Don’t waste time on non-measurable PR goals

We all know it’s true: setting measurable PR goals is an important part of being able to effectively measure and analyze PR results. So, why do so many smart PR teams settle on vague non-measurable goals for their campaigns? It seems to me the problem is that there’s an awful lot to do and little time to get it all done. PR teams often rush to get goals down on paper so they can move on to the next task – PR work that generates results. I get this. But, compiling a bunch of useless goals is actually a waste of time. And, building a strong list of measurable goals doesn’t take any more time. 

Campaigns suffer when teams skip the important step of defining goals in quantifiable terms. That’s because without measurable goals in place there are no benchmarks to provide focus and keep PR efforts on track.

Empty goals like these pop up all the time in PR campaigns:

  • Drive website traffic
  • Increase program awareness
  • Garner widespread media coverage for our product

If these goals seem familiar you might want to take a look at your own PR goals and beef them up with some specifics to make them more measurable and meaningful.

Of course, clients and execs may approach PR and ask them to “increase awareness” for their company or an individual product. PR campaigns can be designed with that intent – after all, increasing awareness is a worthwhile business objective. You just need to throw in some measurable goals to define what exactly “increasing awareness” means. Otherwise you can land in hot water.

Measurable goals give clarity to expectations. Your PR team might have a different definition of “increasing awareness” than your client or executive team. The last thing you want to happen is to go along working like crazy and thinking you’re giving your client exactly what they want, only to find out in the end you haven’t met their expectations. That’s a recipe for disaster – your client will be disappointed that they didn’t get what they wanted from PR, and you’ll be frustrated that your hard work was not appreciated. This puts a major strain on client-agency relations and I’ve repeatedly seen it result in PR teams being fired.

Some minor adjustments can really improve non-measurable PR goals. By adding a time frame or some specific numbers you can transform vague goals. The key to creating successful goals is making sure that each one is distilled down to a data point that can be clearly calculated.

For more info on how to set better measurable PR goals check out this report: The Basics of Setting Measurable PR Goals.

Advertisements

What are you hoping to gain from PR measurement?

If you’re new to PR measurement I have a question for you: why do you want to measure PR? As a crusader for measurement I could give you a thousand and one reasons why you should be measuring and analyzing PR results. But the motives behind measurement are unique to each and every PR program, and they play an important role in designing a relevant and useful measurement plan. If you’re just starting out I suggest you take some time to identify what YOU want to get out of measurement by defining your measurement objectives. 

Stop and think about why you want to track coverage and measure results – what do you want to gain? Are you looking to stay on top of the news, find better media opportunities, stay abreast of competitors, respond to competitive threats? Your answers to these questions will help determine what information to capture and how to use it. By defining measurement objectives you can design a measurement program tailored to your needs. You’ll be able to focus measurement efforts on collecting the information that is most valuable to you, and also to the executive team.

A lot of PR teams just go out and track coverage for the sake of having some sort of results to pass along to clients and executives. They never consider whether the results are helpful or relevant. This approach to measurement is a waste of precious time and resources. Clients and executives are looking for competitive data to help them improve their business plans. If you’re going to take the time to capture information – and then format and package it for executives – you want the final product to be something they’ll actually read and use.

Monitoring and measuring coverage takes time and money. To see a return on your measurement investment, you need to collect information and use it to formulate PR strategy. And, to do that you must start by capturing the right information in the first place – another reason to know your measurement objectives.

%d bloggers like this: