#PRNews Measurement Workshop Recap

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It’s not often you get to sit in a room with so many PR professionals and experts talking about measurement, but that was certainly the case today at the Yale Club in New York City. PRNews hosted a half day event with more than 40 attendees to hear from the leading minds in measurement and to get a few of their own questions answered. For anyone that is in PR, perhaps presenter Katie Paine hit the nail on the head when she commented, “If you’re looking to advance your career in PR, get a degree in statistics.” For all of us who have sweated over monthly, quarterly and annual reports, let alone campaign or launch recaps, no truer words could have been spoken.

The good thing is, with so many great questions from the attendees, there is no one answer or silver bullet that is available to solve all of PR’s measurement challenges. But before I get to the end, best to start at the beginning.

Eli Draluk, director, Analytics and Strategy, Burson-Marsteller, kicked things off. He reminded all of us of the importance of understanding what your objectives are, difference between strategic and tactical activities, setting benchmarks, avoiding Ad equivalency whenever you can (a common thread from today’s presenters) and the importance of being SMART when looking at measurement. SMART, the acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based.

Eli was followed by Marisa Long, PR and Communications Director at U.S. Green Building Council. As she reminded many attendees, think non-profit behind one of the prominent icons on buildings, LEED certification. With a team of twelve communicators to establish a clear and measurable voice in the marketplace, they are doing some impressive things. Marisa recapped the success of one of many, the campaign around the “Top 10 States for LEED Green Building Per Capita in U.S.” A campaign concept that started as a press release but clearly had far-reaching interest. A simple Google search nets more than 224,000 results alone. However, it wasn’t just the success of some pretty cool campaigns, beyond the LEED Green Building results, the 2015 Green Building Economic Impact Study prepared with Booz Allen Hamilton, was equally impressive and a good reminder that satellite media tours are well worth considering when launching a significant news item. The tour done in conjunction with the launch of the report helped generate well over 30 media interviews for broadcast and radio outlets across the U.S. helping to broaden outreach that media pitching may not have been able to do. However, it was the discussion around collaboration with other stakeholders like marketing and content marketers in particular that was refreshing to hear.

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A Visual Recap of the Successful Top Ten States for LEED Green Building Campaign.

And last but certainly not least in the day’s presentations was Katie Delahaye Paine, communications and measurement consultant at Paine Publishing but as many know, royalty in measurement circles. Her twitter handle reinforces that, @queenofmetrics. Katie reminded everyone of the importance of finding more than one data source as you’re not going to find one and only one platform to do everything you need to do. She also made it clear time and time again of the importance of asking the question to senior execs of what they are looking to accomplish so you are clear on what you are trying to measure. “What’s the best metric?” You have to ask the people that are asking that question internally. Katie finished by walking us through the “6-Step System for Perfect Measurement.”

All in all it was a good event, at a great venue, with the right mix of presentations, concrete examples and Q&A. Now if I can only find the time to learn more about Gleanin, Kapost, TalkWalker and TrackMaven I’ll be all set.

With that said, I’ll leave you all with a few quotes of note from the day. Some really good.

  • “Executives are tired of reading through 60 page reports with shiny charts. Think tables.”
  • “Ask yourself, what are we trying to accomplish and help people connect to what they are doing.”
  • “Impressions are like sperm. There are way too many of them and not all of them are doing what they were intended to do.”
  • “Get to know content marketing, it’s incredibly important for us as PR pros to know what our marketing colleagues are doing.”
  • “Everything is about framing. Sometimes vanity metrics take away from what we do to make business impact.”
  • “Survey quarterly versus annually, that way you can make improvements over time and are able to measure progress more clearly.”
  • “ROI is about focusing. Connect the work you are doing with perception shifts. Partner with the sales organization to find out where leads came from and work to connect value to the parts of the sales process that are not final sales.”