PRIME Research PR Measurement & Evaluation Toolbox
We have a very limited budget but we’d like to go beyond counting clips. Can you suggest some simple, cost effective ways to demonstrate “quality media relations performance?”
One cost-effective but highly effective measure of media performance involves the qualification of coverage by media demographic. According to Gary Warrick of Ann Arbor-based PRIME Research, you might consider tabulating “target media mentions” along with “total media mentions” and work to improve the ratio over time. In essence, generating dozens of stories in media that do not reach the specified audience is the equivalent to dead air on the radio. Knowing which media reach the target audience allows PR professionals to efficiently pursue only those outlets with the highest potential impact. To site an extreme example, the introduction of a new limited edition, ultra-luxury sedan makes sense in publications like the Wall Street Journal, Fortune or Robb Report, whose readers can afford such a car, but may be less appropriate in college newspapers whose readers can not. A word of warning: “target media” are not always conventional choices: in one case we know, Martha Stewart Living had a higher penetration among luxury car buyers than did traditional targets such as Motor Trend or Car and Driver. Over time, prioritizing and managing to improve your ratio of target media placements will drive your PR and efficiency to even higher levels of performance.