High definition PR evaluation – time for a fresh approach

High definition PR evaluation – time for a fresh approach

Phil Szomszor

Phil Szomszor

Have you ever been in a pitch and had that really awkward moment when it comes to the measurement and evaluation slides? Presenters on the agency side can't wait to move on, while client-side, people shift around rather awkwardly in their seats.

Why is this?

It's because the PR industry has always had a real problem with measurement and evaluation.

Unlike other marketing disciplines, such as advertising and direct mail, PR (at least defined in terms of media relations) has been hard to track and measure.

We resort to monitoring things we can get a handle on, like media coverage, because inherently communications objectives are virtually impossible to measure in a truly meaningful way.

[caption id="attachment_8870" align="alignright" width="250"]Steven Gerrard picture Steven Gerrard got credited with the most "assists" last season - but how can PR prove its contributory value to sales or other business goals?[/caption]

In essence, this can be referred to as the “attribution problem” – i.e. what direct or indirect effect has PR had on a business outcome? It's analogous to footballers being credited with "assists" when it comes to scoring goals.

Most of the industry agrees that Advertising Value Equivalent (AVE) is a poor way of measuring PR performance, but there haven't been many alternatives put forward. The media landscape has evolved considerably in the last few years and PRs need to consider the value of tweets, YouTube views and clicks, alongside traditional media readership. On top of that, there's search engine optimisation to contend with - i.e. how can you show that PR is impacting how prominent an organisation appears in a Google search?

We've taken a good, long hard think about this problem and published our thoughts in a new white paper, entitled: "High Definition PR Evaluation".

Here we address issues, such as the attribution problem, measuring the real business benefit of PR and considering the impact of social media and SEO.

We have also developed our own evaluation methodology, inspired by best-practice recommendations from AMEC and Firefly friend Andrew Smith, and speaking to our customers, partners and prospects over the past few months.

Feel free to download our white paper and let us know what you think of our PR evaluation tools.

Firefly Communications PR Evaluation White Paper by Firefly Communications

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