The way that PR is measured changes and advances every year. PR used to be measured by advertising value equivalents (AVEs). The problem with measuring PR with AVEs is that it provides an inaccurate value for PR. There isn’t one specific replacement for AVEs. There are different metrics and measurements that each PR campaign may require depending on what goals are to be achieved.
The Barcelona Principles are a set of principles that help you measure PR without using the old AVEs to develop a more accurate sense of your efforts. There are seven principles of measurement. Here they are in short form:
1. Importance of Goal Setting first
2. Measuring the Effect on Outcomes is preferred to measuring outputs
3. The Effect on Business Results can and should be measured where possible
4. Media measurement requires Quantity and Quality
5. AVEs are not the Value of Public Relations
6. Social Media can and should be measured
7. Transparency and Replicability are paramount to sound measurement
These principles are recommended for accurately and effectively measuring the effectives and results of your PR activities. Here is how the seven principles should be applied:
1. Having a clear set of goals in place is key to understanding what you want to achieve so you will know precisely what it is that you are measuring. Your goals should be specific and take into account such things as reach, awareness, comprehension, attitude and behavioral.
2. & 3.
PR is measured on three levels:
– Outputs, which are defined by: (1) reach to your target audience; (2) tone prominence; and (3) message delivery. To measure outputs you might consider a sheet to track which contact or response level is effectively working.
– Outcomes, which are defined by: (1) knowledge, (2) opinions and (3) attitudes. To measure outcomes you might try conducting a survey about whether your PR activity is affecting audience change.
– Business Results, which measure what is driving your sales. This can be accomplished through the same survey you use to measure outcomes.
4. & 5.
AVEs were traditionally used by PR professionals to measure the value of a PR campaign. This involved placing a monetary value on public relations placements by measuring their equivalent value in advertising space. So why are AVEs not accurate? There are a few reasons. First, the cost of advertising is not the value of PR. Second, AVE’s are not a comprehensive measurement barometer. By using AVEs you limit PR value to media placements, without consideration for the variety of messages delivered; the value of putting a client in the spotlight; or the value of many forms of social media.
6. Social media has become an essential part of PR campaigns. Social media needs to monitored and measured. When monitoring social media you should be (1) watching for issues to which your organization or brand might want to respond; (2) monitoring consumer trends to provide some feedback on the quality of your content. When measuring your social media efforts you should consider your reach based on quantity, tone and recommendations; identify your top users; and determine a way to track your changes (up or down) over a period of time.
7. PR measurement should be undertaken in a way that is transparent and replicable throughout your entire communications plan. There is no reason to have to reinvent the wheel each time.
A measurement strategy should be developed and implemented for any PR or social media campaign. Measurement is crucial because it enables you to identify which methods are most effective and those that are least effective in promoting your company, products or services.