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Your company’s reputation is everything, but how do you quantify it? PR is about relationships, narratives, and sentiment—things that can’t easily be reduced to numbers.

And yet, measuring PR performance is crucial to know where your company stands. How do you do it accurately?

Examine the metrics you’re already using. Do you get hung up on numbers like page views, comments, followers, and placements? These purely quantitative metrics can be helpful, but too many firms rely on them disproportionately, simply because they’re easy to measure.

There’s nothing wrong with charts and graphs. Just make sure that these tools are helping you gain insight into your company, rather than existing for the sake of having them.

Look Deeper

There are many ways you can document your company’s interactions with the public. You can count the number of times you’ve been mentioned in the media, but you can also look at the number of positive and negative mentions. Looking at conversions and conducting interviews and focus groups can also give a more holistic measure of sentiment.

Focus on your Goals

What are your company’s priorities? What does it hope to achieve in any PR endeavor? Decide these first, and then see how the numbers connect to the actual achievements. If your company is doing well on paper but not when it comes to tangible progress, you need to find a new way of defining success.

Measuring PR isn’t about filling spreadsheets with ink and calling it a day. It’s about understanding the hidden determinants of a successful relationship, which are easy to lose sight of when you only look at selected numbers.