5 steps for building a PR measurement framework




Accurately tracking PR coverage is crucial for PR and comms professionals to build strong campaigns and be able to demonstrate ROI. This guide highlights the role of PR measurements as the key to achieving this and effectively evaluating PR initiatives. We’ll walk you through five essential steps to construct a PR measurement framework that you can tailor to your specific goals. With this framework in place, you’ll be equipped to collect clear and accurate PR metrics and insights to showcase your ROI.


The challenges behind getting accurate insights

Before diving into PR measurement strategies and how to build a measurement framework, it’s important to first understand the challenges. Several factors make it difficult to obtain clear and accurate PR insights. Note that your keys to navigating these challenges are covered in the steps further below!


Difficulty in determining PR attributions: It can be challenging to attribute specific outcomes directly to PR activities. Especially in an environment where multiple factors contribute to overall performance.


Lack of standardised metrics: There is a lack of universally agreed-upon PR metrics and KPIs. Different organisations may prioritise different measures, making it harder to compare results across industries. And ultimately the metrics that will matter most to you will be unique to your goals.


Too many metrics across multiple channels: PR efforts are spread across various channels like social media, traditional media, online forums, and more. Each channel provides its own large sets of metrics, making it difficult to collect and connect data consistently.


Social media complexity: Social media platforms are like constantly bustling bee hives. Large volumes of activity are happening at high speeds, making it tough to keep up. This makes collecting and evaluating social media insights a challenge all on its own. On top of that, understanding how standard social media metrics such as engagement, reach, and sentiment translate into meaningful PR insights can be intricate.


Qualitative aspects: Some PR impacts are qualitative, such as brand sentiment, perception, and reputation. Quantifying these concepts as metrics can be difficult and subjective.


Overcoming the above challenges often involves a combination of robust data collection methods, the use of analytics tools, a thoughtful selection of relevant PR metrics, and a deep understanding of the industry and audience. Additionally, staying updated with best practices in PR measurement is crucial for achieving accurate insights.


As mentioned above, PR measurement is your key here. So now, we’ll dive into what exactly PR measurement entails and the steps to take to build a custom PR measurement framework!

What is PR measurement?


PR measurement is the process of tracking and evaluating the impact and effectiveness of PR efforts and activities. It’s achieved by regularly collecting and analysing PR metrics and KPIs for insights into PR campaigns, initiatives, and comms strategies.



PR measurement is essentially how you’ll learn important insights such as:

  1. Sentiment and its driving factors
  2. Influential voices and what interested them
  3. The traction of existing media outreach
  4. Conversations and topics that are engaging the media


It’s like putting together pieces of a puzzle to see the bigger picture of your PR success. With these insights, you can:


  1. Demonstrate value and ROI: Measurement helps quantify ROI by linking your PR activities to tangible outcomes like increased brand awareness, improved brand sentiment, or greater customer trust.
  2. Make data-driven decisions: By analysing PR metrics, your team can gain insights into what strategies are working and which may need adjustment. This is critical to inform future planning and optimise PR efforts with best practices.
  3. Gain a wider industry impact: Effective PR measurements give brands insights into what’s working and what’s not. This means they can adapt and stay ahead of industry trends, positioning themselves as leaders rather than followers. Additionally, they can learn where they’re making a positive impact and make it greater. Or learn where they’re missing potential impacts, and extend their reach.
  4. Optimise campaigns: Through measurement, PR professionals can identify which messages, channels, and tactics resonate most with their target audiences. These insights help refine comms strategies for better engagement and impact. Ultimately leading to optimised campaigns.


Some PR metrics you’ll want to track may include media mentions, reach and impressions, website traffic, social media engagement, sentiment analysis, and more. You’ll likely have large amounts of metrics and data to sift through, so you should focus on metrics that are unique to your specific PR objectives.


This is where a custom PR measurement framework comes in!


Establish a Measurement Framework


Establishing a PR measurement framework essentially gives your team a unique roadmap to keep your PR efforts and activities on the right path.

