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Are you really sure your PR efforts are working? Don't make these 5 mistakes when measuring PR effectiveness

By Lisa Goldsberry
PR efforts and effectiveness - ThinkStockPhotos.comThere’s the old saying that you get what you pay for, but many companies wonder exactly what they’re buying when they hire a PR firm. In response, PR professionals have developed a number of methods to measure the effectiveness of their work.


However, even with measurement tools in place, some companies still get it wrong. Make sure you dont make these same errors when determining the success of your PR campaigns.

1. Not measuring at all

If you are trying to increase profits but never count your money, you won’t know if you’re achieving your goals. Sure, you might stay in business, but without an awareness of how much cash you’re bringing in or whether

it’s more than you were making before, you’re really just spinning your wheels.


Consequently, when using a PR firm to help your company, it is crucial to identify your objectives and be able to recognize what it will look like when you reach them. You will need measurement tools to make this determination.

2. Starting to measure in the middle of a project

No one waits until the middle of a marathon to ask about the location of the finish line. Before beginning a race, it’s wise to map out the route, determine how fast you need to run and decide whether your goal is to come in first or simply prove you can endure for the duration and finish strong.


The same principles hold true for a PR campaign. Prior to starting any project, you should determine what you wish to accomplish, a reasonable timeframe and how you’ll measure success. In addition, it is important to remember that PR results should be linked to your overall company goals and objectives.


3. Measuring the wrong things

If you owned a burger joint, you wouldnt count how many times you mopped the floor to determine sales for the day. While a having a clean establishment does create a favorable impression for the customers, you can’t use it to accurately gauge how many people came in to purchase food.


Many companies make the mistake of measuring the wrong activities. For example, if your goal is to increase traffic to your website, measuring the number of in-store sales does not confirm success, so that measurement isn’t helpful.


4. Unrealistic expectations

If you have gained 20 pounds in the past 20 years, you cant expect to lose the weight overnight. Although it shouldn’t take another 20 years, you still need to be patient, exercise, eat healthily and give your body time to adjust.


With public relations campaigns, you also have to remain focused, heed the advice of your PR counsel and monitor changes – even small ones. Don’t expect major results in areas such as online reputation repair or your company’s position as a thought-leader to happen immediately.


5. Deciding not to hire a PR firm because you believe measurement is impossible

Every company is different and so is each PR campaign. Therefore, you can’t use the same measurement criteria for everything. Since there are so many potential pitfalls to effectively measuring PR initiatives, some companies may be scared off, afraid that they’ll spend considerable funds and not get any real, tangible results in return.


How we measure PR efforts.


Let Axia put your mind at ease. We use Axia PRoof, our seven-step strategic planning, measurement and reporting process, to measure the results that matter most. We identify Key Performance Indicators to better monitor and measure your success. Contact Axia today to learn more.

Lisa Goldsberry is a writer for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business, higher education and technology PR. Connect with Axia Public Relations on Twitter at @axiapr.

Topics: public relations, measurement

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