Plan for Measurement and Incorporate it in the Budget

I had a conversation today with a PR colleague who is struggling to come up with funding for measurement. My reminder for all of you out there is that it is important for PR pros to plan for measurement and incorporate it into the budget from the beginning. That way you can set aside resources to cover it, rather than having to scramble to come up with a way to measure and analyze data once you are knee-deep into a campaign.

How to Prove PR’s Value

You may be thinking”Prove PR’s Value?… We achieved a huge amount of media coverage this quarter, it is obviousthat PR is valuable to our company/client.”  If only it were that easy!  Of course we PR pros see the value of PR, that is why we are in this field.  But, it is important to switch your perspective to that of your client or top executives.  What needs to happen for them to be convinced of PR’s value?  Wallop! OnDemand released a new white paper this month (that includes responses from 150+ survey respondents) to get to the bottom of the PR value creation question.  The following is just a glimpse at what we discovered.

These are the 3 things that executives want most from PR.

  1. Results. Plain and simple.
  2. Smart PR strategy recommendations that map to business objectives.
  3. Strategic counsel and recommendations on how to continuously improve.

Measurement is the key to giving executives and clients what they want.

Measurement is the answer for all three of these deliverables.

  • In order to prove that PR has generated results, progress must be analyzed to scientifically show how PR has made a difference in the goals of the client or company.
  • In order to give smart PR strategy recommendations that map to business objectives, PR needs to have an understanding of what is working and what is not PR wise.
  • In order to give strategic counsel on how to continuously improve, data must be analyzed to give direction to the right answers.

So for a very simplistic answer on how to prove PR’s value:  The proof is in the measurement!  Now it is your job to dive into measurement data to uncover what it says in a way that speaks to clients and executives.

Download the Wallop! white paper entitled: Proving the Value of PR: Survey Findings and Solutions for PR Departments, for a more complete and detailed look into PR value creation.

What Does the “Age of Big Data” Mean for PR?

In the last few years, more data has been created than ever before.  With technology advances shifting communication overwhelmingly digital, it is now possible to obtain more information about what people are saying about your company or product than you ever thought possible.  Thanks to Facebook, Twitter, web searches and mobile devices, we can understand in much more detail things like who “likes” our new product and what they are saying about it.  They are calling this “The Age of Big Data”.  Are you seeing a change in PR due to this new trend? What changes are you making in order to take full advantage of this endless supply of data?

“Big Data” Means Demand for PR Measurement

This revolutionary change to our culture demands a change in our marketing tactics.  The days of making decisions based on past experiences and intuition are gone.  With all the digital media measurement available we have the capability of being scientific in our decision making.  PR measurement and analysis is now considered essential when it comes to helping clients and executives make smart business decisions.

“Big Data” Means Getting Specific

With all the mountains of data at your fingertips, it can be quite overwhelming to think about how to go through it all.  Too much data is not helpful, so data needs to be properly filtered.  The good news is… because there is more info out there, you can get very exact and drill down to specific data points that are relevant to your organization’s business needs.

“Big Data” Means Lots of Analysis

Because of the huge increase in data and our access to it, there is an incredible demand for qualified people to filter, collect, analyze and make sense of it all.  There is no time like the present in this fast-paced data saturated world to become data savvy.  Make sure you hire PR staff  with measurement expertise, train existing staff in data measurement and analysis and/or take advantage of vendors who are the experts in data measurement to handle this task for you.  Outsourcing PR measurement and analysis is becoming more popular as measurement gets more intricate.

“Big Data” Means More Profits

In a study of 179 large companies, conducted by MIT professor Erik Brynjolfsson, it was found that those who adopted data-driven decision making achieved a 5-6% increase in productivity and profitability.  Another reason not to ignore the data trend.  Executives and clients are looking to PR and marketing more than ever for information and guidance to help them make well-informed decisions.  What an opportunity for PR to become an essential part in successful business!

Let’s Add In-Depth Numbers to AVE’s

Judging by some of the measurement pieces I’ve read lately, there is still a lot of focus on the AVE debate. I personally think it is time to move beyond the debate. Yes, most of us in PR know that AVE’s are just a prediction of how many people might see your message, and that they don’t allow you to truly evaluate PR’s impact. But, clients and execs still look for AVE data because it is something they understand, something familiar. So what is a PR pro to do? Why not give your clients the AVE info they want, but also provide more in-depth numbers and educate your clients on what they mean. In my experience, AVE’s lose their luster when presented side-by-side with more insightful metrics. So, let’s stop debating and start focusing our energy on educating clients about what data they should be interested in. I think taking this sort of action will produce the desired outcome (the end of AVE’s) most quickly.

