Measuring the impact of PR has always been a tricky one. Employers and agencies that I've worked with over the years have counted the number of press briefings, reach, tier one coverage, articles with a mention in the headline or quote, share of voice or even the dreaded advertising equivalent but nothing really helps to truly sell the success of a PR programme - or give you an inckling of your ROI. Sales and marketing are pushing for more tangible results but has anyone found a silver bullet?
I completely agree that the digital world today allows us to better asses results from PR, combined with more insight into leads generated through social media. There are a lot of helpful technologies available but I've definitely not found any silver bullet.
Then I came across this article where the founder of a PR software company says that if your agency is using excel, then you have a problem. I thought I'd check out her software with all the promises I read about. To me, the tool is nothing more than an online planning tool that includes the same formula as excel. No new exciting ways to measure PR. Gutted.
Conclusion - the debate on how to measure the impact of PR will continue. In the meantime, put some basic benchmarks in place to track your own campaigns, track everything digital and remember to focus on the results that demonstrate how PR is driving leads and supporting sales.
Ask your agency what tools they use, and if they lead with spreadsheets, you know you have a problem. The rise of great tools on the market has made measuring and reporting easier and more accurate, with an unprecedented level of detail in the data available.