How to Best Measure PR Campaigns—Because It’s No Longer Optional

In my last post, I shared information on the components that make up a PR campaign. Setting measurable objectives was just a passing mention but measurement deserves a full post.

Before we dive into the “how”, let’s be clear—a myriad of industry leaders agree that measurement is no longer an option for public relations professionals. It’s a must!

Why should I measure?

Gini Dietrich, who you may know as the developer of the PESO Model, has said on many occasions to get over your fear of numbers!

Tina McCorkindale, Ph.D., APR, the President and CEO of the Institute for Public Relations (IPR) also an AMEC Academic Advisory Board member, has said we need to stop measuring just for the “purpose of proving our value” instead we “need to be more future-looking and purpose-driven… The time is now for the industry to embrace new technologies and methods.

Nicole Moreo, Ketchum SVP of Analytics and AMEC North American Chair has said, “Sometimes just putting out basic metrics can actually hurt your measurement program and not help management see the true ROI and efforts you are putting in.”

Alex Aiken, Executive Director for UK Government Communications, puts it tersely, “To not measure communications is lazy and shows a lack of pride in the work being done.”

If it’s not already clear enough why measurement (the right way) is so important, Wendy Marx, President of Marx Communications, summed up the numerous benefits of PR measurement on her blog:

  • Offers a better understanding of a PR campaign’s results
  • Shows the impact of your efforts across all your platforms
  • Allows you to compare the effectiveness of PR campaigns
  • Demonstrates investment value for your PR strategy
  • Allows PR professionals to prove their worth to an organization
  • Provides future direction

What you need

Let’s begin by recapping what you need in order to measure:

  • Understand your (or your client’s) key business objectives and how they align with your communications program.
  • Set SMART goals that align with your key business objectives. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results-focused, and Time-bound. *Note that Johna Burke, AMEC Global Managing Director, says you should be SMARTERadding Ethical and Revolutionizing.
  • Comprehend strategies and tactics–understand the difference.
    • Strategy is the why: Why are you doing something?
    • Tactics are the how: How and what will do accomplish the goal, meet the objective and fulfill the strategy. How do they support your goals and objectives?
  • Assign KPIs (key performance indicators) that align with your strategies, tactics, and goals, which also align with your key business objectives.

Industry-leading measurement tools

In case you aren’t already aware, AMEC is the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication. It is the world’s largest media intelligence and insights professional organization, and currently has more than 160 members in 86 countries worldwide.

BurrellesLuce is an AMEC member, and as such, endorses the Barcelona Principles and the Integrated Evaluation Framework (IEF).

Measuring communications campaigns isn’t easy—there is no magic bullet. However, the AMEC framework provides you with explanations and examples of each step, making it easier to identify the areas where you need input from other members of management, other teams and your own team. It points out you’ll also need:

  • OutputsWhat you put out to your target audiences—these could be paid (advertising, sponsorships), earned (media volume and impressions), owned (web sites, partnerships, direct email), and shared (volume of social shares, posts, videos, etc.).
  • Outtakes: What the audience takes away from the outputs—what did they do after being exposed to your output? What action did they take—click through, subscribe, share, comment, etc.?
  • Outcomes: Impact of PR activity on the audience—was there a change in awareness, knowledge, attitude, opinion, behavior? What were your audience’s takeaways from your output?
  • Impact: Once this process is completed, you’ll have solid comprehensive data that you will then “use to tell the story of how the investment in PR and these communications activities all build to take consumers through the funnel and to your ultimate goal,” PR News Measurement Hall of Famer Marianne Eisenmann, explained during a past webinar that I reported on.

There are numerous resources available on the AMEC site, for example, a complete taxonomy of evaluation tailored to strategic public communication—in simple terms, it shows where things go and where they fit in relation to each other in the process.

As you go through your measurement journey, some key concepts to keep in mind are:

  • Embrace all data–even if it reveals poor results.
  • Use data as a tool for learning and course correcting.
  • Look beyond the numbers. Do not report data only!
  • Data without context is meaningless—tell the story using the data as support.

Where do I start?

And, finally, like many others, you may be unsure of where to begin with all of this. We highly recommend the AMEC Maturity Mapper (aka M3). This will help you understand where you currently are in your measurement and evaluation process (a benchmark) but will also help you map your next steps.

Now we would like to hear from you! Are you currently or planning to use analytics to measure your public relations efforts? How does this process compare to how you are doing it? Let us know in the comments.


*This post by Tressa Robbins originally appeared on July 16, 2019, on the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas blog at https://burrellesluce.com/how-to-best-measure-pr-campaigns-because-its-no-longer-optional-2/  and is cross-posted here with permission. 

Integrated Approach to PR Measurement

PR News Measurement Hall of Famer, Marianne Eisenmann, recently led a #AMECMM webinar to discuss how the emphasis on multi-channel marketing has blurred the lines between paid, earned, shared and owned (PESO) information sources. As we know, consumers now engage with companies or brands in many different ways—across multiple platforms and channels. As a result, measuring requires a more integrated approach, such as the AMEC Integrated Evaluation Framework, to appreciate the impact of all marketing efforts.

