Quick and simple techniques to start measuring your public relations programs and impress your boss.
by Katie Delahaye Paine and Bill Paarlberg
If you're reading this and you're not actually measuring your public relations programs yet, then the only New Year's resolution that really counts is for you to get started measuring. Which, as it turns out, is going to be a whole lot easier than those other resolutions you made a couple weeks ago and probably flunked out of already.
Measurement doesn't have to be a big deal. We've rounded up plenty of ways you can get started without spending much time or money at all. In fact, for several of our tips below, the service is free and the data gets delivered right to your in-box. Of course, if you want to get beyond the newbie stuff you might have to click around the Web some, do some reading, maybe break a sweat thinking about what your data means. (Relax -- that's a different article.)
Here is a baker's dozen of quick and painless techniques to get something started.
1. Get with Google:
- Sign up for Google Alerts for your organization or brand, and for at least three of your competitors or peers. Then tell your boss you have installed a crisis alert monitoring system.
- Put Google Analytics on every website that you control. (Yeah, the instructions need a serious usability makeover, but once you get the code, you just paste it into all your pages. Cake.) Then tell your boss you don't need no stinking WebTrends. (Actually, you probably do need WebTrends if you have to do advanced analyses -- it's much more robust and customizable -- but we're talking quick and easy here.)
2. Time for Twitter:
- Go ahead and get yourself on Twitter. See what it's all about, in 140 characters or less.
- And even if you don't want to start Tweeting yourself, you can still set up an RSS feed for a Twitter Search on your brand/s, your competition, and anything else you want to keep track of. Tell your boss you've implemented a Twitter monitoring system.
- And for you heavy Twitter users, see how influential you -- or your boss -- is on Twitter: Go to www.twinfluence.com.
3. Educate yourself:
- Stay on top of social media every day, with a click or two: socialmediabiz.com will send you daily email updates.
- Get to know the Institute for Public Relations website, especially the research and papers on measurement.
- Check out any of the numerous YouTube videos that talk about how to measure public relations and Social Media, (especially, in all modesty, the ones that feature our Ms. Paine).
- Read Katie Delahaye Paine's book How to Measure Public Relationships. OK, it's not free, but measurement gurus got to make a living. And it's the best $29.95 you'll ever spend on measurement. Click here to buy it now.
4. New media meets old school:
- Set up a free Survey Monkey account and start surveying your constituencies.
- Back to basics: Use Survey Monkey to measure your relationships. Send out a survey to assess the level of trust, commitment and satisfaction they feel about your brand.
5. More easy online stats:
- Get yourself a Facebook account and, at least once a week, conduct searches on your brand and your competition. Then tell your boss you are monitoring Facebook. (For more on measuring Facebook, see "Measuring Community on Social Networking Sites: A detailed how-to guide for measuring MySpace and Facebook.")
- Go to www.xinureturns.com and see how your URLs stack up.
- Go to www.compete.com and see how you stack up against the competition.
- Go to kineda.com and use their widget to see how your "bloglebrity status" ranks.
6. All together now:
- Now put together your own dashboard. Whatever metrics from above you actually have, put them in an Excel spread sheet and set up Key Performance Indicators. Repeat monthly. Progress confidently toward success.