May 13, 2015 / by Erin Feldman

I loved Nancy Drew when I was a kid. I’d stay up past my bedtime, trying to read my latest mystery via the sliver of light that fell into my room from the hallway. She, Bess and George were my heroes. They were super sleuths.

No one paid them much attention, but they—Nancy, in particular—paid attention to everything. She always came out on top because she knew things, things that often got her into trouble but just as often saved the day.

What does Nancy have to teach us about PR measurement? Quite a bit. Consider these five tips and see if you agree.

1. Observe the world around you.

Your brand and its PR don’t exist in a vacuum. They’re part of an ecosystem.

It’s actually two ecosystems, the one internal to your organization and the one external. Internally, PR intersects with marketing, sales, production, upper management, et cetera.

The external ecosystem is even larger. There are global trends to follow. Seasons. Social networks. Competitor data.

It’s a lot of information, but pay attention to it. It’ll come in handy when it comes to measuring PR against program and business objectives.

2. Figure out how things relate.

PR Measurement Mysteries

Data is not the secret to being a super sleuth. It’s understanding how the different pieces connect and correlate. The greatest of mysteries can be unraveled once you’ve sorted out the threads.

Be careful here; correlation does not mean cause. Just because two pieces fit together doesn’t mean that one caused the other. Test them. Study them. Solve the mystery of how they work. Did your PR campaign really cause public sentiment to turn positive? Or was it a confluence of factors, one of which was PR?

3. Ask better questions.

Clues and data still don’t tell a story. Asking better questions of the two does. Better questions lead to better answers. And those answers drive more strategic decisions.

4. Determine which pieces are important.

Clearer Picture of Data

As you develop a clearer picture of the data and how things relate, you’ll discover some pieces aren’t as important as others. They’re outliers and have little to no statistical significance. Abandon them. They may come into play later, but there’s no point in giving them attention and resources if they aren’t meeting objectives.

Follow Nancy’s example. Not all of her clues panned out. That was okay. She knew better than to make them say something they didn’t. She left them. Then she tracked down the ones critical to the mystery.

5. Use the past to inform the future.

Nancy didn’t always succeed as a sleuth. She got caught all the time or accused the wrong person. Did she let the failures stop her? Not at all. She learned from them and bettered her game.

The same principle applies to PR measurement. You’ll fail at times. You’ll discover some prized effort really isn’t meeting required objectives. Don’t let the failure be final. Use it to improve efforts and measurement.

Prove the value of your PR with our Measurement Toolkit!

What do you think? Can we learn from Nancy and become PR measurement super sleuths?

Images: Carla216 (Creative Commons)

Tags : measurement

Most Recent Posts

Cision Blogs Topics

  • Communications Best Practices

    Get the latest updates on PR, communications and marketing best practices.

  • Cision Product News

    Keep up with everything Cision. Check here for the most current product news.

  • Executive Insights

    Thought leadership and communications strategy for the C-suite written by the C-suite.

  • Media Blog

    A blog for and about the media featuring trends, tips, tools, media moves and more.

About Erin Feldman

Erin Feldman is the director of editorial services at Tenacity5 Media. When she isn’t researching, writing, and editing blog posts and white papers, she writes poetry and essays, draws her favorite Write Right character, and plans what art form to study next. She’s based in Austin, Texas and can be found on Twitter @erinmfeldman.