Measuring Public Relations Effectiveness

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Q: I have just started a job as Director of PR at the corporate office of a $6 billion global e-information company based in Canada. This is a new position, as is the entire communications department. I am currently attempting to purchase/develop some sort of method for measuring our PR effort at corporate. Most of my media relations goals are related to increasing the profile of the corporation as a whole in US and Europe (CEO profiles, corporate profile stories, etc.).

Could you provide me with any “best practices” in regard to measuring PR? I am currently looking at such products as Bacon’s and Burrelles clip analysis reports, but those are so ineffective and inaccurate in really measuring effectiveness, though they may be the industry standard.

Jason Stewart

A: Dear Jason,

Congratulations on your new assignment!

What you probably need to do is direct audience research in addition to the best type of clip analysis available. For example, do research with customers/prospects, financial analysts, trade reporters, business reporters, potential recruitment candidates, etc. to identify their level of awareness of your company’s name and reputation in comparison to those of your competitors’. Then you need to track changes in these audience numbers on an ongoing basis and compare the changes against specific PR campaigns you launch to see what has the greatest impact.

Of course, the key messages you want to track will vary by group. What makes a company attractive to a potential shareholder might be quite different from what appeals to a top-notch software developer you might want to attract as an employee.

You should also explore integrating your PR measurement with advertising and marketing research because PR itself needs to be integrated with them. You might visit the site for an interesting case study conducted for AT&T that showed the interrelationships of effectiveness for PR and advertising.

Feel free to call me to discuss this more fully. 714 241 8665.

Angela D. Sinickas