Historically, the PR industry has always struggled with how to measure appropriately public relations. With the onset of social media, channels have multiplied faster than the industry could keep up with and determining an ROI proved to be even more difficult than before. There has been a lack of standardization in PR measurement and no common ground on what matters the most.
“So how do you measure PR?” This is a common question we get from our clients. A kneejerk answer would be, “Public relations is about building trust, which is not easily measured.” One could argue the perception versus reality of PR, but that is futile. What a PR agency considers a misconception is a client’s reality — and quite simply the reality is that we need to prove the value of PR to our clients.
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.