from “reporting results” to “a guide for next steps.”

After proving or disproving your predictions of what’s driving the results you’re seeking, use those performance indicators to inform your strategies and tactics. Once you are measuring the right data, review the results regularly and use your findings to help modify your efforts. That will make the difference between simply doing what’s asked of you and doing what works.

Kelly Byrd brings a range of experience in marketing, PR, and social media strategy to her PR Engineering role at AirPR. A version of this article appeared on the AirPR Blog.

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