Measuring PR performance relies on proper benchmarking

PR Measurement

We’ve talked long and hard about the importance of measuring PR properly, not least within the context of retaining marketing budgets and proving worth. But how do you actually go about measuring PR in a way that makes sense?

We’ve got one word for you— benchmarking. Not sure what it means? Basically, it’s the process of putting your business up against others to assess how well you are doing. It can apply to any are of the company, from customer service to new product launches. A common practice, nevertheless many firms are getting it wrong.

Forget your personal vendettas and market leaders

That is unless those personal vendettas and market leaders offer logical comparisons. When you’re looking at benchmarking it’s vital to be realistic about who you should be looking at. A small start-up can rarely consider its social media ripe for comparison against a multinational, for example.

It all comes down to sensible metrics that make sense for your brand, and where you want that brand to go. Working out a logical competitive benchmark strategy is therefore an essential first step to learning your strengths and weaknesses, and getting signposted to ideas that can help you stand out.

Benchmarking and PR measurement

You need to consider which companies are similar in size, revenue and target consumer market, especially when it comes to PR measurement. And it’s also important to know your own brand’s PR and marketing output inside and out.

If we use social as an example again, content performance is a very useful and relatively simple metric to look at. Monitor your own social media and blog posts, track which are working best, and look to the suitable competitors you have shortlisted. Is their content doing better? If so, why?

There’s plenty of software out there that can analyse what’s shared by other companies, meaning this doesn’t have to be a laborious task. Take a look at BuzzSumo, Sprout or Keyhole to get you started.

Timing is everything

If content performance based on likes and shares is an obvious starting point for PR measurement based on competitor benchmarking, then timing and frequency is the next step.

There are scores of tools out there that can show you the best days and times for sharing content based on your sector, but that will only be a guide. In your locality the ideal times could be different, so don’t forget to look at when rival companies are most active online.

Cutting to the chase, consider all your benchmarks for PR measurement to work

We could waffle on (and on) about the metrics you need to look at. That list would include content type, engagement rate, growth, sentiment and share of voice. But by now all that should be pretty obvious, so let’s get to the point.

Each of these metrics will differ in relevance to your brand, and so to master PR measurement prioritise them and prioritise your benchmarks. Focus on rivals that are most similar, and the numbers that are best suited to whatever destination you want your business to reach.

Read our guide to earned media