PR Measurement


Not so long ago in the PR world, measurement was all about counting media clips and figuring advertising value equivalents. As it turned out – and not surprisingly – those numbers were just one component of meaningful measurement. They give you an idea of how much coverage you’ve received but don’t look at the substance of that coverage.

Leaders in the industry created the Barcelona Principles which provide a guide on how to effectively measure communications. Essentially, the Principles encourage companies and organizations to identify and measure key performance indicators. They focus on the content of the placements, whether media hits are in the right place, and the strategy behind your efforts.

Before you can start measuring, you need to know what it is you want to measure. We work with our client to set their public relations goals and create a content analysis report based off these goals. Because every organization is different and a measure important to one doesn’t always fit the goals of another, each client’s report is unique – and that’s the way it should be.

What should you be measuring?

If you’re focusing on media relations or “traditional PR,” there are a number of components you can measure. It’s important to remember that no one measurement is an end-all be-all, but that the combination of measurements can help you better analyze your media coverage and guide your media relations plan. Here are some items you can include in your own media content analysis.

  • Coverage of key messages
  • Media coverage by type, location, subject, etc.
  • Number of unique media outlets
  • Media interaction
  • Favorability/sentiment
  • Audience
  • Share of positive voice
  • Prominence

Keep in mind that measurement is only effective when you regularly look at your results and make adjustments as necessary to make sure you’re staying on the right track. Creating a measurement strategy will take time to set up and execute, but it will also provide valuable insight to how the messages you send out are received and shared, as well as whether you’re reaching your target audiences.