How to Develop a PR Measurement Framework

The PRCA Measurement Conference, in partnership with CARMA – the global media intelligence company – was hosted on Nov 30th 2021. The online conference looked at all the latest insights, trends and opportunities impacting PR measurement, an increasingly relevant topic as global markets emerge from the pandemic.

The conference sought to bring together a greater understanding of how PR practitioners can measure their communications and create meaningful business impacts in 2022 and beyond.

We caught up remotely by watching the conference’s recording – which you can access for free via this link – 2021 PRCA Measurement Conference. Inspired by what we learned, we thought we’d share our findings with you in this three-part blog series, which seeks to cover the key points of this year’s conference.

In this first instalment, we look at how to develop a PR measurement framework that both you and your clients can track and monitor over the course of your PR and communication campaigns. You can read the other blog posts in this series here: How to Build Your PR Tech Stack, How to Measure Digital PR.

Without further ado, here are our key takeaways:

This information was presented by Johna Burke global managing director at AMEC (@GoJohnaB). She was joined by Richard Bagnell global co-managing partner and CEO Europe at CARMA (@richardbagnall).

Why Do We Need PR Measurement Frameworks?

Communication is difficult – even under the best of circumstances. One of the things Covid-19 has demonstrated to us all is the essential nature of communicators and PR practitioners, and that is something we have to hold on to. That means demonstrating the power of PR, which is made significantly easier when you apply frameworks and methodologies to your PR measurement.  

Your PR impact is more than just your number of press releases, interviews, or website hits. You have to answer the question: what is the purpose of what we’re doing?

We’ve looked a lot at identifying your brand purpose (see our coverage of this year’s PR Week B2B Summit in which we inspect the question: Do B2B comms professionals and clients actually care about brand purpose?) but in essence, it comes down to understanding the need behind the need. 

Having said that, your number of press releases, interviews, and website hits are also pretty important. When it comes to tracking those elements, there are several things you should be doing.

The Barcelona Principles consist of seven guiding principles that help teams and organisations to set up their own framework and infrastructure. Here’s an overview:

  • Setting measurable goals is essential to communication and planning, measurement and evaluation. 
  • Measurement and evaluation should identify outputs, outcomes, purpose and impact
  • Outcomes and impact should be identified for stakeholders, society, and the organisation 
  • Communication measurement and evaluation should include both qualitative and quantitative analysis 
  • AVEs are not the value of communication 
  • Holistic communication measurement and evaluation includes all relevant online and offline channels
  • Communication evaluation and measurement are rooted in integrity and transparency to drive learning and insights.

There are some invaluable resources when it comes to planning your PR measurement framework. Try taking a look at AMEC’s resource page, where you can find an Introduction to PR planning, as well as AMEC’s Integrated Evaluation Framework, and more.

Once you’ve planned your framework, you’re not done quite yet. 

Your next task is to keep track of where you are on your journey – which is where the AMEC Measurement Maturity Mapper comes in handy. It’s a 6-8 minute diagnostic you can run with your team or your client to assess where you are on your PR measurement journey. It tells you where you are, and what steps you need to take to get to the next level. 

It’s important to know where you are in terms of everything – budget, capacity, capabilities –  because the next step is to apply those findings back to your purpose. Your purpose is what’s going to help you appeal to your stakeholders’ human natures because it’s the reason behind everything you’re doing. Keeping your ‘why’ tethered to your outcomes and impact is the key ingredient to creating an integrated evaluation framework, which is what stakeholders go for. It’s a way of applying a business process to PR and communications.

Looking at all of the data, you’re able to take a look at your objectives, outtakes, outcomes, and the impact of communication. 

It’s worth repeating that planning is critical. When brainstorming your goals, here’s a little guidance and what you should be thinking about:

  1. Business Goals – what’s the business problem/opportunity you’ll be supporting?
  2. Target outcome goals – how do comms need to influence what your target audience has heard, knows, feels, and does?
  3. Output Goals – what quantity and quality of coverage will achieve desired outcomes? For example, TV, print, radio, websites, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, mobile, and online social communities.
  4. Measurable results – Did you achieve your desired goal? For example, business impact, target outcomes, and media outputs: reach and quality. 

As you’re looking to build your first framework, keep in mind your objectives – your ‘why’, but also your ‘who’. Who are you trying to reach, and what are their challenges? As Johna Burke says so nicely in her presentation: “Make sure you’re getting your most meaningful message to people where it matters to them.”

Useful PR Measurement Resources:

AMEC and all its resources, including on-demand Measurement Month sessions

Getting started:

Primer: Introduction to PR Planning

Planning: AMEC IEF Planning support (IEF)

Say NO to AVEs

AMEC Certificate 

The PRCA also has lots of great information and resources on PR measurement as do CARMA.

Read the other blog posts in this series here:

Part 2 – How to Build Your PR Tech Stack

Part 3 – How to Measure Digital PR

Tillie Holmes

Find me on: Linkedin | Twitter

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