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Measuring Your PR Is Like Climbing Mt. Everest

The moment I mention the words “big data,” “PR” and “measurement,” the room quiets. Crickets. I think I probably could hear a pin drop if one were to. Sideways glances and shuffling of feet. A cough.

Mt. Everest - PR Measurement

It’s like we’re all at the base of Mt. Everest wondering how we’ll ever get to the summit. We’re surrounded by our tools and data, but not one of us wants to take the first step onto the slippery slope.

Have no fear; we’re all going to reach the summit this time.

Strap on your climbing gear.

Climbing Gear - PR Measurement

I’m no climber – I actually have a small fear of heights – but I know some people who climb rocks and ravines for the thrill of it. Their advice is much like any other adventurous sportsperson’s: check the gear.

Make sure everything’s in working order. The clamps lock. The rope isn’t frayed. The water bottles are filled. Snacks are in the pockets. Everything’s good to go.

The same holds true with measuring your PR. You’ll never get to the top if you don’t have the right gear. Even if you have the right gear, you have to make sure it’s in tip-top shape.

Just because the clamp worked for your friend doesn’t mean it’ll work for you. You climb differently than your friend. You have a different stride and a different path. You have to make sure your equipment – your monitoring, measurement, and analysis tools – are working at their best and that they’ve been personalized to your brand’s needs.

Ready yourself for the climb.

Climbing - PR Measurement

Rock climbers know they can’t just step onto a mountain and climb it. They have to prepare months ahead of time. They take practice runs and visit with other climbers. They drink their water and stick to a healthy, clean diet. They practice their breathing.

With PR data, you have to make it ready for measurement. Clean and filter it. Map timeframes together. Supply missing information. Gather data about activities and outcomes from pre- and post-events so that you can correlate the two.

You have your gear, and you’ve readied your data. Now you can make the climb.

Take one, small step.

Mount Everest Step - PR Measurement

I think most of us freeze at the base of the measurement Mt. Everest because of analysis paralysis. We’re overwhelmed by the task in front of us, or we’re afraid that we’ll do something wrong.

That, though, is why we work in teams and why we have safety ropes and harnesses. We can check each other’s work and make sure we’re not breathing oxygen-depleted air. It’s why we remember the summit but focus on the step in front of us. It’s the only way to keep ourselves from falling or blacking out on the snow-covered peak.

The thing to remember with measuring your data is that you don’t have to measure all of it at the outset. In fact, you may not ever analyze all your data. You don’t have the time, and some of the data just isn’t applicable to the outcomes you want to track.

Someone once said to keep things simple, and it’s sound advice for data and measurement. Start with one thing. Find a campaign that’s easy to track. Add an additional data source so that you better understand what the campaign is doing and how it’s affecting brand perception and audience sentiment.

Now repeat the process with other campaigns. Add other data streams as you feel comfortable or even as you don’t. Some parts of this climb will be more challenging than others, but you can complete them. Your past work proves it, and you’re ready. You’ve checked your measurement gear; you’ve cleaned your data; and you’re keeping your eye on the prize – the summit – while staying focused on the next step.

See you at the top!

Want even more tips for how to do PR measurement? Check out our free on-demand webinar now!

Images: b1st wang, dfinnecy (Creative Commons)

Tags : measurement

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.

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