Have you heard the saying ‘what gets measured improves’?

Well … it applies to all aspects of life including our businesses.

In my workshops and blogs, I often bang on about having a plan. If you do not have a plan, how do you know where you are going … and how do you know when you get to where you want to be?

I work with many people who have a go at using PR as a marketing tool, only to throw in the towel after a few months – “It doesn’t work,” they say.

Ah … yes it does.  You gave up too soon. Building a profile and a business, getting noticed, standing out takes time. PR is about building relationships and trust.  Using storytelling to connect and convert. Building a solid profile can take up to THREE years – talk about delayed gratification.

I beg you … do not give up.  Even when it seems like nothing is happening, it is.

To really get a handle on how your PR is going, it is good idea to test and measure to see what works and what does not.  If you know that, you can adapt your plan to accommodate and hone the tools your are using for better results and use of your time.

Be Clear About Getting Publicity

It’s important to be clear about what you’re looking for when you measure your PR. Before you start, review your PR objectives and consider:
• The target customer segments you have identified
• The business characteristics you identified in your PR goals and objectives
• The set of key messages you chose to profile your business.

Criteria To Measure Your Publicity
Keep in mind that you are not just looking for outputs (the quantity of media you produce) but for outcomes (the quality of relevant messages you produce that meet your PR objectives).
Develop a series of questions that help you measure whether you have met your PR objectives.
• Did we reach our target audiences?
• Which of our key messages are reaching our audiences?
• How often are they reaching our audiences?
• Which tools and activities are we reaching them through?
• How many times are those tools and activities successful?
• Which material was taken up by the media?
• What tangible responses to the PR did we receive from our customers?
• Your answers to the above questions will help you identify which of your PR activities produced the results you wanted. What worked.

What To Measure And How
Stay focused on your target audiences. This not only helps you direct your PR efforts, it also helps you measure changes in their awareness, attitudes and behaviours as a result of your PR activities.

• The amount and quality of media coverage relevant to your audiences
• The number of times your key messages reach customers
• The number of customers contacting you after picking up brochures or catalogues at trade shows
• People clicking through to your website as the result of web directory listings or your email newsletter
• Word-of-mouth referrals
• Walk-ups/increased foot traffic due to raised awareness
• Increase in number of leads / sales enquiries as the result of PR activities.

You may find it helpful to use a table or simple database to list your PR goals and objectives and the tools and activities you used to meet them.

Social Media As Publicity Measurement Tool
Businesses are increasingly using social media to measure their online PR. Taking your PR online makes it easier than ever to track communication about your business. Following online media, blog posts, tweets and e-newsletters – for example – allows you to track what consumers and journalists are saying about your business.
Many businesses use media monitoring services. This may be unnecessary if you are mainly engaged in local public relations activities or have a limited budget.  You can simply record electronic coverage or obtain copies of newspapers or industry newsletters.
To measure website traffic generated by their public relations activities, many businesses use internet statistics, analysis or other tracking tools. Your website hosting company may offer a simple tool.

There are also free and paid analytics tools available, for example:
• Google analytics (free and paid versions)
• Facebook insights (Facebook only – free)
• Pinterest analytics (Pinterest only – free)
• Twitter analytics (Twitter only – free)
• http://iconosquare.com/ (for Instagram only – paid)
• https://hootsuite.com/ (free and paid versions)
• https://www.kissmetrics.com/ (paid)
• https://bitly.com (free)
• https://tagboard.com/ (free)
• http://hashtagify.me/ (free)
• http://socialmention.com/ (free)
• http://trendsmap.com/ (research tool, free and paid versions)

Good PR is an ongoing creative process. Be persistent, stay positive and continue looking for opportunities to position your business and encourage consumers to trust, like and use your business.