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Do PR Consultants need to be more Revolting in Measurement and Evaluation?

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Do PR Consultants need to be more Revolting in Measurement and Evaluation?

There have been three revolutions in public relations and communications in the 21st century. Yet there are still many who have failed to wake up to the changes, new ways of thinking and new opportunities.

Between 2006 and 2008, was the first of the revolutions, when our communications world changed – what was called ‘Web 2.0’.

During this time the size of the internet doubled. At the heart of this expansion was a different type of average user. Now, we have a world of a social internet with social media, interactivity, citizen journalists, collaborative content, Facebook, Wikipedia, iPlayer, YouTube, blogs, a ‘Trip Advisoritus’ of consumer reviews, and more.

This revolutionized the relationship between business and communications. Going beyond the Web 1.0 era where retailers just built online shopping platforms, Web 2.0 saw the social web of the sharing economy, on-demand, where the consumer is king and where communications is the critical key – and where your competitors are even deadlier.

As a result of Web 2.0 you don’t just change how you communicated, it also opened up a new era of more metrics to gain insight, identify targets, monitor performance and measure how you were doing. You needed to change how you do measurement and evaluation.

The second wave of revolution followed, courtesy of the world’s largest media platform, Google.

Google launched the Penguin Update in April 2012 to catch sites reckoned to be spamming its search results, such as through tactics such as buying links. The age of the ‘Black Hat’ SEO operators were over. Instead, Google’s emphasis was on recognising authentic, quality backlink profiles: genuine content, valued by users would get the Google accolades.

It should have started a boom for the public relations industry, but the industry, in much the same way it was slow to wake up to the advent of the Internet era, has been similarly tardy.

Effective communicators now recognise they need to seize the opportunities created by Google’s Penguin revolution, an era of content-led SEO, an SEO strategy based on using Google’s metrics for insight and evaluation and measurement.

The Barcelona Principles has provided an industry response to a new era to what we at Smoking Gun call ‘measuring the smoke’ – the real value of the effects, the impact and changes from your communications. Do we however, need to change even more?

The third revolution, has been a silent revolution. Gone unmarked, unlabelled, and undeclared: it is the revolution of ‘Iteration’.

Instead of measurement and evaluation being something you did – and many did not – at the end of the campaign, now, with real-time data, you can check at every stage of your journey, your impact and effectiveness.

As a result, you change course, stop, or go faster or harder where you’re getting results.

Instead of evaluation and measurement being something you did at the end of the journey, now you can do it every step of the way. Today, we can’t just talk of ‘Measurement and Evaluation’ but now needs to be ‘Measurement, Evaluation and Iteration’, a revolution in our thinking and doing.

It’s like previously driving a car either blind or just using your rear view mirror. In the age of ‘Iteration’ you can see a more immediate world.

I am the founder of Startup Today. I am the main writer and have put in many hours of work into creating this blog. If you want to find out more about me then lets get in contact.

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