A measurement resolution: Use data to make PR recommendations, drive trends and be more competitive

Happy New Year! I hope your 2012 has gotten off to a great start. You know, recently I’ve talked with several people who have told me they want to get more serious about PR measurement in 2012. In fact, they’ve made resolutions to “really measure PR” this year. Resolutions are great, they give us goals to work towards. But, if you don’t have a plan for how to reach those goals, your resolutions may fall flat. Here are some tips I put together for a recent Bulldog Reporter article on resolving to do better PR measurement – they’re a good place to start if you’re looking to improve your measurement efforts this year.

1. Use data to make PR recommendations

A lot of PR teams collect data and only use it to highlight PR achievements. In fact, responses from a recent Wallop! OnDemand survey indicate that only about one-third of PR pros are currently using measurement data to make recommendations and shape PR strategy. To get the most out of measurement you need to do more than just collect data and use it solely to reference achievements. Instead, try looking for clues in your data that point to areas where adjustments are needed – then make strategy recommendations based on that information.

For example, maybe your coverage data shows that your executives and company representatives aren’t being quoted, or their quotes are dry and fail to deliver the intended message. In this case you can recommend further media training for executives to help make them more quotable. Taking steps to coach executives on how they can tell appropriate stories and drive conversations with journalists means you’ll likely start to see more confident and direct quotes show up in your coverage. A simple recommendation like additional media training for executives is easy to arrive at when you take time to draw conclusions from measurement data.

2. Look to capitalize on trends

Another way to succeed at measurement is to use data to identify key trends that are relevant to your business. Coverage data can help you identify the trends that are important in your particular industry. By reviewing your own coverage you can determine how PR is connecting you to those trends.

Make an effort to analyze your coverage in order to find out whether you are on top of trends and driving the conversation as it happens, or whether you are simply just responding to the trends others are setting. If you find that you aren’t actively participating and really contributing something meaningful as trends arise, make it a point to be more proactive about staying on top of trends.

3. Find ways to be more competitive

To be as competitive as possible, you need to collect measurement data on your competitors, so you’ll have the information you need to make comparisons and see where you are ahead, and where you’re falling behind.

Once you have competitor data in hand, take time to analyze the information and determine how it matches up with your own data. Maybe you’ll notice – when comparing results – that one of your competitors is earning more media coverage than you in tier one publications. If this is the case you can dig deeper and determine why you’re being beaten, and then figure out how to make changes that will earn you more coverage. Finding ways to learn from measurement data and implement strategy based on that knowledge will allow you to be more competitive, and keep you on the right track so you can achieve the best possible results. 

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