90’s flashback…Every week the package would arrive by U.S. mail in large envelopes and sometimes in small boxes. We’d rip open the packages and dump out piles of news clippings from newspapers and magazines showing the results of our hard work.
After photocopying the clips and adding up the circulation numbers we’d proudly report the number of “impressions” our efforts produced for this national consumer product company. If they had paid the standard advertising rates for such coverage it would be worth hundreds of thousands, and even more with a multiplier representing the credibility publicity has over advertising. We compiled reports, clients nodded their heads in approval and everybody was happy.
That’s how much of PR measurement worked back then.
We’ve come a long way since the days of “PR by the pound” and I’ll be sharing the latest when I lead a discussion about PR Measurement at this week’s College Media Conference in Washington, D.C. hosted by the Council of Independent Colleges and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.
I’ll talk about the myth of AVEs, or Advertising Value Equivalencies, used by fewer and fewer companies. In fact, during the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC) conference held in early June, it was reported 12 percent of PR practitioners in the UK and U.S. used AVEs in the past 12 months.
Check out AMEC’s summary of why most PR companies have abandoned this flawed practice – 22 Reasons to Say No to AVEs.
With so many tools available, beginning with Google Analytics, PR professionals should move past counting clips and link their measurement efforts to the various steps of the customer journey. Why is that better? In baseball terms, just measuring publicity hits is like only tracking home runs. So much more impacts a manager’s decision about the team, and that’s why they measure RBIs, batting averages, on-base percentages and more. Don’t stop the clip counting, just expand your measurement program.
Start with the goal of the campaign. What are you trying to accomplish? Now, break down the steps and use metrics across paid, earned, shared and owned media to track audience behavior and the incremental steps to that success. A customer’s journey likely includes the following:
Finally, measure the effect of the communications and how your targeted customer reacts (outcomes). Have they increased understanding? Has the program changed their attitude about the topic? Has it had an impact on the intention to do something? (e.g. trial, subscribe, register).
AMEC has made it easy to track your outputs and more with a free online tool. The interactive element of the integrated evaluation framework will guide you through the process from aligning objectives to establishing a plan, setting targets and then measuring the outputs, outtakes, outcomes and impact of your work. Visit https://amecorg.com/amecframework/ to get started. The Van Eperen team is available to help you get started with a customized measurement program that works.
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