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How to Measure PR Engagement

“Engagement” is often treated as a soft term in the world of PR measurement, thrown around by PR and marketing types to justify expensive campaigns when they can’t produce more measurable metrics like new leads, sales or revenue generated (aka genuine ROI).

Don’t dismiss engagement altogether, though. Engagement as the first step toward converting your audience into potential customers, and while it may be harder to quantify, it’s still very important. And yes, it can be measured. Here’s how:

1. Determine your goals

If you don’t know what your goals for a given campaign are before you launch that campaign, you’re already dead in the water. Do you want to catch the attention of a market niche? See your brand all over the media? Decide in advance what you want to accomplish.

2. Know what success looks like

Once you’ve identified your goals, decide how you will know when you’ve achieved them. If your goal is a strong social media community, you might measure things like mentions and shares. If you want coverage by top influencers, decide what kind of coverage and by whom. You get the idea.

3. Set benchmarks and milestones

After you’ve outlined your high-level success metrics, break them down into smaller milestones so you can measure your progress against them. If your goal is a strong Facebook presence and one of your metrics is 10,000 fans in three months, you might set benchmarks for 1,000 fans at the end of the first month, 5,000 after the second month, etc.

4. Iterate as you go

If you find that you aren’t hitting the benchmarks you set in step 3 above, don’t panic. Take it as a sign that you need to adjust your strategic and tactical approaches, or that perhaps your original benchmarks were unrealistic. Measure your progress against your goals, success metrics, and milestones as you go, and you’ll always know if your approach is working or if you need to make mid-course adjustments in order to meet your goals.