One of the key recommendations of the Barcelona principles discourages reporting quantitative data without an accompanying qualitative analysis, Jim Sinkinson addresses in PR Measurement: The Painful, Costly Disconnect between Best Intentions and Best Practices. Instead of concentrating on media outcomes (clip count, media impressions, etc.), PR pros should center on business outcomes that truly explain the value of your PR efforts. Ignoring business outcomes causes disconnects between data that PR pros offer and the assessments that C-level executives want. As Sinkinson observes, the better you become at measuring business outcomes caused by PR, the more effective you’ll be at generating those outcomes.
Angela Jeffrey distinguishes between the two outcome types in PRSA’s Confused about How to Tie PR Outputs to Organization Outcomes? Outputs are metrics such as clip counts or impressions, she explains, while business or organization outcomes include leads, sales, donations, and/or survey scores. The answer is to consider employing the AMEC Valid Metrics Guidelines. The AMEC framework provides a comprehensive template for selecting measurements that match organizational goals.
For analysis of an advanced measurement system, review K.D. Paine’s presentation to Develop Key Performance Indicators Tied to Original Goals. The in-depth slides explain how to define your goals, audience, investments and benchmarks, and then how to choose the metrics that will indicate your progress. Step 6 is especially helpful on measurement tools: content analysis measures messaging, positioning and analysis; survey research measures awareness and relationships; web analytics measures engagement, action and purchase.