Katie Delahaye Paine urged attendees at PRSA-NCC’s March 19th Traditional and Social Media Workshop to be ‘data informed, not data driven.’ In other words, she emphasized the importance of measuring what matters most to your organization. To do so, she said, it is important to make a strong connection between what we do in PR to over-arching business objectives.

Goals must be clearly defined upfront to ensure that results will be meaningful to senior management. Impact and value will always be dependent on organizational objectives. It may be helpful to engage in a vision exercise with senior leadership by asking them to ‘define their champagne moment,’ as in describing the ultimate success that the organization is trying to achieve.

It is critical for public relations professionals to be focused on return on investment, and the return must always be a financial outcome. In fact, Delahaye Paine referred ┬áto financial results as the ‘iron dome’ of success.

Furthermore, it is important to remember that impressions are not awareness, according to Delahaye Paine. She went on to warn that most metrics measure likelihood of virality as opposed to genuine influence. Social media can provide beneficial metrics, since audiences that engage with your content naturally have awareness of the content.

Delahaye Paine also advised choosing tools carefully, and said that it is not possible to compare metrics across multiple platforms, noting ‘use one or none.’ She went on to emphasize that research goals should be used to get senior leadership on board with activities, and sharing research goals with the broader team will help encourage everyone to fall in line.

Finally, Delahaye Paine recommended arming yourself with a “Kick Butt Index” that is readily available, actionable and improves processes. KBI should include measures of tonality, messaging, quotes, dominance and visibility.

(This post is based on a post by PRSA-NCC.)

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