PR remains an obscure, difficult-to-understand discipline from an outsiders point of view. It goes without saying, then, that its measurement probably baffles more people than we think, including some from the media industry.
Richard Bagnall, chairman of the Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC), recently tweeted criticism of a Forbes article titled: How to measure the value of publicity. The article itself highlights the importance of objective setting in the PR evaluation process, but fails to condemn the use of advertising value equivalents (AVEs), merely explaining that the advertising equivalency approach is not specific enough. As a vocal advocate for the ban of AVEs in PR measurement, Bagnall lamented that the article would confuse the market further.
Being a PR measurement and media research analyst myself, I have witnessed the confusion that some organizations face when it comes to measuring their input, output, out-takes and outcomes. AMEC has worked on an interactive evaluation framework to help measure their impact. The framework (summarized in the graphic below) is accessible online to help those who wish to establish a plan, set targets and measure the impact of the PR efforts.