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Implementing 3 Important Media Metrics for PR (Spoiler: None Are AVE)

“So, what are the primary public relations metrics I need to know?”
PR Measurement Service Coverage Over Time

I am asked this question a lot when clients first partner with Universal for their media measurement. They want to know what the primary metrics are they should be looking for within their media coverage. The honest answer is, it really depends on what goals they have in mind or their ultimate objectives. That said, there are three metrics that come up again and again: key messages, message tone, and share of voice. These three metrics are very common but should only be used when your objectives warrant their use.

We did not entertain the AVE (advertising value equivalent) metric in this post because it is not a PR metric, but still too often used to compare one result relative to another.

Key messages: How well are your key concepts tracking across the media types within your campaign?

You spend days, weeks, or even months crafting messages. Are the messages you’re putting out the ones that are showing up in the media, or are they getting lost in the story?

Implementation of information: With insights derived from measuring your media results, you can adeptly change your messages to incorporate the verbiage your consumers/audience are using to gain better traction with your messages.

Is your catchphrase catching on? If not, it might be time to huddle up and talk about taking a different approach. Knowing how the conversation is moving and shifting can help you stay ahead of the curve by putting your message out there in a way that fits in today’s narrative and resonates with your key audience.


Message tone: It’s not just what’s being said, but HOW it’s being said.

Is it positive? Negative? Do stories about your organization or business convey joy? Anger? Fear? Confidence? Mistrust? What feeling does the target audience take away once your message is consumed?

Implementation of information: Understanding the way people are talking about you allows you to get ahead of any potentially negative situations and modify the narrative in a more positive way, relative to your objectives.

It may also draw your attention to problems that your competitors’ clients may be having, thus offering you the opportunity to step in, fill a need, and gain a new customer.

Finally, this information tells you if your messages or stories need revision. What you see as caring could come off as pompous. Or a story you find inspiring, others may see as condescending.

Tracking tone allows you to see exactly how you are being viewed by your customers, thereby giving you the opportunity to meet or exceed their expectations by potentially taking another, more effective direction with your media efforts.


Share of voice: Compared to others, how well are your targeted messages generating anticipated outcomes?

How do you rate compared to your competitors? Which brands, companies, or services are people talking about via social media? If that’s you, your company, or your product, that’s awesome. But if it isn’t, then there’s value in knowing what your competitors are doing that you’re not.

Implementation of information: Once you can see the conversation, you can figure out ways to add your voice by either changing your messaging or by offering something your competitors haven’t so far.

Watching what other companies are doing successfully in terms of their branding or key messages, can help you understand what your customers or clients are looking for regarding your product or service.

For example, if you’re a dog groomer and you’re wanting to get more clients, maybe you monitor social media to find out that people really like the idea of a nail trim with a dog grooming session. So presto, you add that in and the next thing you know, people are talking about YOUR business being the go-to place for groovy mutt cuts.


“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” – Albert Einstein

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Cheril Lewis is Universal Information Services Director of Media Insight. Her team correlates PR efforts with outcomes, based on media exposure. Measuring the efforts of public relations is key to tuning campaigns and measuring effectiveness.
International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication | AMEC FIBEP Global Association

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