The New Rules for Measuring PR

While discussing the difficulties of measurement in public relations, my professor brought up the Barcelona Principles, a newly developed set of standards for PR measurement and evaluation that I had never heard of. The Barcelona Principles are a fairly recent development by the Institute for Public Relations (IPR), named so for the location of the 2nd European Summit on Measurement which took place back in 2010. The summit addressed the need for a clearer set of standards when measuring the results of public relations efforts.
They seem like important principles to know, particularly for up and coming PR practitioners. So if you too were unaware of this important new development in PR, check out my simplified guide to understanding the Barcelona Principles:
1. PR relies on goals and objectives. Well-set goals are vital. They should be quantitative in order to address who, what, when and how much influence a campaign has caused.
2. Media measurement requires both quantity AND quality. Consider this- would you rather get coverage in one article of the New York Times or ten in your best friend’s blog?
3. AVEs value of public relations. Advertising Value Equivalents measure the cost of media space, not necessarily the success of the message.
4. Social media can and should be measured. When measuring social media, it’s important to focus on communities and the kind of conversations they are having. This should also be enhanced with other methods like survey data or web analytics.
5. Outcomes are preferred to outputs. Outcomes help to understand the extent to which the PR plan has affected awareness, behavior or opinion. This is preferred to output, which is simply pieces like news releases, media tracking or research done.
6. Business/Organizational results can and should be measured. This measurement should take into consideration the effects of a PR campaign on sales, revenue and other business metrics.
7. Transparency and Replicability are paramount. For valid and accurate measurement, it should be done in a way that is both transparent and replicable.
Do you think these principles will help shape the way the public relations industry measures success? Let us know!

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