What is a measurement framework?

A measurement framework is a structured approach used to define, track, and evaluate the performance or effectiveness of a process or project. Or in our case, PR activities or campaigns. The framework you create will establish a set of metrics, KPIs, and a methodology for collecting, analysing, and interpreting data to assess progress towards your goals and objectives.


Follow the five steps below to build a measurement framework for your PR and comms strategy.


5 steps for building a measurement framework


1.Define clear objectives and goals:

To begin building your PR measurement framework, it’s important to set objectives. What are your goals for a specific campaign? These should be clear, specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). And they’ll be the targets or outcomes that your framework is designed to measure.

Once you know your objectives, you’ll have a better understanding of which metrics and KPIs you’ll need to focus on.


2.Select relevant metrics and KPIs:


This brings us to the next step: identifying the metrics and KPIs that align most closely with your objectives. These could encompass a range of factors such as conversion rates, social media mentions, or brand sentiment.


Given the multitude of available metrics, selecting the most relevant ones is vital. It helps to cut through the noise and zero in on what helps you gauge success the best. These metrics should be both measurable and directly related to the objectives you’ve outlined.


For example, if your campaign aims to improve brand perception, the relevant KPIs to set in your framework could include media mentions, sentiment analysis, and social media activity.


3.Establish data collection strategies:


Now it’s time to determine how and where you’ll collect the data needed to measure your metrics and KPIs. There are a few different considerations here to keep in mind when building this step into your framework:


  • Sources: When it comes to where you’re collecting data from, you may prefer sources like analytics platforms, surveys, reviews, media monitoring tools, etc. In terms of how you collect data, you can go about it manually, or leverage a helping hand from tech. We’d recommend the latter. Tools such as our insights and consultancy services use a unique blend of human intelligence and AI for the best of both worlds.


To sum up this phase, you’ll want to identify the sources which you’ll collect data from and your collection methods. This will ensure your data collection strategies stay reliable and consistent.


  • Data Analysis: In terms of how you’ll then analyse the collected data, you’ll want to outline what tools or methods you’ll use and how the results will be interpreted. Will you use a blend of human and tech? The insights and consultancy services we mentioned above will be a strong lever here.


Let’s think of the earlier scenario where your objective is to improve brand perception. Our insight teams use the power of AI tech to access and analyse large, unstructured datasets into valuable info. So you’ll gain a clear picture of how your brand perception is evolving across multiple media channels. All within a clear, single source.


  • Frequency and Timing: Once you’ve established methods for data analysis, you’ll want to define how often data will be collected and analysed. This can range from real-time monitoring to periodic assessments such as daily, weekly, or monthly. This is another area where you can lean on tech to automate the process.


  • Responsibilities and Roles: Finally, you’ll want to wrap this step up by clarifying who’s responsible for collecting, analysing, and reporting the data.


4.Set baselines and targets:


In the second to last step, you’ll set the realistic levels of performance and the desired benchmarks for each metric. This helps in determining whether performance matches your standards and goals.


So to continue building your framework, you need to establish baselines by collecting existing data. This serves as a point of reference for measuring progress. Then, set specific targets or benchmarks that you aim to achieve.


For example, if you want to improve brand perception, you may use social media metrics to set a benchmark. In this scenario, let’s say you currently have an average engagement rate of 3%. You can use this data as your baseline and set a target to double this rate to 6% within a year. This will indicate an increase in audience interaction and improved brand perception on your social platforms.


5.Reviewing and presenting the data:


In the last phase, you’ll set up methods for ongoing reviews and decide how to apply the insights gained. This is pivotal in refining your strategies for better campaign results.


On top of this, you’ll want to establish how to present the data to help showcase your strong ROI. So to wrap up your PR measurement framework, specify how the results should be communicated, to whom, and in what format (e.g., reports, dashboards, presentations).


This final step ultimately ensures you’re capitalising on all your hard work.