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How Should You Measure PR?

We at Prezly believe measurement is a key component of good PR strategy, which is why we offer the detailed analytics that we do. But with so much talk of measurement and so many tools out there, it’s easy to get lost in a rabbit hole of clickthroughs, trackbacks, mentions, views, likes, engagement, [insert your favorite metric here].

Before you know it, you’ve spent hours wading through data and aren’t any closer to knowing whether you’ve really succeeded, much less what you should do next.

If you’re measuring everything in sight but don’t know what to do with the information, you’ve got it backwards.

Here are three questions to ask yourself before you even touch your analytics:

Why am I doing this?

This sounds like a very basic question, but don’t underestimate the importance of knowing exactly why you’re doing what you’re doing. From a business standpoint, this question will help you clarify your ultimate goal for any new initiative. It probably has something to do with earning more money, gaining a bigger following, retaining happy customers and generally moving your business forward.

What does success look like?

This question should apply specific, measurable objectives to your high-level goals from the first question. For example, if your goal is to increase membership, decide how much of an increase spells success. Say you spend $10,000 and get 100 new members. Is it a success or not? The answer is, it depends. If every new member is worth $5,000 in new business, then probably yes. If every new member is worth $5, probably not. You can’t know unless you’ve decided in advance what success looks like for your business.

How will we know when we’ve been successful?

This question will help you decide which metrics to pay attention to, and which metrics to ignore. Keeping with our example of increasing members, you obviously want to measure new memberships, but there are many related metrics that will also be helpful to you. If you’re driving traffic to a sign-up page, you probably want to know where the most traffic is coming from, how many people leave without signing up, and how many people begin the sign-up process but don’t complete it (to name just a few). Conversely, know which metrics you can ignore – this will vary widely based on your specific situation, but remember that just because you can measure something, it doesn’t mean that you should..

Once (and only once) you’ve answered these three questions, you can get down to the actual business of measuring and reporting. Measurement itself is a tactic, and numbers won’t tell you anything if you don’t already know what you’re looking for.

How do you build your measurement strategy? What metrics are important to you, which ones do you ignore, and how do you decide what it means to be successful?