There is a great deal of emphasis placed on the significance of public relations, and in proving its value to agency clients by way of demonstrable KPI delivery, but are there valid techniques for measuring public relations efficacy? After all, if a service is pricey – and many Bangkok PR agencies very much overcharge based on their limited competencies – it must provide something tangible in return. This is why we often say that when working with our own agency, the two main metrics to keep top of mind and constantly evaluate us on are: do you enjoy working with us, and are you selling more product?

Measuring Public Relations

There are several techniques to assess PR intervallic performance, the reach, and the effectiveness of a Public Relations message or campaign, despite the fact that it is more difficult to quantify the efficacy of PR activities than it is to measure advertising data.

Measuring public relations

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The leading methods for assessing PR interval success are:

Content Analysis – Is the press accurately reporting your primary narrative? Is the key message mentioned in all publishing?

Market Surveys – Typically, this entails before-and-after surveys evaluating brand awareness.

It is also very important to measure website traffic before, during, and after your PR activates a campaign for you, so you have your own realistic data; this counts just as equally important for social channel activities, so for mentions on social media, you need to know, “What are people talking about regarding your company?”

These are all valuable techniques for gauging the effectiveness of a PR effort; essentially, the end picture you want to build up from doing all this is: “is your brand’s narrative being told? Does it resonate with prospective clients?” If not, it is possible that your story is not reaching a large enough audience, or the message is being corrupted, or people are receiving it but they don’t care.

To guarantee that your public relations comms are reaching as many people as possible, it is essential to examine one of the most crucial and accurate tools: media impressions.

PR Overview: Media Impressions, how to measure impressions on social

What is a “Media Affect” (sic) or media impression? A media impression is a complete measurement of the number of individuals who have heard about your organisation within a specified time frame. For example, if your firm or product was mentioned on a television show with one million viewers, this would be considered one million media impressions. The value, or perceived value of an actual impression, is dictated by the platform of viewing, publishing or channel distribution.

However, media impressions extend beyond television and print media. A media impression is, in its widest definition, practically any contact a reader or viewer makes with a piece of material. Technically, every time you scroll through a Facebook advertising, you leave an impression. Sometimes, an impression is literally just “two ships passing in the night”, and therefore of limited value, at least in terms of your immediate product sales.

While media impressions are an essential metric for evaluating the efficacy of your PR efforts, you must also take a number of additional activities under consideration in order to effectively build brand awareness. Consider the mere fact that someone watches a television commercial or drives by a billboard does not guarantee that they will remember these messages, let alone purchase the advertised goods. They can be super powerful impressions, but difficult to quantify or evaluate with any credibility (that’s why we ask our clients, “are you selling more products?).

To reach this level, actual involvement must be fostered. Are individuals listening to your message? This makes it easy to study digital marketing, for example, since you will be able to review information such as how long individuals spend on each page.

Integrating PR Measuring Instruments

As demonstrated, it is possible to analyse and evaluate your PR activities by examining a variety of data and indicators. You may maximise your company’s exposure and brand’s overall strength using a combination of public relations and digital marketing tactics.

Exhibiting Your Data and Media Analytics

Measuring public relations is the equivalent of a time-warp or time-travel type movie (or Sam Beckett in Quantum Leap) for SME communicators. PR professionals may be excused for feeling as if they are reliving the same day over and again while attempting to illustrate the worth of their actions (they are).

The rise of internet analytics has allowed communicators to evaluate their digital PR efforts and gain a better understanding of the sorts of messages that appeal with audiences, and those that achieve cut-through and gain action traction.

However, there is still a long way to go, and many company owners continue to perceive PR as a cost centre rather than a profit centre. In light of this, there are a few recommendations for integrating public relations into your own sales push, to enhance their measurement programmes and think strategically about measurement and metrics.

01. Discerning Data: Do PR media values lie?

There is no dearth of measuring public relations tools for professionals to adopt and utilise, ranging from the free component of Google Analytics to the abundance of commercial analytics services available online.

But when it comes to analytics, PR professionals must be discerning or they risk drowning in a flood of data and pouring good money after bad. Anyone who has taken on a limited trial for a well-known SaaS listening tool will know the limitations and the wealth of unusable info.

Start slowly and steadily. Consult with other tech-savvy marketers more regularly to determine which measuring tools are the most user-friendly and suited for your PR and content marketing strategies.

02. Get rid of vanity metrics

While vanity metrics, such as the number of likes and followers on your Facebook and Twitter accounts, can keep you in compliance at whisky and cigar gatherings, their genuine worth for measuring public relations has been widely discounted. Less so though for KOLS and influencers on a personal exposure mission.

Shift your focus to what the market considers to be more genuine marketing measures, such as whether consumers who initially view your content go (however circuitously) to the path of purchase or the length of time they spend viewing your branded films.

If you work for an automotive firm, how many contacts were made with dealers as a result of your PR content? If you work for a financial services organisation, how many individuals reached out to a sales representative after interacting with your content? Identify and promote these genuine business strands.

03. Use language appropriate to your professional field

A common criticism of communicators is that, when explaining their business operations to the C-suite, they fail to use language that senior management can understand and instead rely on PR-speak. The same goes for sales experts selling to new customers who may not be industry-savvy (or indeed want to be, which is why they are outsourcing).

This does PR pros no favours in terms of demonstrable credibility, and for putting a case across to decision makers. Communicators must cease using terminology such as “media impressions” and “media hits” to describe their KPIs and begin referring to their actions in terms of how they match with the company’s financial goals and objectives. You must demonstrate to the executive suite how PR can deliver tangible benefits. Otherwise, you are simply wasting your time. Don’t give your CFO or client’s business investor another reason to refer to PR and marketing executives as “overspend.” Avoid the mainstream PR agencies in Bangkok and begin to ask, “Are my sales growing?”

Better PR Is Ready For You. Are You?