Focus on what you should be measuring so you can streamline your PR measurement tracking
Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises
When it comes to the latest in PR measurement, the mere thought of it may make you feel like it’s impossible to “keep up.” Before you overwhelm yourself, take a deep breath and focus on growing your skills by incorporating these three principles into your regular routine. By focusing on these simple – not to mention, free! – tips to refine your skills, you’ll become a measurement star before you know it!
1. Simplify and Streamline Tracking
As I mentioned in a previous Socialbrite post on creating a measurement program, most of the time we don’t have access to fancy dashboards; because we are often limited by client budgets in the tools we can and cannot use. That’s ok, because I’ve found that the more uncomplicated you keep tracking, the better.
Here’s how you can do this:
- Use an Excel or Google spreadsheet to track outputs and outcomes
- Making sure the time frame within which you’re tracking different things – e.g. traffic, downloads, purchases, whatever – is the same
- Watch your Analytics (at the very least, Google Analytics) at the same time, and regularly look to see if there is a correlation between outputs and outcomes.
2. Two Tools to Know and Love
Let me preface this by first reiterating one of my big “don’ts” – don’t get caught up in shiny new measurement tools. Focus on what you should be measuring, as opposed to getting bogged down, overwhelmed, or limited by a tool. That said, there are some tools and techniques that are just crying out to be used.
I’ve already referred to it once, and I’m doing so again: it’s time to become BFFs with Google Analytics and the Google URL Builder. The tracking of URLs has been around in the marketing world for a while now; and it’s something PR pros should know how (and why) to do. Especially for campaigns where you’re driving calls-to-action online, it’s one of the best ways to understand what is driving actions, clicks, downloads, purchases, sign-ups, etc.
After all, it’s only when you know what is and isn’t working that you can adjust your strategy to make it more efficient, effective, and ultimately more successful.
3. Spread Your Measurement Wings
Benjamin Franklin once said, “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” Just as it’s important to continue to track and measure the growth of a campaign or initiative, it’s equally important to facilitate our own growth as industry professionals… and that means seizing every opportunity for learning when we can.
Here are a few free ways to spread your measurement wings:
- Read. It’s that simple. By regularly reading smart bloggers who regularly talk about metrics (Lee Odden and Jim Dougherty spring to mind) you’ll be one step ahead on the PR measurement front.
Want to go the extra mile? Make a point to add a couple of smart books to your library. Social Media Metrics by Jim Sterne is one of my faves.
- Events. Attending or taking advantage of free events seems like a no-brainer, no? Here are just a few:
○ AMEC Measurement Week: presented by Cision (disclosure: client) and Vocus, this free five-day event takes place September 15–19, 2014 in New York City. It will bring together more than 16 speakers who are experts in measurement and analytics across the communication spectrum, and includes keynotes from Mark W. Schaefer and Peter Shankman… and me! Seriously – if you’re going to be in/around NYC next week, you really should attend. Register here, and the hashtag to follow on Twitter will be #AMECatWork.
○ #measurePR Twitter Chat: As the founder of #measurePR, I’m clearly biased, but I’m proud that in its fourth year, #measurePR still connects measurement geeks across the world. From newbies to old hands, they (we) all congregate here… and I hope you will too! #measurePR takes place the first Tuesday of every month, 12-1pm ET (the September chat, however, is on the second Tuesday, Sept. 9, to accommodate returning from the Labor Day holiday).
○ Webinars: Find and participate in free webinars focused on measurement every chance you get. Now, I know it can be tough to find really good webinars (though Cision – and yes, I’m mentioning them again – offers them frequently), so head to PRSA and IABC’s online events calendars to see what they have coming up. That’s a very good place to start.
I hope this helps you get started on spreading your measurement wings. And remember if you’re going to be at AMEC Measurement Week, or drop in at #measurePR, please give me a holler – I’d love to say “hello”!Shonali Burke is a public relations and social media expert and consultant based in Washington, D.C. Her firm provides integrated PR for measurable results. You can connect with Shonali via her website or follow her on Twitter.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported.
Nick Walters says
Thank you for this article. As we continue to write grants for nonprofits, we want to develop a library of resources for them that contribute to their success IN ADDITION TO the financial focus they have and this one makes our cut for sure.
What are your ideas on how much time an over-worked, stretched too thin executive director of a smaller nonprofit ought to set aside each week to devote to their PR measurement?
William T says
Definitely PR strategy builder for me. I have been using Google URl shortner a while now and loved tracking clicks and views for each url and posts I make. I would recommend it to everyone. Great post. https://www.firstpageattorney.com/
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