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    3 Things to Know to Be a PR Measurement Maven

    As a new month begins, and a new quarter, you might have PR measurement and reporting on the brain. Reporting can feel like a hard task, but it’s a great way to show clients your value and to stay on the same page with them regarding your program and your goals. 


    For today’s blog, we’re walking through a few things you need to keep in mind so you can be a PR measurement maven for your team and for your clients.


    #1: Use the Right Metrics


    As co-founder of Notably, Carly Martinetti knows that choosing metrics for your campaign isn't something that stays the same, it's dynamic and should be aligned to your client's specific goals. Carly recommends "region-specific goals and metrics" rather than a "one-size-fits-all" approach. 


    It's important to note that there are a lot of the same metrics that clients track, like share of voice, media mentions, and thought leadership placements, but that you shouldn't assume these are what your client wants to track.


    We always recommend having a conversation with your client at the start of your agreement to get on the same page about your metrics and what you're tracking, so you can ensure you're keeping an eye on the right ones. 



    In addition to having conversations with your clients about the specific metrics you'll monitor and track for them, be sure you are recommending the right ones to them. As the PRo, you're the expert on KPIs, and you want to be sure you steer your clients in the right direction. 


    Michelle Garrett, PR consultant and author at Garrett Public Relations, makes a great point below about a once-popular, now-outdated metric known as AVEs, or advertising value equivalency.


    This metric was a fancy way of assigning a quantifiable dollar value to a media hit, but didn't take into account the quality of the coverage or the target audience. Like Michelle notes, this metric is largely not accepted in modern PR, but unfortunately there are still some times where you'll hear an executive ask for this. 



    Using the right metrics also looks like offering guidance to clients on which are best for their program. If a client expresses interest in an outdated metric like AVE, explain why it's no longer considered valuable and pivot to suggesting a better one, like website traffic.


    Web traffic still tells you the value of your coverage, and is more directly traceable to a legitimate source. 


    #2: Involve other Parts of the Client's Business


    Measurement doesn't exist in a vacuum. Much like choosing the right metrics, just as important is appropriately contextualizing them. This is why when you're reporting, you always want to ensure your metrics and analysis are developed with the client's larger business goals in mind.


    Take a look below at an example of a goal that IS client-aligned and one that isn't, and let's pretend for the sake of the example that your client is a healthcare solution provider. 


    • Client-aligned: Secure 2 media mentions in healthcare trade publications in service of our goal to grow our share of voice 5% in healthcare outlets relative to our competitors. 
      • Beautiful! This is detailed, specific, and is aligned to a larger client goal of competitive positioning. 
    • Not client-aligned: Secure 2 media mentions.
      • Yawn. These leaves much to be desired, and doesn't tell your team or your client how this is helping their program and business. 

    Danny Groner, director of growth PR at Forecast Labs, echoes this and notes that in reporting, "the best PR people hook into larger business metrics" and have "PR treated as another growth lever." We couldn't agree more! 



    Darren Hailes, associate director of reputation and strategic communications at The University of British Columbia, echoes this by noting that the business goals that your client is working toward should be your indicator of "what metrics are important to measure."




    Another plug here for those conversations with clients! We noted before that in your first kickoff meetings with your client, you'll want to spend time aligning on KPIs to use. You should also use this time with them to hear from them directly on their business or company goals, and then ladder up your KPIs based on this. 


    #3: Show, Don't Tell, in Your Reports


    You my have heard the concept of "show, don't tell" as it relates to your writing or to presentations, but this same principle applies when you're developing reports.


    Far too often do we see PRos spending hours and hours crafting deep and detailed analyses for slide decks, only for execs or clients to just not read them. 


    This is why we want to set you up with some of our favorite ways to infuse "showing not telling" into your reporting efforts. 


    • Graphs are your friends.
      • It's way more effective to show something like your media share of voice relative to competitors in a pie chart, rather than a paragraph.
      • In addition, we love to recommend using line charts to show the change in your client's media coverage hits over time. 
    • Consider word clouds.
      • Word clouds may have been popular ClipArt elements in the early Microsoft days, but they're also a great way to show the themes, words, and key messages appearing most often in your media coverage. 
      • You can create these yourself, or use a PR and media monitoring software to supplement. 
    • Less is more. 
      • No, really! You don't need a 50 page slide deck to communicate your results.
      • We recommend keeping reporting decks to 10 slides (of course there's wiggle room with this), but this seems to be a good number to ensure you can balance out your results and analysis. 

    Now that you're refreshed on three ways you can make your next measurement round your best, we hope that it's smooth sailing from here on out. However, we couldn't end without giving you one last helpful bonus tip!


    BONUS TIP: Promote Attribution 


    Kristin Taylor Strauder is the CEO and lead PR and marketing consultant at One9Consulting, and her measurement advice is centered around tapping into where your clients are coming from.


    In Kristin's words, "encourage clients to ask customers some variation of the “How did you hear about us?” question" and "be sure to add “media coverage” as an option on the drop-down menu" where you're asking this question.


    Kristin notes that "at any touchpoint" such as "checkout, website landing page, [or] newsletter signup" you should be "asking audiences which PR tactic(s) caught their attention" for "insight into what’s working well, which is the ultimate goal of using KPIs to analyze results."


    This is wonderful advice for quantifying your media results, and helps clients see clearly the impact that strong coverage can have on attracting customers.


    Remember, if you ever have a question or want to workshop your report with us, join our community to get access to our weekly office hours where we help PRos like you troubleshoot, discuss, and find success on PR topics like this. 



    For more blogs like this, keep an eye on The TypeBar, for new insight weekly, and sign up below to stay up to date with our newsletter: 



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