Working Magic with (PR) Measurement


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There is no magic wand for the perfect solution to public relations measurement. But with some smart thinking and creative solutions, we can weave magic with smart measurement that shows how public relations is helping to achieve business objectives.

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  • Working Magic with Measurement is the title of Shonali Burke’s presentation at the 2012 PRSA International Conference, held in San Francisco, on October 16. She tweets as @shonali and is Vice President, Digital Media & Marketing at MSL Washington DC.
  • A cartoon from HubSpot’s Flickr stream that shows a huge billboard for a gift shop… that is 320 miles in the wrong direction from the shop. No wonder it’s not getting the gift shop any new customers, which is what the cartoon depicts.
  • An image of “putting the cart before the horse” perfectly encompasses the primary problem with public relations measurement: if we don’t focus on outcomes, then our strategies are hit and miss.
  • There is no magic solution to public relations measurement. It takes time and hard work.
  • The two main questions you should ask yourself are: What are you trying to do? Why is it important?
  • In his book “Social Media Metrics,” Jim Sterne says there are three things all companies try to do: raise revenue, lower costs, or improve customer satisfaction. Those are the kinds of business outcomes we should try to tie our communication programs too.
  • Three steps to smart measurement are: listen, analyze and then implement & improve.
  • The first case study looks at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s first-ever OutwinBoochever Portrait Competition, in 2005-2006.
  • To test the creative concepts being developed, we decided to do focus groups with the Gallery’s target audiences. With a small budget, we were creative in our approach, using a home video camera, the DC area’s abundance of universities & art galleries to recruit participants, and our own space/a colleague as the moderator.
  • Listening made a great difference to the campaign. It influenced creative, messaging and the media buy.
  • The Blue Key campaign was launched by USA for UNHCR, a 501c3 organization that raises funds and awareness around refugee issues in the United States. The symbol of the campaign was a $5 “blue key” pin or pendant that people could buy from their website, and wear or share to show their support for the cause.
  • The campaign’s goal was to sell 6,000 blue keys by Dec. 31, 2012. More than a fundraising tactic, it was a tactic to build the organization’s email list and potential long-term donor base.
  • The digital strategy focused on bringing cause-passionate bloggers, who had engaged communities in social networks, on board as “Blue Key Champions.” They agreed to buy a $5 key and share the organization’s/refugees’ story with their communities (and were completely volunteer).
  • The Blue Key Champions were critical to spreading the word of the campaign via social media. They also gave rise to events such as “tweetathons,” which were significant drivers of traffic and key purchases.
  • Keeping an eye on tracking URLs built via Google Analytics, we could tell which tactics were having the most impact.
  • Because we kept an eye on both outputs and outcomes, consistent monitoring and measurement helped shape the campaign strategy and achieve its goal.
  • For International Women’s Day 2012, Oxfam America wanted to spread awareness of its work to empower women across the world, particularly in developing regions, to fight hunger and poverty.
  • What: to get the word out about Oxfam America’s work empowering women around the world. Why: to build its eCommunity. How: blogger outreach promoting the sending of IWD eCards and giving a personalized eAward to a woman who’s made a difference in her community.
  • Multi-pronged blogger outreach secured coverage of the campaign on blogs as diverse as Beth Kanter’s nonprofit blog as well as other nonprofit blogs like Socialbrite, as well as blogs that cater to women and mommy bloggers, such as the Lipstick Economy and Mom Bloggers for Social Good.
  • So once you measure, then what do you do?
  • Use the hub and spoke method when you start planning; begin at the end and direct everything back from your social platforms to one “hub.”
  • Don’t get lost in the abundance of tools out there. Use the right tools for what you need to measure, and only those.
  • Even if you don’t have a big budget, smart use of Google Analytics and Excel can help you track and understand how your campaign is working.
  • Try to make a correlation between the work you are doing and the outcomes that make sense for your business or client.
  • Three books you must read are: Social Media Metrics by Jim Sterne, Measuring the Networked Nonprofit by Beth Kanter and Katie Paine, and Optimize by Lee Odden.
  • Working Magic with (PR) Measurement

