I’ve been looking at a number of PR campaigns recently as a judge for the AMEC Awards and I’m pleased to say I’ve seen a brilliant step change in the way that our profession is now measuring the effectiveness of our PR.
Any PR activity will have one of six possible goals: presentation, attention, comprehension, acceptance, retention, and action. And businesses have been traditionally very poor at measuring any of them.
Presentation where PR simply is about getting a message to a target should be an easy win. I want to know the precise demographic who reads a journal. I want to know exactly how many people have picked up a copy of the journal on the day my article is featured. That information has to be achievable and all PR professionals should be seeking to provide it.
Attention will become easier to gauge as we rely more on digital. There’s a great electronic publishing tool called Turtl that we rolled out to replace all of British Land’s hard copy brochureware. I’ve always had a problem with that printed brochureware, which is that aside from its expense, it is difficult to know if anyone reads them. Well Turtl can tell me not just who opens the e-brochure, but which pages they visited, and how much time they spent on each page and whether the reader stays at the surf level or immerses. This is the future of publishing and PR can embrace it. And for anything that you do digitally, you can embrace it right here right now. Websites. Mobile. Blogging. Social media.
Time on page and immersion data allows me to edge into the previously measurable only through research worlds of comprehension, acceptance, and retention.
Action where PR has persuaded the target audience to act in a particular way should be the easiest win of all. At British Land, I might push for an article in the Evening Standard’s property supplement on one of our new properties to carry a unique call to action allowing easy measurement.
It’s great to see that we’ve started researching the impact of different PR treatments with our target audiences. How does our target focus group respond to different forms of words in different sources at different times? For example if we know that a customer reading a story on page four of the Metro from Liverpool Street Station in November responds less positively than reading the same story from the same place in July, we can adjust our future PR as a result. If you’re investing heavily in PR, you owe it to yourself to invest heavily in the measurement of PR. Every campaign that we run should be tested in this way.