In PR land, end of year reporting typically involves a review of media coverage, analysis of the various interviews and briefings that took place, assessment of significant campaigns, comparison of this year’s performance against the previous year, a general review of the teams and agencies that supported these initiatives, and planning for the upcoming year.
I work with Factiva’s regional marketing teams and PR agencies in the UK, Europe, Asia and Australia, and having now seen the bulk of end-of-year reports for each market, it struck me that PR agencies, and indeed, we PR types still revert to the traditional ways of measuring PR performance; with number of clips and their percentage in Tier 1 print publications still being a huge component of any year-end report.
We acknowledge that broadcast or print features that detail our vision and quote our spokespeople are worth more in PR value than mere name mentions of the company and our products. And then there is the perennial debate about whether print coverage is more valuable in PR terms than online coverage. Of course – the value of various pieces of coverage will differ for every company, depending on the business, marketing and PR objectives.
It was more interesting to observe though, that in a day of discussing this year’s PR activities, not one of the agencies or Factiva teams commented about our coverage in the blogosphere. To be fair – we didn’t ask the agencies to monitor references to Factiva in the blogosphere – we have the tools to do it in-house, but…
Alan Scott, Factiva’s CMO, for example, was quoted throughout the blogosphere in relation to the recent Sony “rootkit” crisis. Alan was originally quoted in an Information Week
article, but his quote that blogs are changing the rules by which we live, was picked up by a number of blogs including PR Blog Watch
In this new world of corporate and individual communications, will a positive quote on a blog like this be more valuable than a hit in PR Week or on BrandRepublic.com? We’re still debating this issue internally ourselves, because we need to understand which blogs and bloggers will emerge as the most influential – but we acknowledge that we can’t ignore blogs either. And I have no doubt that PR teams in many organisations are pondering the same issue – how to monitor blogs, how to find the ones that matter, how to report on PR or marketing activities that pro-actively target blogs, and how to assess the value of coverage in blogs against coverage in mainstream media or “credible” online publications.
In 2006, we will include in our monthly board report, stats about Factiva’s coverage in the blogs from Factiva Insight: Reputation Intelligence
– alongside our coverage in the mainstream print and online media.
We don't yet know how these new metrics will pan out, but like the old adage says, "if you can't measure it, you can't manage it".
Indeed the rules of PR are changing!