New PR measurement guide offers pointers, case studies

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Years ago, Shonali Burke started a new job with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and was told to “do PR” for the organization. But what did that mean?

The society helps out lovable fuzzballs such as puppies and kittens, so PR should be a cinch, right?

Burke, now chief executive of Shonali Burke Consulting, pushed for clearer objectives: “How do you guys measure success? How can my team help your team make money?”

Officials told her about the importance of donor acquisition in keeping the lights on, saving animals, and maintaining the hospital. Burke was able to design a successful campaign around this business objective, she says in the new guide from Ragan Communications and Nasdaq Corporate Solutions.

The free guide is titled “PR Measurement That Matters: How to measure your communication efforts, align PR objectives to business goals, and prove your value within yourorganization.”

It offers practical advice and in-depth case studies telling how Adobe, McDonald’s USA, and Roche measure PR success.

Measuring the right things

Every month the executive team wants to know what they are getting for the outlay on public relations. PR pros must have a good answer. Measuring the right things can boost your budget and position yourself and your team more favorably by proving real business value to your executives. That way you’re not stuck flapping meaningless statistics in the faces of your leaders.

Topics include how to identify your business goals and objectives, tracking website analytics, gaining insight from customer feedback, and even applying the Barcelona Principles.

Define your goals and objectives, and the measurement of outcomes will become clear, says Bill Penn, chairman of the London-based agency Aspectus PR. The converging fields of marketing and communications are focused on getting people to come to a specific website and take a specific action.

If your website is the hub of audience engagement, Web analytics must be at the heart of your PR measurement.

“We’re all going back to a much more simple, commonsense idea of what PR is all about,” says Penn of Aspectus PR. “PR is about a business outcome.”

The guide also details Adobe’s success in using big data both in gathering information to pitch to reporters and in PR measurement. Using a form of statistical modeling known as econometrics, the company sifts through mountains of data to establish a relationship between marketing activities (such as PR campaigns) and bottom-line sales, says Maria Poveromo, senior director of communications at Adobe.

“We built a two-stage model that yields a measurable positive correlation of PR impact on lead generation,” Poveromo says. “It also shows an even stronger correlation of PR activity to deal closure.”

Molly McKenna-Jandrain, director of public relations at McDonald’s USA, tells how the restaurant giant connects PR to profits.

“What is our purpose in that campaign or in creating a Facebook page?” she says. “It shouldn’t just be putting all this activity out there. What’s that end change or end goal that we really want to get to?”

Find out the answers in “PR Measurement That Matters.”

@r_working 

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