Measuring PR: The Quick and Easy Way

PR Measurement - Excel DocI was reading an article in PR News on what success looks like based on one’s client and goals. This article got me thinking about the types of measurement that is near and dear to my heart.

I know there is discussion about using formulas to determine the value of PR based on advertising values or other methods to determine share of voice. Granted, I think this is worthwhile for a larger corporation. But as a start-up company, doing more detailed analysis is overkill.  

Frankly, CEOs just want the basics and my time – like yours – is valuable. I don’t recommend including articles resulting from news release distribution. I don’t do an analysis of voice or messages as the volume is manageable. And if I were to provide this report on a regular basis, I need a quick and easy way to input and maintain this information (see excel sheet below).  Overall, I provide three key statistics: total number of articles, features vs. mentions and circulation numbers.

1) Total Number of Articles: This provides an easy base for measurement. I can compare the volume from a month-to-month basis, and eventually, year-over year.

Media Coverage

2)      Features vs. Mentions: I do believe it’s important to separate when an article focuses on an announcement versus a mention. This provides a sense of how well you’re placing articles about your news, reports and case studies. As this program develops and more reporters become familiar with your company, I would expect the number of mentions to increase.

PR Measurement - Mentions vs. Features

  3)      Circulation Numbers: I recommend using BPA audited circulation numbers where available. Otherwise, I’ll recommend taking the average number of site visitors or subscriber base number listed in the media kit. To me, this is the easiest number to use regarding the possible reach of an article. Again, it’s not about accurately determining the value of PR, it’s providing a baseline for your executive.

Circulation Numbers

 4)      Tracking PR to Marketing: In a previous post on my friend’s blog, I had mentioned other ways to track PR. Though this may not be a regular component of your reporting, consider providing the number of clicks or conversions resulting from PR placements when available.   

In the end of the day, getting positive media coverage is more important to me then spending too much time on measuring and justifying PR. If you have to resort to spending hours creating weekly status reports and complicated measurements to convince me of your value, then you’ve missed the point! 

I would love to hear any other quick and easy ways to measure PR.