Blog 3 minute read
I think I can hear a collective sigh because it’s spring 2018 and we’re still talking about effective measurement of PR. Quantifying performance is a real challenge for many PR teams. Evaluating a modern PR campaign is not just about how many people a piece of coverage has reached; far from it.
Whilst we’ve moved a long way past the “bad old days” of junior team members hunched over a pile of newspapers with a ruler to measure the size and space of a piece of coverage, the industry could certainly be doing more to measure the concrete results of PR campaigns.
So, how do we go about this?
Use the AMEC Framework
In my world the biggest step-change our industry has made is the development and adoption of the AMEC Framework. Unlike the templated software that claims to attribute PR outcomes, but actually is spectacularly bad, the framework provides a flexible way to adopt SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-oriented), meaningful measurement. If you haven’t heard of it, the AMEC Framework website has countless resources and case studies on how to use it.
Employ digital metrics
We’ve seen the rise in importance of digital metrics, but how effective are PROs at measuring and attributing their efforts? Most PROs have access to Google Analytics, but often where they fall down is knowing how to use it effectively. Yes, there are off-the-shelf tools that say they measure and attribute PR efforts, but having tested many of them I’ve been left disappointed. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, which is why Google Analytics is a particularly invaluable evaluation tool, offering so much more than a simple clippings book. Analytics can be used to measure tangible metrics such as rises in conversions, organic traffic and engagement, which give a clear plan of action on where future improvements could be made.
We’ve also been able to use digital measurement tools to make an accurate calculation of intangible assets – such as brand reputation – which were previously far harder to quantify.
Don’t forget search
PR has a huge impact on search – so measure it! There are many ways to go about this. For example, simply attributing how our PR efforts have increased search visibility is the first step. Also, don’t forget the impact that PR has on paid search too. Most digital marketers will bid on brand and – as we PROs are responsible for building brand – we contribute to the conversions from PPC which targets branded keywords.
When increasing organic performance we use Majestic SEO or Moz to measure the value of any backlinks achieved, and incorporate it into coverage reports to demonstrate the positive effect this coverage is having on client’s search rankings.
Majestic SEO is incredibly useful in evaluating the quality of the links secured, measuring trust and citation flow to give an accurate picture of how many “trustworthy” links you’re currently securing, as well as how your clients are faring against their competitors.
Overall, PR measurement matters because nothing that we do should be unaccountable in this day and age. We now have the tools to evaluate even the most difficult campaigns, and we need to be using them to measure that which was previously intangible if evaluation is to finally fulfil its potential in 2018.
Written by James Crawford, founder and MD at PR Agency One