By Austin Gaule, PR Measurement Director at Universal Information Services
Getting into the spirit of the global month of learning, my team at Universal Information Services has been planning our events to educate the masses on best practices for one to measure public relations and communication. I wanted to take a few minutes out of our hectic schedules to focus on one key issue I see year after year when organizations around the world celebrate Measurement Month.
That key issue being that we don’t place enough focus on educating college students during this global education month.
Not to put the company that I work for, Universal Information Services, on a pedestal, but every year when this month comes around, our focus turns to one key demographic: college students. As a company, we consistently visit class rooms to chat with students about media monitoring and measuring your results. We love to visit classes ranging from public relations to, business, to computer science. The past several years we have held our educational events at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and have had great feedback from the students who attend. This year we will change our host school to Creighton University and will continue to teach best practices when it comes to measuring earned media coverage.
We feel a responsibility to teach the PR professionals of tomorrow how to effectively measure earned media results. Furthermore, we want to push the agenda of AMEC since communication measurement is far more complex than simply measuring your earned media. PESO measurement is at the forefront of every conversation that our industry is having currently – so that is where we will place our focus this year, by lending our expertise in measuring earned media in conjunction with other aspects of the PESO model. If you’re not sure what the PESO model is, refer to this fantastic article from Rebekah Iliff of AirPR.
I guess I might be biased towards this specific topic since measurement wasn’t ingrained into my college curriculum as much as it should have been. Being only 3 years removed from my college experience, it is still fresh in my mind. Don’t get me wrong – we had a class that taught us on a very basic level how to understand social metrics and I learned a whole lot from that. But is that enough? Shouldn’t PR measurement be a part of your “Principles of Public Relations” courses? I think the answer is yes.
My college experience isn’t an isolated one either, college students across the board are not “measurement” ready when they come out of college. They come out of college fearful of measurement and often scoff at the idea of measuring any type of campaign. What kind of message are we sending to these students as an industry if we are continually educating each other and not the future of our industry?
PR Measurement Education
Don’t miss this point, educating within our industry is very important. If we are not constantly running ideas and best practices past each other, how can we grow professionally? Answer: we don’t. I’m simply suggesting that we all can do better when it comes to educating the future of our measurement industry. Sometimes that means rather than placing your brand at the head of a “major” event as a sponsor, you need to put your time and effort into the classroom where students so desperately need to be educated on these topics and issues that are relevant today.
Instead of continually educating our peers, we should share our focus with college students. I’d be interested to hear your comments on this topic. Hit the comment box and let’s discuss. You can find me on Twitter at @austinomaha and I always welcome conversation! Happy measurement month!