What’s A PR Score Worth?

At first glance, a “Campaign Performance Index Score” might seem esoteric. What does it really mean anyway? We apply a score to PR campaigns to help identify and benchmark performance over time. Knowing the winning attributes that best drive action from your audience, and having a numeric value assigned to them, can help you begin to recognize patterns of success, and in some cases, deconstruct campaigns that scored high vs campaigns that scored low. Data is just a set of numbers, what we do is help you recognize the information behind those numbers so you can repeat what’s working and pivot from what isn’t.

  • Why are baskets in basketball worth 2 within the line, and 3 outside of it?
  • Why is touchdown in football worth 6 and a field goal worth 3?
  • Who decided that tennis had scores of Love? 15-30…40?
  • Why is a credit score of 700 considered prime?

Like most of these units of measurement, the higher the score, the better. But what gets you a high score? If you “hit” on all the ideal values in a PR campaign (those that drive action and reach business goals), you know you’ve got a winning campaign. It’s equally important to understand what went wrong when a campaign scores lower and goals weren’t met.

“It doesn’t matter ultimately how many you lose by or what the game is like. You have to learn from it, move on.” - Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat

It’s all about establishing a baseline that helps you to better understand the game, identify winning configurations and track what’s happening so you can do more of what it takes to come out on top with ROI from your PR investments. That’s what we do for communications professionals and marketers - we provide a baseline score to understand at a minimum, what a “decent” score is and what a winning game looks like.

For example, it’s certainly nice to know if, after spending thousands of dollars to create messaging and branding, whether it is - or isn’t - driving any interest or action from your desired audience. It’s smart to analyze which company spokespersons are most effective at creating affinity with your brand (it isn’t always the CEO). It seems like awards are beneficial when you win – wow, look at that credibility! – but it’s also smart to understand the investment (how much have we spent on application fees?) vs the outcome (how many have we won and what have they done to drive business?). There is a lot to understand and learn about the ROI of PR programs - beyond awareness and buzz - that can help marketers prove their value (and keep or grow their budgets).

Historically, PR hasn’t really had anything to benchmark campaign success against except squishy (at best) elements that aren’t very informative. Although they look impressive, a media “clip book” with circulation numbers and AVEs doesn’t tell you at all what percent of those readers saw your message and interacted. A handful of business cards from your marketing manager after an event doesn’t give you insight into any real success or next steps. What did your investment really do – create awareness, drive leads, identify new partners? And if so, why and how. What about the event worked, and what didn’t? There are so many elements that go into different PR campaigns that it’s time to start looking deeper to analyze what values and messages really work to drive action and impact your business.

A score is just the starting point, then ya gotta watch back the tapes to truly understand which plays helped you win, and which weren’t so great. Show your team, and use both to develop a winning strategy for the next game.


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