How PR Agencies Can Make Measurement More Sophisticated and Successful: Using Forms and Documentation

Many agencies track PR results by recording them in a spreadsheet and sending that information to clients as a report. This type of data is not nearly as helpful and successful as using more sophisticated analysis of PR coverage. If you are going to take the time to track and collect information, then why not use it to help formulate a specific PR strategy and to help your client make good business decisions. This is well worth the time and money and will make your reports much more valuable for your clients.

So how do we get started in making the switch to more sophisticated measurement? The first place to start is in creating standard intake forms designed to help you and your client determine objectives and define scope. Well-designed forms ask questions that help agencies to focus on collecting and analyzing only appropriate information that is in line with the client’s goals. This way you can present your results in a useful, client specific report that will prove valuable to all involved. Your forms may include: a list of search terms, what topics should be tracked, which coverage to include and exclude, which competitors to watch, or spokespeople to monitor. When you ask specific questions from the beginning and pinpoint what a client’s objectives are, you can provide a targeted measurement analysis report that delivers. Not to mention the fact that you and your client will be on the same page as to what information you will be tracking and not tracking based on the form documentation.

Speaking of documentation, that is the next thing to consider when making the change to quality PR measurement. It is critical to document all client expectations and decisions made about measurement parameters. Agencies need to be very clear with clients upfront about what measurement does and does NOT include. Many times clients get upset when they find a piece of coverage that wasn’t included in a report. This usually happens because the coverage was outside the defined search terms. When you have documentation to remind the client of the agreed upon parameters based on budget and time restraints, this can help resolve or prevent further issues.

As you can see, creating a system to capture the right data from each client, using forms, processes and documentation is a great start for switching over to more analytical PR measurement. For more information on how to develop a more successful measurement program, check out the next Measurement Minute post.

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