Measuring the Effectiveness of B2B PR (Part Three of Three)
By Benjamin Gorelick on May 11, 2012 - 1:22pm
As promised, below you’ll find some details on some of the most salient variables that PR agencies can use to weight a measurement index which uses media costs as its base.
In the business of PR, our products are messages – and our success hinges on how well we deliver them. Staying on message is critical, so it stands to reason that message accuracy should help weight our index.
In another paper published by the IPR, David Michaelson and Toni Griffin claim that one of the two critical flaws of traditional PR measurement is not determining message accuracy. They offer a framework for constructing a weighting for accuracy that considers four aspects of the message:
· Accurate facts
· Inaccurate facts
· Deceptive or misleading facts
· Omitted facts
Devising a way to score message accuracy using this framework, – keeping the objectives and outcomes in mind – adds an important dimension to the index, and also helps the agency to monitor its success at staying on message with outlets it works with.
It falls to the agency to decide how to identify and score their outputs along these lines, but as long as the method is consistently applied, your index will benefit.
Sentiment analysis is not new, but research has shown that using the tone of a media output (in reference to a particular objective) as a weighting variable for a WMC index produces stronger correlations to business outcomes than tone-refined story counts or impressions.
There are a few ways to go about creating a tone score for media outputs. If you’re adventurous, you can try using tone and sentiment analysis algorithms. Otherwise, assigning outputs a score based on a scale (like 0 — 10, or -5 — 5) will help you produce a normalized score to weight your index.
Remember, there is no right or wrong answer to this; but keep in mind your communications outcomes when thinking about the tone of an output — i.e. how is the sentiment likely to impact the outtakes that we’re looking for?
It would be wonderful if your client and their product, or issue, were the central focus of every story, every time. But businesses have competitors, and differentiating themselves from the others often underlies a client’s motivation to hire an agency to begin with.
That’s why it’s really important that you and your client’s picture of your media activity be focused through the lens of competitive analysis.
Since it is impractical to scan every story everywhere pertaining to your client’s market, or the multitude of firms whose business impacts it, a good place to start is with the relative share of discussion that you ‘own’ in a given output.
Developing a metric or score for this share, and using it to weight your index is another example of the fine-tuning that can really produce results, and show strong correlations between media activity and client outcomes with time.
Ben is an Account Executive at Spector & Associates. He specializes in technology, and is particularly interested in renewable energy and tech entrepreneurship. He has prior work experience in public policy and market research, including time spent working at the UK Department for International Development. Ben holds a Bachelor's Degree in economics and politics from Brandeis University. He can be reached at email@example.com.