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PR measurement and evaluation

To Catch A Cloud: CIPR #CIPRSM

Regular readers of the blog will know that the team at Smoking Gun is passionate, nay obsessive, about measuring and evaluating the success of our public relations work.
Seeing the CIPR’s event aiming to give practitioners actionable insights and useful tips to improve PR measurement and evaluation, plus make the reporting of our work more strategic was right up our street then.  We sent our MD down to London to join in the action.

PR Measurement and evaluation event
Stella Bayles

Bumping into familiar sparring partners such as Richard Bagnall of AMEC fame (watch out for the new framework for measuring Integrated Campaigns he’s slaving over, due out June-ish, which builds on great past tools) was inevitable but meeting face to face with one third of the intrepid team busting a new groove in PR evaluation (and a tool we’ve been using for a while now), Coveragebook, was a delight.
A decent crowd at the CIPR HQ was agog as social media consultant Paul Sutton  used the best presenting tool of all, relating messaging to personal, emotive stories to capture our attention and ram home his messages.
Who in the audience will ever forget the story of pole dancing,  lost wedding rings and the national hunt that ensued? Intrigued about the outcome now aren’t you, huh?! You should have attended. My lips are sealed. What goes on at a PR measurement event stays at a PR measurement event, or so they say)!
Stella Bayes, one of the aforementioned Coveragebook pioneers retold her move from headline hitting PR, to search traffic stealing digital guru and back again. Her ebook really is worth every penny (or dime) and is something our team found a genuinely great resource.
Wrapping up and putting the fear of god into us mere flesh and blood mortals was Neville Hobson, author of the No1 ranked PR blog for four years running  (trumpet moment, our blog’s in that list too and the digital marketing top 10!). His knowledge is immense and the passion for his very new role at IBM shone through. The power of its new Watson technology to bring together HUGE amounts of unstructured data could be a genuine game changer in utilising Big Data in very useable, every day ways to save time. Talk of Terminator and SkyNet abounded.
So, what did we learn?

  • We already know that measuring social media outcomes HAS to be tied to objectives. The ones that really matter.  This really needs to be done granularly for almost for each post, annualised KPIs on engagement for example, don’t hold truck if the real business measure is sales from social. Cut your cloth accordingly.
  • Measure your links from PR if you want to prove real impact and customer actions
  • Google Analytics is your new best friend and to make things even easier, try this new free tool Answer The Client
  • Ensure you (or your client) sets up relevant Goals in Google Analytics to mirror your PR objectives
  • When assessing blogger’s influence, don’t use Domain Authority, use Page Authority as many bloggers host their sites on blog networks and the DA will be the network’s Authority, not the individual blog
  • By 2018, Garnet says that 80% of business content will be automated. Don’t think it will work or be human enough? Associated Press ran a two year trial using software to mine data and write baseball match reports. No one noticed!

Thanks CIPR for a great event, to Michael Blowers for acting as host and thanks also to the attendees, a great bunch of people who were willing to talk openly and share experiences in this most important of areas affecting our industry.
Time to crack on now and think about updating our client dashboards, again!

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