The Art & Science of PR Measurement

Dec 19, 2017

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It’s difficult to use a scientific approach to measure something that is not a science. That debate is especially relevant for PR pros. Is public relations an art or a science? And how do we measure the impact of a public relations program? 

If you believe that PR is a science, then quantitative metrics are the answer. That means diving into data such as click-through and conversion rates, social media engagement stats and website analytics.

If you believe that PR is an art, then qualitative metrics are the key. That means measuring outcomes, not just outputs. Look at the quality—not just quantity—of the media placements. For example, what was the sentiment of those media placements? Did they include your key messages?  On social media, it’s less about the size of your audience and more about the way they engage with your content and brand.

For our clients, we combine carefully selected quantitative and qualitative metrics based on their business objectives. That’s why the process of measuring our outcomes must always be considered at the outset of a project or campaign. We start by determining our client’s objectives.

Do you want to build brand awareness, position yourself as a thought leader, increase fundraising, or generate calls from prospective patients? Once you determine that, you can choose Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that will accurately gauge success.

We typically use these five KPIs to measure online PR effectiveness:

  • Engagement (how many people Liked, Shared, or otherwise interacted with an online post)
  • Impressions (an estimate of how many people may have seen the story or post) Items (the number of blogs, posts, or other content that originates as digital)
  • Mentions (when others start talking about your brand, product, etc. outside of your posts)
  • Reach (how long your content gets shared, earns traffic, or circulates online)

If you have questions, let us know. We’d be glad to set up a call to see how we can help.   



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Jon Pushkin

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Jon Pushkin is the president and founder of Pushkin Public Relations, a full service Denver PR firm. He likes dogs, baseball and swing, in that order.


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