Quality over quantity. That is the PR pro’s motto in 2019. Growing impressions or article counts year over year is fine, but communicators are increasingly being asked to prove their business impact. According to a communications survey conducted by PR News and PublicRelay, 65% of corporate communicators said they use media measurement to show how their efforts are contributing to broader business goals.
In a recent PR News article about 2019 PR trends, AMEC Managing Director Johna Burke predicted, “measurement-focused organizations will decrease content volume and increase content quality…resulting in higher engagement and outcomes for brands that put quality over quantity.” PR pros must leverage their paid, owned, earned, and shared media strategically to focus on quality outputs that engage their audience, amplify key messages, reach the right influencers, and maximize business impact.
But how can communicators emphasize quality over quantity if that isn’t what you are currently measuring? The first step is to tie your measurement program to your organization’s business goals.
Design a Media Measurement Program to Answer The “So What?” Of Your Coverage
Communicators need to dig deeper behind the numbers to be able to discuss the nature of their mentions: were they passing or substantive? Did the article mention our key reputational drivers positively? Does the outlet reach our target audience? Most importantly, what business results did the sum of your PR tactics generate?
Step one of designing a measurement program to quantify “quality”: Understand the results the business is trying to achieve and how you can align to those. For some organizations this may seem like a huge step. Why? Because you’ve probably never thought about it from this perspective before. You can be sure the C-suite is thinking about it. So are sales and marketing and HR and legal – it takes a village after all.
“But our only business goal is to grow bigger/sell more/gain market share. That’s not part of my job.” While it is true most businesses are looking to grow their bottom line, thinking that Comms or PR isn’t part of that is a misnomer. How communicators tie directly to these business outcomes lies in the nuance of HOW the company is going to achieve those goals.
Will you need to hire more people in a tight labor market? Then you better be known as a great place to work and have a great reputation in the community.
Is your market highly competitive or “noisy” where everyone sounds the same? Or are you launching a new offering? Looks like you’ll need to understand how the media is covering your competitors so you can make better pitches to the right influencers and earn more coverage.
Are you making changes with your executive staff? Sounds like media training might be in order before you get them on the speaking circuit. And you’ll want to get a handle on your relationships with business or local press while you are at it.
Does your brand want to add “Innovative” to its reputation? Your team will need to understand which authors are talking about this topic in your industry AND build the needed relationships to get coverage.
These are just a few examples of how and why you should tie your work back to broader business goals.
Check out 5 PR Measurement Best Practices if you are interested in more information about goal-based measurement programs.