How to Get From PR Measurement Data to Insight

I have mentioned countless times in my blog that it is important to analyze data so that you can extract information that pertains to your company’s goals and objectives.  But I often wonder if the word “analyze” could use a more detailed explanation.  For a list maker like me, “analyze” seems like too big of a step to just cross off my list, which means we may need to break it down a bit.  The dictionary defines analyze as:  “to examine carefully and in detail so as to identify causes, key factors, possible results, etc.”  It can be somewhat obscure to talk about analyzing data as the next step after collecting it.  But, how does one go about actually doing it?  Well, I found a very helpful marketing post that articulates the major challenge of getting from the collected data stage to insight.  Laura Patterson does a great job in her post, “More Data Does Not Equal Better Insights” of laying out what really needs to happen in the analyzing stage so that we end up with insights that give us the power to see and act.  Her post deals with marketing data in general, but I feel this translates to PR measurement data as well.


1.  Collect Data

2.  Analyze it

  1. Visualize trends….
  2. Discuss patterns…
  3. Articulate one insight…
  4. Incubate insights…
  5. Do insights resonate?

3.  Report Insights

Laura argues that data cannot give us value until we glean patterns, trends and anomalies from it.  This is easier to do when we present our results visually.  This is the first step in analyzing.  As our dictionary definition pointed out, analyzing involves careful examination in detail – so don’t expect it to be fast or easy.  In Patterson’s 5 step process of analyzing I noticed a few things that suggest that it is just that, a process.  It is a team effort that involves lots of discussion, possible insights, taking time away and then revisiting and presenting to others.  It sure is nice to attach a 5 step process to something as obscure as analyzing.  It makes the trip from data to insight much more focused and purposeful.  I know it is helpful for those of us who love to make lists and cross off the steps as we go!

Please let me know if you feel this 5 step process is as helpful for PR data as it is for generic marketing data.  Do you have any other suggestions to help break down the analyzing step?

PR Measurement and Social Media

Most PR professionals agree that measurement is a necessity.  We understand that using measurement, including analysis, can give a clear picture of where our PR efforts are going.  So why aren’t we more focused on getting it right when it comes to measurement? Are there too many barriers standing in the way?  Check out this article by Russell Working that highlights survey results surrounding social media measurement and offers some insight:

Prove you can work wonders with a budget – Using measurement to grow your PR budget (Part 3)

When it comes to building a case for an expanded PR budget, I like to recommend the following three part approach that I’ve personally found to be very successful:

1. Use measurement data to show what you’ve achieved with the current budget

2. Layout the goals

3. Define what you are asking for and explain how that will drive even greater results

From what I’ve learned in my experiences dealing with executives, I think it is important to address these three areas when you make your budget pitch. Here is a closer look at the first of these three steps: Use measurement data to show what you’ve achieved with the current budget…

In a previous post I mentioned that before you sit down with executives and ask for more money for PR, you need to make sure your program is performing at its peak. If you’ve done the work and you are achieving great results it is time to begin making your budget pitch – starting by showing off all of those great results PR has produced.

Sit down with execs and give them some solid examples of business successes that PR is responsible for. Make sure that the information you provide is clear and meaningful. Remember, executives are business-minded, so they value seeing things like charts, sales numbers, graphs, ROI, growth figures, and anything else that demonstrates business outcomes linked to PR.

Ideally you’ve been measuring the results of your PR program and you have a good amount of information at your disposal to help demonstrate what PR has achieved with its current budget. If you don’t have baseline information available, you’ll have to go back and collect this previous data. Don’t overlook the importance of collecting measurement data – without it you’ll have a tough time convincing executives that PR has been successful and deserves more money.

Once you have collected your data, you want to pull the most convincing and relevant info so that you can clearly demonstrate to executives how PR has successfully impacted the business.

Make sure that as you layout PR accomplishments, you support your claims with data and facts. And be sure that you are linking the PR activities you executed with positive business results. For example, if sales increased by 200% because of PR efforts, you need to show that PR was directly responsible for that business win.

Using data and making a clear connection between PR and business success will show executives that they are getting their money’s worth out of PR. It will make them feel more confident that PR is using its current budget to deliver positive business results. And that is the first step in building your case for a PR budget increase.

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