Marianne pointed out that your clients (internal or external) now care less about the source and more about the content and messages. She demonstrated how those messages can begin as earned media but then may be repurposed and moved through owned, shared and/or paid to boost engagement and awareness.

amec-framework

Marianne focused on updating your measurement model by utilizing the recently launched interactive (free) AMEC framework’s seven steps, but more specifically, what she calls the core elements of integrated measurement: Outputs, Outtakes, Outcomes.

Outputs

What you put out to your target audiences—these could be paid (advertising, sponsorships), earned (media volume and impressions), owned (web sites, partnerships, direct email), and shared (volume of social shares, posts, videos, etc.).

Outtakes

What the audience takes away from the outputs—what did they do after being exposed to your output? What action did they take—click through, subscribe, share, comment, etc.?

Outcomes

Impact of PR activity on the audience—was there a change in awareness, knowledge, attitude, opinion, behavior? What were your audience’s takeaways from your output?

After providing examples and scenarios of the three steps above, Marianne showed us a format she’s used (based on the same concept as the “sales funnel”) to demonstrate how the audience moved from the awareness and knowledge phase on to actual consideration, engagement or action.  NOTE that if you missed the live webinar, it is now available on-demand.

Once this process is completed, you’ll have solid comprehensive data that you will then “use to tell the story of how the investment in PR and these communications activities all build to take consumers through the funnel and to your ultimate goal,” Marianne explained.

As moderator, Johna Burke, AMEC North American Co-Chair and BurrellesLuce CMO, closed the webinar with a few specific questions from participants which Marianne readily answered. They both agreed, in the final comments, that the one thing we cannot do is continue to measure the old way (multiplied impressions, AVEs, etc.).

 

.*This post by Tressa Robbins originally appeared on October 3, 2016, on the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas blog at http://www.burrellesluce.com/freshideas/2016/10/integrated-approach-to-pr-measurement/ and is cross-posted here with permission. 

How to Use the New AMEC Measurement Framework—A Practical Session

For this  webinar, guest experts Richard Bagnall and Giles Peddy joined us from across the pond while AMEC North American Co-chair (and BurrellesLuce CMO) Johna Burke moderated. Richard took pole position with the fascinating story about how the sad state of PR measurement back in the 1990’s spurred the formation of the AMEC organization, which eventually led to the creation of the Barcelona Principles in 2010 and more recently, the Integrated Evaluation Framework.

The Integrated Evaluation Framework better reflects today’s public relations environment, where we’re working across Paid, Earned, Shared, and Owned media. The PESO model was developed and championed by Gini Dietrich, a well-known industry thought leader and author of Spin Sucks.

Richard described how we now “must measure across all these different channels if we’re going to give a credible measurement of the work that we’re doing.” He cautioned that we must be careful to not “just count what’s easy to count but we measure what really matters” to the business. (To hear this in that splendid British accent, you’ll need to listen to the playback!)

The Integrated Evaluation Framework helps us to stop measuring in silos and brings it all together. Giles then talked about the context to the framework stating that communication professionals must show the effect that their work had on the business objective—not just output metrics (aka vanity metrics).  He explained how a diverse global group was put together and worked for an entire year to create what is now a free, non-proprietary, step-by-step process—essentially “how to operationalize the Barcelona Principles”.

Interactive Evaluation Framework

When you land on the website, you’ll find a tile-based, simple to use, clickable worksheet that can be completed right on the site itself (and then download the finished product). Giles walked us through many of the steps which include descriptions and inline help text—way too much information to incorporate into a blog post, so I encourage you to listen to the playback of this presentation and go explore the site. To be honest, for me, this whole concept seemed very complicated and a bit overwhelming—that is, until I attended this webinar!

Giles went on to share how the initial response has been overwhelmingly positive. Lewis PR and many other major agencies and consultancies have already adopted the model, along with the UK government. It’s also being shared with and by other PR and communications trade organizations (such as the US-based Institute for Public Relations) as the key model to use.

Richard chimed in, “In the end, this framework helps you run your campaign effectively and measure it in a way that allows you to understand what it is you’re trying to achieve, understand what success would look like, agree on the targets, plan to run your campaign effectively and measure it appropriately.” However, he explained, that isn’t the end. You need to then take that information and the “flow of the process and tell your measurement story around it. You need to then bring it to life about how you did your work, what it meant for the business, how it helped and, importantly, what you’ve learned—what perhaps didn’t work as well as you had expected and what you’re going to be doing differently.”

Johna summed it up with “this is such a great resource for everyone, whether you have an existing successful measurement program and team or you’re just starting out, to really create and to utilize a program that’s been implemented on your behalf” and is such a great resource.

*This post by Tressa Robbins originally appeared on September 26, 2016, on the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas blog at http://www.burrellesluce.com/freshideas/2016/09/how-to-use-the-new-amec-measurement-framework-a-practical-session/ and is cross-posted here with permission.