    1. 1. Image: duckunix via Flickr (CC) Presented at the PRSA 2012 International Conference October 16, 2012, San Francisco #prsaicon Shonali Burke, ABC (@shonali) #measurepr MSL Washington DC
    2. 2. Cartoon: HubSpot via Flickr (CC)
    3. 3. Image: Jim Miles via Flickr (CC)
    4. 4. Image: argbx via Flickr (CC)
    5. 5. Image:
    6. 6. Raise revenue ImproveLower customer costs satisfactionCredit: “Social Media Metrics,” Jim Sterne (@jimsterne)
    7. 7. … when impressions are the be-all & end-all … “AVE” – gasp, shudder and barf … anyone remember “research”? … not quantifiable or time bound … not focusing on what we’re trying to achieve … not using measurement to inform decisions … not tying it to business outcomesImage: Matti Mattila via Flickr (CC)
    8. 8. Image: shareski via Flickr (CC) Image: Dave Dugdale via Flickr (CC) Image: adesigna via Flickr (CC)
    9. 9. The Case of the Portrait Artists Smithsonian’s National Portrait GalleryFirst-ever OutwinBoochever Portrait Competition (2005-2006) Used with permission from the National Portrait Gallery
    10. 10. What Was the Problem?• Perceived as outdated• Lack of connection• Portraiture not “cool” or “hip”• Aimed to reach emerging & mid-career artists• 2,000 entries to be viableUsed with permission from the National Portrait Gallery, image via Tim Caynes Flickrstream (CC)
    11. 11. Image: saaby, Flickr (CC)
    12. 12. Listening Made a Difference• Media outreach• Media buy• Direct mail• “Portrait of an Artist”Used with permission from the National Portrait Gallery
    13. 13. Results• Changed creative• Impacted tactics & collateral• Influenced media buy• Influenced media outreach• Net-net: 4,000+ entries (double goal) Used with permission from the National Portrait Gallery
    14. 14. The Case of the Blue KeyUsed with permission from USA for UNHCR
    15. 15. Goal: 6,000 Keys by Dec. 31, 2012Used with permission from USA for UNHCR
    16. 16. Bloggers aka Blue Key Champions Tracking links were key (no pun intended) … as well as from Facebook, Twitter, email newsletters, blog, etc…Used with permission from USA for UNHCR
    17. 17. June tweetathon:•258 people/1,524 tweets with #bluekey• 169% increase in web traffic• led to >50% of key purchases that weekUsed with permission from USA for UNHCR
    18. 18. Analytics Tell Stories… Overall Traffic Campaign TrafficUsed with permission from USA for UNHCR
    19. 19. … and Measurement Shapes Strategythe more you tell people what you’re trying June tweetathon: 66 keys purchased to do (and how you’re measuring)… Sept. tweetathon: 49 keys purchased Oct. tweetathon: 53 keys purchased Nov. tweetathon: 159 keys purchased! the more they will try to help you get there! Used with permission from USA for UNHCR
    20. 20. The Case of the Unempowered Women Used with permission from Oxfam America
    21. 21. The Core of the CampaignUsed with permission from Oxfam America
    22. 22. Multi-Pronged Outreach & Coverage
    23. 23. ResultseAward downloaded approx. >5K recipients got >2K eCards1K times (March 7-10) Oxfam America secured 752 new constituents via eCards (compared to 261 in 2011 for a similar initiative) Used with permission from Oxfam America
    24. 24. … and More Results (thank you, Bloggers!) 14.86% search traffic 38.35% email traffic 46.61% referral traffic, with 31.73% from external sites Used with permission from Oxfam America Of Note: 14 of 42 blog posts secured were among the top 28 (>5 visits) traffic sources… that’s half! Strong correlation between blog posts publishing and search traffic, particularly for keywords “international women’s day ecards,” “international women’s day ecard,” “women’s day ecard,” etc.
    25. 25. Image: Samuel Maycock, Flickr (CC)
    26. 26. Step 1: Begin at the EndWhere do you want people togo? A website? A landing page?And what needs to happen? Direct people from your social outposts to your hub Image: stacyjclinton via Flickr, CC
    27. 27. Image: Wonderlane via Flickr, CC
    28. 28. Image: edenpictures via Flickr (CC) Step 3: Track Track Track!
    29. 29. Image: Collin Anderson via Flickr(CC)
    30. 30. Tie It TogetherCourtesy: KD Paine & Partners
    31. 31. Three Books You Must Read@jimsterne @kanter @kdpaine @leeodden
    32. 32. A Few Resources•••••••••••• Bi-weekly #measurePR Twitter chat (every other Tues; 12-1 pm ET)• measurement/measurePR categories• Image: FateDenied via Flickr (CC)
    33. 33. Questions? Image: Håkan Dahlström via Flickr(CC) @shonali Thank you!