Public relations efforts can be successfully tracked. It’s true. Thinking ahead and planning measurable objectives. The traditional defined successes of PR: word of mouth, getting published, placement or audience reach are not quantifiable. With predetermined goals, the PR team has a sense of purpose to work towards. It comes down to data: set quality objectives, include a desired outcome over a set period of time to your target audience. Ask, “why are you investing time and money into your campaign”?
Choosing the correct metrics to use in analyzing your objectives is challenging. Just because you have more likes on Facebook, or Twitter followers doesn’t mean you are increasing the bottom line. Measurement in social media intertwines with public relations communication efforts. Social media is all about relationships, and so is public relations.
The Institute for Public Relations has a create coding standards for measurement. Communication outputs in mainstream and social media are coded for analysis to keep up with standards and best practices. Coding sheets are used to assign how important factors can affect the relationship. Tone for example, can have a positive, neutral or negative impact on viewer’s opinions. The organization’s selling points mentioned in a blog review scores high on the coding sheet. Targeted publications to a company’s defined audience will receive high scores, and having media quote a company executive scores even higher.
To prove the success of public relation campaigns to the executive C suite, avoid measures like “buzz, hits, and media awareness”. Present your success with terms like “results over time, and “results versus objectives”. This language will be similar to the language of a company boardroom. Senior executives should have an input on the PR strategy as it is the best way to communicate with the public in a planned, controlled manner. Once a plan is in place, it will be easier to define metrics for specific information. Each measuring technique will be different depending on what metric is decided upon.