With summer vacations behind us, we’re already itching for the next holiday. AMEC Measurement Week 2014 seemed like as good an excuse as any other to celebrate, so we’re thinking of it as Measurement’s New Year. As we think about what we will be doing to advance our messages and points of view through communications, make sure measurement isn’t left out of the fun. Here are a few tips for measuring what matters in the year ahead.
Three Measurement Resolutions to Make Today:
1. Establish PR metrics before a program launches.
This is like the resolution we make every year to be more physically active or to become a “morning person.” We know it’s good for us, yet often we end up falling short of our goal despite the most earnest of intentions. So this year, I challenge you to think strategically about your communications plan, and then link tangible metrics to each of your tactics. Next, I challenge you to set up a tracker or document with placeholders for your communications metrics over time. Lastly, take the plunge and fill in your metrics on an ongoing basis. At first, it may feel strange, and you might not like it much. But over time, and especially when you are able to demonstrate the value of your communications efforts, the payoff will be well worth it.
2. Go beyond media impressions.
I get asked all the time what PR programs can we measure, other than media impressions. In an age where AVE is dead, impressions are a basic standard for measurement, but there’s so much more that can and should be measured. A few examples are provided below.
3. Track data in regular intervals for better visual outputs.
Imagine that you are tracking Twitter for a program launch, and you take a shortcut for measurement — you just grab the total number of followers and the total number of tweets posted that are provided by your vendor or software. You report on these numbers at face value, because this is what PR measurement is, right? Wrong! If all you know is a total number, how can you assess what drove increases or changes in sentiment on certain days, or how can you chart this with an overlay of media results? Metrics without context are often rendered meaningless without appropriate visuals to “tell the story. ” Whenever possible, track data with clearly defined timing intervals that can be plotted against other metrics to show correlation.
These are just a few resolutions I’d recommend making before embarking on 2015 planning. The fact is, it’s a lot easier to integrate measurement now than after your program has come and gone. So what are you waiting for?