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Set Yourself Up for Measurement & Reporting Success in 2021

Good­bye (and in many ways, good rid­dance!) to 2020 – and hel­lo, 2021! The chal­lenges that came our way in 2020 may have cre­at­ed some chaos and con­fu­sion, but they also pro­vid­ed oppor­tu­ni­ties and shed light on areas that could use fine-tuning.

The start of a new year is the per­fect time to take a look at your organization’s cur­rent prac­tices and process­es and make adjust­ments as need­ed to set your­self up for suc­cess. Mea­sure­ment and report­ing might be one of those areas for a lot of orga­ni­za­tions – par­tic­u­lar­ly in the lan­guage-dri­ven (and some­times num­ber-averse!) world of pub­lic rela­tions and communications.

As Bell­mont Part­ners’ Data + Insights Lead, I’ll be spend­ing the first weeks of the year eval­u­at­ing our cur­rent client mon­i­tor­ing, mea­sure­ment and report­ing process­es to iden­ti­fy ways to enhance, aug­ment and/or stream­line our efforts to deliv­er high-qual­i­ty met­rics and insights through­out the year. For exam­ple, we’re excit­ed to be migrat­ing to an enhanced ver­sion of our cur­rent CISION media mon­i­tor­ing plat­form that we antic­i­pate will bring new insights and val­ue to our clients.

Here are some sug­ges­tions for where to start review­ing and adjust­ing your mea­sure­ment and report­ing processes.

Mon­i­tor­ing & Measurement 

I rec­om­mend first tak­ing a hard look at the source of what you’re track­ing – how are you mon­i­tor­ing earned media cov­er­age, bylined arti­cle place­ments, blog post or web­site per­for­mance, etc.? As Marie Kon­do might say, does it spark joy?

If not, how can you make it bet­ter? Here are some ques­tions to ask yourself:

  • How are we mon­i­tor­ing for cov­er­age? Are clips slip­ping through the cracks, and if so, how can we bet­ter track them?
  • Are there per­for­mance met­rics we’d love to have, that we just can’t seem to get a hold of?
  • What needs to change in order to enhance how we’re track­ing and mea­sur­ing activities?
  • Are there cur­rent­ly man­u­al process­es that we could auto­mate, or make sim­pler by cre­at­ing a template?

Address­ing any issues that arise from these ques­tions could be as sim­ple as adjust­ing your key­word search­es with­in a media mon­i­tor­ing plat­form like CISION or Melt­wa­ter, or per­haps you need to ask oth­er depart­ments to start track­ing new met­rics you can include in a report. Or, if mon­i­tor­ing and mea­sur­ing activ­i­ties is too over­whelm­ing for one per­son to tack­le, per­haps you need the sup­port of anoth­er team mem­ber or agency to help take some of the load off.

The first month of the year is also the per­fect time to eval­u­ate what met­rics you’re track­ing, in order to get a full pic­ture of any new results by the end of Decem­ber. Num­bers of clips and poten­tial audi­ence are great basic met­rics to track, but there may be addi­tion­al met­rics you could bench­mark and begin track­ing in 2021, such as web traf­fic and user demo­graph­ics, phone calls, SEO scores and con­tact form fills.

Report­ing

You’ve col­lect­ed the data; now what to do with it? Although report­ing is tied close­ly to mon­i­tor­ing and mea­sure­ment, it can be a sep­a­rate tac­tic unto itself. Again, start by eval­u­at­ing your cur­rent practices:

  • How fre­quent­ly are we prepar­ing reports?
  • Are our reports visu­al­ly friendly?
  • Who is receiv­ing the reports? Do they actu­al­ly read and respond to them, and if not, what could be altered to gain their clos­er interest?

Many of our clients request month­ly reports, but if the met­rics you’re track­ing are more dynam­ic, such as web traf­fic, you may want to con­sid­er more fre­quent reports, or set­ting up a real-time results dash­board. Or, per­haps your orga­ni­za­tion only needs quar­ter­ly reports – there is no one per­fect solu­tion for every com­pa­ny or indus­try, so the begin­ning of the year is a great time to review and adjust as needed.

Jan­u­ary is also a good time to review your organization’s best prac­tices around report­ing in order to stay con­sis­tent through­out the year. If you use mul­ti­ple mon­i­tor­ing plat­forms to pro­vide met­rics, do they report the same audi­ence num­bers, or do they vary? Or, are you track­ing out­dat­ed met­rics such as ad equiv­a­len­cy, pub­lic­i­ty val­ue or cal­cu­lat­ed impressions?

At Bell­mont Part­ners, we aim to keep data con­sis­ten­cy at the fore­front of report­ing, in order to ensure accu­ra­cy. As an agency best prac­tice, we have elim­i­nat­ed ad equiv­a­len­cy, pub­lic­i­ty val­ue and mul­ti­ply­ing audi­ence num­bers to get “impres­sions.” These van­i­ty met­rics are noto­ri­ous­ly incon­sis­tent, and pumped up num­bers for vanity’s sake aren’t pro­vid­ing an accu­rate pic­ture of performance.

One last area for con­sid­er­a­tion is updat­ing or adding the types of qual­i­ta­tive data you’re report­ing, such as analy­sis of earned media or anec­do­tal infor­ma­tion like cus­tomer com­ments, rec­om­men­da­tions for next steps or sum­maries of what worked and what didn’t through­out a cam­paign. These con­tex­tu­al obser­va­tions and rec­om­men­da­tions pro­vide valu­able insights for future work and can help avoid pit­falls, or enhance efforts, mov­ing forward.

In Review

Mon­i­tor­ing and report­ing don’t have to be a headache. I chal­lenge you to ring in the new year by resolv­ing to eval­u­ate and adjust your process­es to put your best foot for­ward in 2021.

As always, if you have any ques­tions or just want to geek out with me about mea­sure­ment, I’m hap­py to chat; drop me a line at johanna@bellmontpartners.com.

 

 

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