Adding Weight to Your PR Outsourcing Decision

Adding Weight to Your PR Outsourcing Decision

In my last blog post I talked about how to figure out how much internal PR measurement is costing you.  That is only one factor in making a smart PR outsourcing decision.  Once you have determined the actual cost of in-house measurement, it is important to look at the pros and cons of outsourcing and add those facts to your decision scale.

What Are The Pros?

Here are a list of common benefits that outsourcing can have for an organization.  Read through the list and see if they apply to you.

  • The ability to allow junior staff more time to work on campaign-oriented tasks.
  • Eliminates the temptation to put PR measurement on the “back burner” to deliver on work that provides greater fulfillment and advancement opportunities.
  • Improves continuity.  When internal employees go on vacation or are out of the office, measurement doesn’t stop.
  • Removes the need to constantly train/manage new staff on measurement tasks.
  • Increased staffing flexibility.  Scale vendor resources and use when needed, then release them when you don’t.

What Are The Cons?

  • Do we have enough media coverage to warrant outsourcing PR measurement?
  • Does our PR staff spend too few hours on PR measurement to really consider it?

The following concerns have more to do with not finding the right vendor to meet your needs.  Make sure you look at several options before you decide that outsourcing is not for you.  Some common concerns could be:

  • A cookie cutter approach to every business.  Can we have our measurement designed for our needs?
  • Lack of flexibility.  Can we change our measurement as goals and needs change?
  • Inaccurate data.  Will they provide human interaction to check the quality and accuracy of the data?
  • Lack of Expertise.  Do they really understand PR and have the ability to do advanced analytics?

Weigh Outsourcing Costs

If you find an outsourcing vendor that meets your needs and expectations, then you are ready to determine if their required monthly cost is worth it.  Remember to compare internal costs with outsourcing costs while also considering the list of benefits that you have uncovered.  And finally… ask the question.  “Will this vendor do a better job at PR measurement than we are currently doing?”

I hope this helps you to take an honest look at costs and benefits of outsourcing for your organization.  Once you get it all down on paper, you should be able to see which way the scale is tipping.

 

Incorporate PR Measurement in the Beginning

I recently came across a blog post discussing the importance of incorporating measurement into PR plans from the onset. I think this is such an important point for PR pros to understand. Building monitoring and PR measurement into your strategy from the beginning is much easier than trying to go back and squeeze it into the budget later. Read more in the blog post here: http://bit.ly/YjnBex.

PR Measurement: Outsourcing VS. In-House

In this corner, weighing in at a monthly investment that provides consistent, timely data – we have … OUTSOURCING!!!

In this corner, weighing in at an added burden that doesn’t “cost” an extra fee  – we have … IN-HOUSE!!!!!

WHO WILL BE THE CHAMPION????

When it comes to the choice between in-house PR measurement and outsourcing there does not seem to be a clear winner across the board.  The right fit is dependent upon some key factors that each business and agency must consider.  So, let’s take some time to weigh the options more closely: Who will be the winner for your PR program?

4 Key Questions to Ask 

  • How much media coverage do you regularly get?
  • How much time/manpower is needed to track coverage, analyze results, and create reports?
  • Who are the internal team members responsible for handling measurement? What are their salaries?
  • How does the amount of salary applied to internal measurement compare with the cost of an external measurement provider?

How Much Does Internal Measurement Really Cost?

Once you have answered the key questions, you can use that information to determine how much internal measurement is costing you.  To figure out the cost you will want to calculate the hourly salary that team members are paid to provide coverage tracking, analyze data, create reports and develop data-driven counsel.  Be sure to also calculate how much time and money is spent for training and managing quality control as well.

Let’s say you determine that it takes 20 hours a month for a PR staffer who earns a $40,000 salary to track, analyze and create reports.  This costs your organization approximately $384/ month.  Then you determine that it takes an additional 10 hours a month for the PR intern who earns $12/hr to sift through automated media coverage reports and pull out all non-relevant info.  This costs an additional $120 per month.  Finally you figure out that it took 1 week of training for your measurement staffer and 1 hour of training for your intern.  The training was done by another PR staffer that earns a $55,000 salary, costing you around $153/month for all measurement related training.  Giving you a total cost of around $647/month that was spent on PR Measurement.

This of course is going to look different for everyone depending on the variable answers to the questions above.  Take time today to closely evaluate how much internal measurement is costing you.  Once you have done that, the next steps are to take a look at the other pros and cons that play into this decision, and to evaluate outsourcing costs by talking with several vendors.  We will take a closer look at these steps next time.  But until then… here is a little more info on the subject as shared in Bulldog Reporter’s Daily Dog’:  Easily Weigh the Pros and Cons of Outsourcing PR Measurement.

 AND THE WINNER IS…

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: