Decades ago, the way PR was traditionally measured involved measuring the size of a piece of coverage in a newspaper or magazine and working out the cost in column inches of running an advert in that space in order to define its value.
In today’s world, AVE (Advertising Value Equivalent) is simply no longer relevant.
Times have changed and thankfully technology has since come to the rescue. Not only has the internet completely changed our perceptions of the value of PR, there are also many online platforms that can help to establish the true impact delivered by PR.
One of the key arguments against AVE has always been that PR is not advertising and as such should not be directly compared with it. AVE does not care about tone, audience, reach, quality or lasting effects for example. What’s more, how would you even begin measuring the AVE of any impact you have via social media?
So what can we do?
Well, with PR the ‘value’ of coverage can mean many different things. At Essential we have discovered several ways to better understand and report the coverage we achieve than simply working out the AVE.
For starters, we use the CoverageBook platform as a nice visual way to share our coverage with clients and to give them some meaningful data on estimated reach, circulation and social shares. It’s updated in real time as well which means clients can see their social engagement growing.
As well as further reporting on social sharing and mentions, we also track traffic to our clients’ websites as a result of both press coverage and social media as this is a good indicator that the story has attracted interest from the target readership who are keen to learn more from the initial piece of coverage they’ve read. We also feel that obtaining coverage in the most relevant target media, journalist or blogger for a client should be considered as more valuable to the client, especially as the target media outlet may not write about their specific area that frequently.
We also place great importance on our relationships with media outlets and their journalists. We send personal emails with relevant stories rather than spamming them and always respond quickly to their requests for comment or help as we know they’re often chasing a deadline. We also carefully monitor our key journalists’ requests that they put out on social media and via other response platforms and reply to them directly via the same channel whenever we can help them.
Sometimes the value of our PR work is in capturing the attention of a key reporter that to date hasn’t covered the client. We know that a simple mention in one article can open up the door to an interview or feature piece via that same journalist in the future. In the case of freelance journalists, we may be opening many doors as they often write for a number of titles.
You can already see that measuring value is a complex task, but in a digital world these new methods can actually give a clear view of the impact of PR work. Not only that, but these new techniques give you better understanding of how to develop and refine your messaging to ensure future success.
If you feel like you’re not achieving value from your PR efforts or your agency are still giving you AVE metrics then get in touch and let’s talk!