Carefully Crafted on October 09

Not All PR is Quantifiable. Intangibles Matter, Too.

How do you measure PR? Whether you’re tracking outputs (e.g., press releases sent, blog posts written), outtakes (e.g,. news stories placed, speaking engagements placed) or outcomes (e.g., increase in sales, website conversions) — a PR measurement program isn’t always black and white. In fact, some PR elements are intangible and hard to quantify … whether we like it or not.

For example, how do you measure the impact of keeping a client out of a potentially negative or critical story? It’s not often discussed, but on rare occasions, it’s part of what PR pros do. Let’s say you’re working with a reporter on an upcoming story, but it turns out if your client is included in the story, they’d find themselves in quite the precarious position. Without getting into too many details, we faced a similar situation recently. We effectively kept our client out of the final article without damaging the relationship with the reporter.

But, how do you measure that? You can’t really. You could try to ascertain the potential negative impact incurred from being included in the story, but that’s far from an exact science. As in, it’s more of a guess. While it’s virtually impossible to effectively measure, it’s still a valuable outcome.

Let’s look at another example: Networking and making introductions. Some PR firms formally offer this as a service, while others see it as a value-add. When we can make a connection, we’re happy to do it. In many cases, these introductions have turned into very real outcomes. Contacts that you bring to the relationship matter. Even though it’s not a metric that shows up on a scorecard, it’s valuable nonetheless.

While these specific situations may be rarities, they are good reminders that not everything of value fits neatly into a quantifiable metric. But, more importantly, we need to remember that some of the most valuable PR outcomes are hard to quantify. Yet, that shouldn’t diminish the value.

What do you think? How do you convey the value you deliver, even when it’s hard to quantify?


Photo credit: aussiegall

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