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August 31, 2010
Measuring Sharpens Objectives
It's amazing the information and guidance you can find on the Web. Craig Pierce on the Public Relations and Managing Reputation blog,  for example, provides practically a course -- certainly material worth careful study and absorption -- on PR strategy and techniques. Recently he's done a couple of interviews with Angela Sinickas, owner of Sinickas Communications, Inc., on measurement issues important to PR.

Sinickas feels "the lack of consistently applied, and business-relevant, KPI (Key Performance Indicators) development and utilisation is a key factor in holding back PR from sitting at the executive leadership table." In other words, we're not measuring well enough in setting objectives and gauging results for clients.

It may be different in your shop, but measurement is skimpy enough in enough places to pay heed to what Pierce and Sinickas are saying. 

"Marketing has been doing audience research forever—they take the time to figure out in advance what would motivate people to take the desired behaviors, and they use a variety of measurement techniques afterward to validate what works best.

"PR rarely does research before developing campaigns and measures mostly useless stuff like clips and hits and AVE—if they measure anything at all. What marketing can learn from PR is the art of the soft sell, the long sell."  

Yes, public relations is about relationships -- but building relationships efficiently these days, especially in social media -- requires well-researched understanding of prospective audiences and achievable objectives. 

And relationships, says Sinickas aren't established for their own sake, but to advance business objectives, like:

keeping shareholders loyal
• keeping their share prices high
• attracting better qualified job candidates and keep them productively delivering results longer before leaving for a competitor
being able to charge higher prices for what are essentially commodities
• getting happy customers to convince non-customers to try the company’s products, etc.

In short, set specific objectives achievable from well-researched, targeted audiences. 

Read Pierce and Sinickas firsthand to gain further insights into sharpening your practice, but stay continually mindful that there is, and needs to be, rigor to their madness.

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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