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    1. 4 Signs Your PR Measurement Practices Could Be Better

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      PR measurement

      By now you’ve likely begun to implement some updated PR measurement practices to more accurately prove the value of your work. I’m talking data that dives far deeper than impressions and press hits.

      Hopefully, you are doing your due diligence in analyzing and interpreting PR data that can help you continually refine your communications strategy and realign your tactics. But how do you know if your measurement practices are truly where they should be?

      Here are four signs you may have some room to grow in the “modern PR measurement” department, along with tips for forging forward.

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

      Part of implementing more effective PR measurement practices is educating fellow teams within your organization so they understand what success looks like (in your world). If you report PR wins and data to a greater marketing group, but never take the time to explain your measurement system, it makes it nearly impossible for anyone to benefit from what you’re sharing.

      When explaining how modern PR measurement works to those who are unfamiliar, follow the advice of Ketchum SVP KayAnn Schoeneman and consider the various stages of PR measurement: 1. Output (media relationships developed, placements gained, awareness garnered, perceptions changed), 2. Outcomes (social amplification, website traffic driven, actions taken), and 3. Impact (overall as it pertains to various goals).

      When your colleagues have a clear window into how you think about your work and decide what justifies a success, they’ll be able to draw more of their own insights.

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

      As AirPR’s Chief Strategy Officer Rebekah Iliff has noted, “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 KPIs they and their colleagues are used to — such as impressions — and not necessarily against the metrics that truly show successful performance.

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

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

      Here’s an important reminder from Jennefer Witter, CEO of NYC-based PR firm The 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 evolve your strategy moving forward rather than an explanation of 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 on an ongoing basis and use that review as a guide for evolving your efforts. That will make the difference between simply doing what’s asked of you and what actually works.

    2. Getting inside the brain of Shonali Burke

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      There are PR folks who get it; then there are PR folks who get it. Shonali Burke falls into the latter category.

      As the CEO of a PR business, Shonali is:

      #1 – A self-professed measurement + social media geek and constantly champions PR measurement (no wonder we love her).

      #1 – An educator dropping knowledge on future public relations pros at Johns Hopkins University.

      #2 – A PR conversationalist extraordinaire: as such she hosts the monthly Twitter   chat (on which I will be the featured guest tomorrow from 12-1pm ET #shamelessplug).

      After running into Shonali at nearly every PR Measurement related event in 2014, I figured it was high time to transfer the knowledge from her brain onto digital paper and share accordingly.

      So sit back, relax, and enjoy a peek into the wonderfully informed mind of Shonali Burke.

      Shonali_Burke_fullshot-2

      Photo by Cade Martin Photography

      Rebekah Iliff: You’ve talked for years about “smart measurement” that is outcome focused. Give us a peek into the Burke brain: What’s an example of a recent objective you and your team identified and how did you work backwards from that goal to identify the associated KPI?

      Shonali Burke: We recently wrapped a project with a client in the education space; they were launching a new online offering. Registrations were the ultimate goal, and they were using campaign tracking in Google Analytics very well. What we did was to ensure the creation of tracking links to the relevant page, so that we could attribute visits and conversions from our efforts – our strategy had a mix of earned, owned and paid media – as accurately as possible.

      Based on traffic and conversion trends, we could see what worked (social and paid) and what didn’t so much (focusing on location too narrowly as opposed to niche and interest). That allowed us to pivot our strategy midway through the campaign and put more muscle behind what *was* working as opposed to what wasn’t… and ultimately reach the goal.

      RI: Love the integrated approach. It is so important for PR peeps (and clients for that matter) to think beyond earned media. Given your propensity for metrics, what’s the one thing every PR pro needs to know about PR measurement as 2014 rolls to a close?

      SB: There is no silver bullet.

      RI: True dat. With that in mind, PR pros need to think carefully about how they measure and quantify their efforts. What are 2 of your favorite tools that assist you in providing your clients with smart measurement?

      SB: I actually have three: Microsoft Excel (or Google Spreadsheets), Google Analytics… and the one thing we all have and should use – a brain.

      RI: Ahhhh, yes. The almighty brain. Since you are constantly talking about PR measurement and metrics, what’s one thing you keep hearing yourself say over and over again that you wish the industry would just “get”?

      (more…)