PR measurement: why business goals come before coverage

By: Melissa
How do YOU measure public relations? It's the most frequently asked question by clients and new business prospects because every organization needs supporting metrics for its PR and marketing programs to make sure activities are valuable and impactful for the business. So, what's the answer to the question? You need to pick the right key performance indicators (KPIs). Coverage doesn't matter much if there isn't a clear reason for why it's being placed.
For example:
1. Do you see sales or revenue increases from press coverage or social media? Direct corollaries for PR and marketing are necessary.
2. Are your PR programs saving you money? Did you see cost savings using a different strategy for PR or marketing?
3. Have you compared your paid versus earned search rankings? Can we drop SEM for organic SEO?
4. What is the value of your community? Measure the effect of social capital (social media and positive sentiment online) with quantitative data through surveys, customer interviews, operational costs, etc.
Take, for example, a great piece of coverage we recently secured for one of our startup clients: an appearance on CNBC's PowerPitch. The popular show has a large audience, but the appearance ultimately mattered to Rockbot, the maker of a virtual jukebox app, because it gave a huge boost to its strategic business goal of attracting investors and customers. Rockbot fielded multiple investor inquiries and customer leads in the moments after the segment aired and continues to see meaningful results from it.
Here's another example. Last year Metis secured media opportunities for one of its former data center clients, iWave Software, in eWEEK and Network World around the company's new product launch. That directly provided more than 50 visits to the company's website. The overall product launch efforts resulted in an average of one trial download a day and a record number of visits to the company's website. Metis' efforts combined with internal company initiatives ultimately resulted in the acquisition of the organization by EMC.
PR matters when it furthers strategic business goals, and those goals should be the primary focus of PR measurement.
What types of PR and marketing measurement techniques have been successful at your company?