Tips for measuring communication success
Good PR measurement doesn’t just track ad value equivalencies. Instead, it links your efforts to the organization’s key performance indicators, or KPIs.
So track outputs, outtakes and outcomes, says Shonali Burke, ABC, principle of Shonali Burke Consulting. Then link outputs to outcomes, communication results to KPIs.
A lecturer at Johns Hopkins University and blogger at BNET, Burke has earned a Golden Ruler award from the Institute for Public Relations for her measurement work. She shared this approach at the 2010 PRSA International Conference:
|What to measure|
|Measurement||What it is||Example|
|Outputs||What you made — clips, brochures and mentions, for example.||Burke’s award-winning campaign for the ASPCA — the country’s first-ever “mobile animal CSI unit” in the wake of Michael Vick’s dog-fighting charges — generated media placements on NBC’s “Today,” CBS’ “Early Show” and NBC’s “Nightly News With Brian Williams.”|
|Outtakes||Audience takeaways — changing knowledge or perceptions, maybe.||The ASPCA campaign resulted in a 28 percent increase in public awareness of the organization’s anti-cruelty initiatives.|
|Outcomes||Quantifiable changes that occur because of your program — increased sales or donations, maybe.||The ASPCA campaign generated a 65 percent increase in web traffic, which correlated to an increase in ASPCA membership and donations.|
WK’s Old Spice social media campaign linked outputs — an enormous amount of viewership and buzz — to the outcome of increased sales, Burke said. So does Dan Gordon’s social media campaign. This Oklahoma City jeweler sees a lot of action on Facebook and Twitter (outputs). That has allowed him to reduce ad spending from $500,000 to $50,000 while increasing revenue by 30 percent and doubling foot traffic (outcomes).
Plan communication measurement
Burke also recommended the WWWWWH approach to planning communication measurement:
- WHO is your audience? Audience members might include journalists and bloggers, customers, partners, employees, government leaders or investors.
- WHAT do you want these audience members to do differently? Join the organization, maybe, or buy something.
- WHEN will this change occur? Set a timeframe. Will you measure attitudes and actions before and after your campaign?
- WHERE will you measure? In what markets, channels or space will your communications take place?
- WHY are you measuring? What goals do you plan to help your organization achieve?
- HOW will you measure? Will you use Web analytics? Phone, online or paper surveys? Focus groups, media analytics or dedicated URLs/phone numbers? See Burke’s tools for measuring on a shoestring.
And if at first you don’t succeed? “Measure and correct, measure and correct, measure and correct,” Burke says.