Written by Laura Monagle, APR
“I spend alot of time tracking all of our media mentions, but no one ever really looks at this stuff.”
That’s a common feeling among our clients. We all want measurement, but it’s hard to decide what data is relevant. There’s a great deal of activity on a global basis in the PR world regarding standardization of PR and media relations measures. The Institute for Public Relations just came out with interim standards for media analysis and metrics. If you want to see the full report, visit http://www.instituteforpr.org/topics/proposed-interim-standards-for-metrics-in-traditional-media-analysis/ .
I am completely in support of these efforts. However, like all measurement, the most important data points are those that relevant. And the definition of relevant is in the eye of the beholder. So, where do you even start? Here are some initial suggestions:
1. Decide what is relevant and useful to you. Are you in a controversial industry, a crisis or volatile episode in your company’s history? Then positive, negative or neutral tone in coverage is important to you. Are there certain keywords and key messages you want covered that support your other marketing & advertising efforts? Then track and measure those. Are you trying to forge relationships with new journalists or outlets? Then measure how many of those have begun to cover your organization or call you for comment.
2. Decide what is relevant and useful to the people to whom you report. Let’s be honest. The CEO or CFO might not appreciate the same measures as a PR pro. So finding out what’s valuable to that person is just as important as what you and I want to know. If it’s garnering more mentions than the biggest competitor, track it and report it. If it’s a huge binder full of clips that makes him or her happy, make it happen. Once you have their interest and attention by meeting their expectations, only then can you begin to get a CEO excited about other ways your coverage is meaningful.
3. The more you can track your efforts directly to bottom line results, the better. This is the hardest one of all, but it’s the PR jackpot. Do orders for a particular product increase during the time your story or release on that product hits the media? Did you receive a call or e-mail from a potential client who specficially mentioned your article in the business news? Do you notice that you have more leads and referrals coming in from people who said they heard about you from a news story? Make sure you’re trying to capture this information as part of the sales process, and you’ll enjoy the truest measure of success.
Remember that the data you’re collecting should be helping you decide how and where to focus your PR energy. If you have ideas or thoughts on media relations measurement, I’d love to hear them.