Advancing communications measurement and evaluation

March #MeasurePR Key Takeaways


The March #MeasurePR chat was hosted by Shonali Burke, and, as it was held the day after International Women’s Day 2017, Shonali had some of the PR measurement world’s favorite female practitioners as her guests. Heidi Sullivan, Angela Sinickas, Rebekah Iliff, Dawn Buzynski, and Aly Saxe brought their collective wisdom to the virtual table. Below are some key takeaways from the chat:

  • After introductions, Shonali posed the first question to the guests, asking how they got started measuring PR. Heidi Sullivan said she is a “self-proclaimed metrics nerd,” Aly Saxe wants to help the PR industry do better at proving value, and Angela Sinickas once worked for a CEO who was also an accountant. Metrics matter!
  • The chat then moved on to discuss what makes for “perfect” measurement strategy. There’s no silver bullet, the panel reminded all of us, so it’s important that business goals are aligned with what is actually being measured.
  • Another panelist noted that one of the most important things to watch for is behavior change. Linking communications activity to a change in behavior is a very clear—and measurable—way to validate that PR activities are working.
  • The group also exchanged ideas on what really bad measurement is—the “far from perfect” methods. Perennial bad measurement candidate AVEs were mentioned right out of the gate, followed by a shocking confession from Heidi Sullivan that her first PR internship involved using a ruler to physically measure media clips to calculate AVEs!
  • Whether it involves crisis management, or simply a company that doesn’t want media attention (they do exist!), sometimes the objective is not to get coverage. So the next question posed was one that firms struggle with from time to time: “What are some PR measurement best practices for when a company doesn’t want attention?” From tracking daily drops in incorrect messaging to having a crisis plan in place and ready to go, the chat participants had a range of good suggestions to offer.
  • In recognition of International Women’s Day, Shonali asked the panel which female PR measurement pros had influenced them. Answers included Katie Paine, personal mentors, coworkers… and, of course, Shonali!
  • There was also an exchange on the subject of tips for PR people just entering the field. Suggestions included “hone your writing skills,” “take ownership of bringing PR tech into your job,” and, of course, “learn Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, and AirPR” (and get certified in them if possible).

Read the summary and find the full transcript over at Waxing UnLyrical. The next chat is scheduled for Thursday, April 13, at noon Eastern time—mark your calendars! Shonali has lined up a fantastic group of financial communications experts—learn everything you need to know about financial comms by chatting with the best.


Jennifer Zingsheim Phillips

Jennifer Zingsheim Phillips

Jennifer Zingsheim Phillips is the Director of Marketing Communications for CARMA. She is also the founder of 4L Strategies, and has worked in communications and public affairs for more than 20 years. Her background includes work in politics, government, lobbying, public affairs PR, content creation, digital and social communications, and media analysis.
Jennifer Zingsheim Phillips
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