The challenge of effectively measuring the impact of PR activity is never far from the mind of any PR pro. In fact, the constant pressure to quantify success using AVEs, analytics and press cuttings could be enough to discourage the keenest young professional.
It was therefore unsurprising that a recent event focused entirely on PR metrics had the overriding message that we have, as a profession, become overly focused on measurement, with the CMO of British Land declaring ‘we’ need to “chill out”.
These free learning and networking events by PRmoment are always worth attending as they offer insight and debate on hugely relevant topics. The title of this one, What does the C-suite want from their PR metrics? chimed particularly well with my current focus.
Perhaps the most useful advice from the evening was this:
- Measure outcomes rather than outputs
Measuring column inches or online mentions may be a valid measure of impact for you, but it’s unlikely to impress the CEO, CFO or any other business leaders.
Instead, PR teams should report to this level on the value – and outcomes – of their crisis management work, horizon scanning (what could affect the business and its competitors next) and the impact of your message (what is resonating and with who). These are the areas where PR can differentiate itself from marketing and showcase true value.
- Don’t be afraid of including qualitative data
While ‘proving’ worth with hard and fast facts seems like the obvious choice, it’s not that surprising that many business leaders would rather receive commentary on the issues affecting their sector than how many people saw an article or social media post.
Don’t be afraid to move away from just delivering facts and figures and offer insight to help them review and improve strategies, instead.
- Complexity can take away from credibility
PR professionals tend to like getting stuck into the detail so remembering that less is more when it comes to a presentation of results is vitally important. Again, a mix of quantitative and qualitative data, presented in a way that makes sense to that audience (i.e. short, graphics-led, digital), is best.
All in all, remember that your PR metrics should be:
- Supplemented with insightful commentary
- Aligned with overall business objectives
Would you add anything to this list? Let me know in the comments below…