By Christine Perkett, Founder, SeeDepth
As PR pros, we hear the same industry buzz words over and over again. As such, any tenacious PR pro has heard a bit about PR measurement/analytics, especially as of late. With all the measurement “buzzwords” being tossed around, what key terms should be at top of mind as you yearn to better understand how proper measurement works?
You may have heard that September is the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication’s (AMEC) “Measurement Month.” As AMEC describes it, it is “A global program of activities to spotlight attention on the importance of PR measurement. Measurement Month is filled with free events, webinars, executive discussions, podcasts, workshops and much more, focusing on filling the gap between understanding the value of PR measurement and doing something about it.”
Measurement Month is a good reminder that as PR pros, we need to continually evolve with the ever-changing industry. “PR measurement” in itself is a buzzword that is getting more and more traction this year, and rightly so. The data and analytics now available far surpass what we could gather years ago, and allow us to truly track PR’s impact on the bottom line. Technology to help automate much of the process is more affordable and accessible than ever, so there is no excuse to not have a solid measurement plan in place.
As part of an initiative to help brands and agencies embrace PR measurement, our company, SeeDepth, a PR Analytics firm, created a month of “trading cards” with tips and thoughts on the industry’s top buzzwords. They might help you to better understand why measurement is so vital, how to get started with the right tools, and what to think about in creating a measurement strategy. We share some of them, here.
Our first tip: Benchmark. Too many executives enter a measurement effort without first taking this crucial step. Where are you starting from and where do you want to go? What is the best performance being achieved—whether in your company or department, by a competitor, or in the industry? It’s important to establish baselines, define best practices, identify improvement opportunities and create a competitive environment that inspires better performance over time. When you fully understand your own performance, industry or competitive practices, you can successfully find ways to meet or improve upon them.
Essentially, benchmarking is taking a look at where you are and what you do now, as well as how you compare against competitors. It allows you to improve upon—and measure against – a set metric to better analyze your ongoing performance. You can identify areas of opportunity as well as set performance expectations. For example, at SeeDepth, we help customers establish a benchmark with our Campaign Performance Index. Users can track the performance of individual efforts (such as a media story or Twitter campaign), as well as overall communications campaigns, via a score based on many of the values outlined in the Barcelona Principles.
Our second tip: Know The Barcelona Principles. Speaking of Barcelona Principles, this is yet another buzzword gaining attention. Unless you have been living under a rock, you have heard about the ill fate of AVEs and the emergence of the Barcelona Principles. It is expected that AVEs will be completely eliminated within the next five years and the industry will rely on a more accurate method, many of which are outlined in the Barcelona Principles.
The Barcelona Principles are a set of standards—developed by AMEC, the Institute for Public Relations, the PRCA, ICCO, the PRSA and The Global Alliance—that provide a framework for effective public relations and communications measurement. They recognize and encourage that goal setting and measurement are fundamental to success.
The Barcelona Principles are not just for PR agencies, but also for communicators across agencies, brands, non-profits, government organizations and more. Anyone interested in measuring the success of their communications programs—earned, owned, shared, paid—should familiarize themselves with the Principles as soon as possible.
The Principles recognize—and encourage others to view—marketing and communications as an integrated model and discipline, not separate entities. PR is part of that integration and does not exist in a silo, therefore, neither should the measurement of PR. It must be a fabric of the larger picture of how a company’s overall communications are performing.
Maybe most importantly, the Barcelona Principles outline the importance of measuring and analyzing both qualitative and quantitative data. Doing so provides the best picture of success—so you can repeat what’s working and pivot from what isn’t.
Our third tip: Measure Share of Voice. “Share of Voice” has long been a buzzword top of mind for PR pros. Share of voice refers to the percentage of all online content and conversations about your company, compared against those of your competitors. In order to properly gauge your company’s position and impact, share of voice is important. It involves evaluating your company’s presence quantitatively (how many brand mentions) and qualitatively (was our messaging reflected?). In addition to understanding your brand’s “ownership” of a niche or market, it is also vital to analyze your competitors, so that you can understand how the market is viewing both companies and the level of buzz each is receiving. Which company is dominating a certain key term in the industry, or which company is receiving the lion’s share of coverage in top tier publications? You have to decide what you want to measure to determine share of voice—it could be mentions in a specific set of publications or social channels, number of times a spokesperson is quoted, number of awards received or press releases distributed, etc. Decide what is most important to you to track—what will have the most influence on your target audience – and do so for both your company and its key competitors.
Tracking Share of Voice enables you to know the perception of your brand in relation to other brands. This helps marketing and PR executives better strategize messaging and campaigns, and put forth their best efforts moving forward to stay ahead of the competition.
Christine Perkett, named one of the “Top 100 Must Follow Marketing Minds,” in Forbes and a “Top 100 Social Media Influencer” by Cision, has helped brands, individuals and institutions worldwide increase the value of their professional reputations via digital marketing and PR. As one of the first marketers on Twitter, where she has nearly 50k followers, she wrote about its value for businesses back in 2008, and was included that year in “Twitter Means Business”—one of the first books on the subject by Julio Ojeda-Zapata. Christine is the CEO and Founder of SeeDepth, a PR Analytics software platform for brands and agencies, and PerkettPR, a digital marketing consultancy.