Measuring PR

Why do so many companies find it hard to tell whether or not their PR efforts are working? The answer may have to do with “information overload.”

Just a couple of decades ago, information was hard to come by. Only the important stuff was written down and widely shared: the sales figures, the cost savings, the final results – in short, things that factored directly into the stakeholder‘s objectives. Now all information is widely shared. Every bit of it. And that makes it difficult to tell when you are looking at the important stuff.

The PR efforts of many companies have suffered because of this confusion. The mass of information and new data sets which are constantly being generated have led to misperceptions about what is truly important. PR News, a publication of Access Intelligence, LLC, recently hosted a PR Measurement Conference which focused on how PR efforts can be systematically tied to larger company goals.

The first step is to “set measurement objectives aligned with business processes and outcomes,” according to presenter Don Bartholomew, SVP of Digital & Social Media Research at Ketchum. Then “define the key metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) necessary to assess and measure performance.”

Presenter Angela C. Jeffrey, President of, takes the conversation beyond the usual discussion of ROI. “True ROI applies to organization-wide financial measures,” she said. Therefore, it may be more useful to think of PR‘s role in terms of ‘revenue events‘. “These are mini-contributions to overall ROI.”

A decade into the social media revolution, businesses are recognizing that PR and social media efforts are not an end in themselves, but tools to employ for their larger business objectives. The intermediate goals of PR (building brand awareness, earning the trust of influencers) all must lead to revenue generation. Companies must bring real rigor – mathematical and measurable in nature – to understanding, planning, and measuring their PR efforts. PR professionals must understand how a company‘s overall business works.

In the words of presenter Marla Bace, General Manager of Marketing and Operations Circles, a division of Sodexo, “Always think about the desired result first and work backward to build the plan that will achieve it.”

Your company‘s solution is to work with people who understand the evolving models and metrics of PR. CCI has prioritized these kinds of numbers-focused goals since day one. Contact the team to help build a PR strategy for your business.