For too long PR has lived under the shadow of other marketing activities, especially advertising and, more recently, digital and social media. We believe this is about to change with the introduction of a powerful, fully standardised measurement tool called Public Relations Search Value, or PRSV.
No doubt you’ll already be aware of ‘earned’, ‘owned’ and ‘paid’ media. To that list you can now add a further term, ‘PR search’ (PRS) media. Although the majority of PRS media are generally online versions of national and local newspapers, broadcasters and trade publications, they also include all blogs and – crucially –activities such as conferences, seminars, exhibitions, sponsorship and social media. In other words any sites that can be influenced by PR activity.
Why, you might ask, do we need this when such sites already fall under the banner of ‘earned’ media? There are two simple answers to that question. The first is that earned media covers a plethora of sites with no way of determining the type of site they represent. For instance, coverage appearing in an online publication generated by PR activity is counted in the same way as content generated for SEO purposes. The second is that public relations can benefit hugely by differentiating the extremely valuable work it does against SEO, which has hijacked much of what the PR industry has traditionally provided.
To summarise, PRS media are sites that appear in search results, such as Google, that can be influenced by PR activity. Very importantly, this means PRS media can include sites about a conference or exhibition just as much as they include sites that would normally fall under the remit of media relations.
The key point about PRS media is that they have an inherent value; and, most importantly, this value can be determined. Just as important, the valuation process is transparent. It is what we call the PRSV or ‘public relations search value’; and it can be applied to any PRS media in any language in any country.
Crescendo will be publishing details of how to determine PRSV value shortly – we want to make it open to everybody (follow@markcrescendo on Twitter for updates) – but in the meantime here is a simple idea of how it works based on Google, which is by far the most popular search engine on the planet:
- We take a search term appropriate to the brand/company in question
- We look at the top 100 Google search results for this term and identify the PRS media that cover the brand/company in a meaningful way
- We use Google Adwords planner to determine the suggested bid price for the search term used and the average monthly search volumes for it
- We can determine the number of people who will, on average, click through to the content for each PRS media that covers the brand/company using well-established opening rates for every position within Google search results
- Applying the suggested bid price to the opening rates gives us the PRSV for each PRS media
- If the PRS media is negative then the PRSV for it is zero
This process can be repeated for any number of search terms to arrive at an overall PRSV figure for the brand/company in question over the time period required.
There are 10 fundamental reasons why the PRSV is the ideal universal measurement standard for public relations:
- PRSVs focus only on PR activities that deliver real business benefits
- PRSVs drive PR to deliver real business benefits, from sales to branding and reputation
- PRSVs measure highly receptive and interested audiences, many at the purchasing stage
- PRSVs represent the real value of PR activity, enabling ROI to be determined
- PRSVs can cover all activities, not just media coverage
- PRSVs enables results generated in media that do not take advertising, such as the BBC, to be measured properly
- PRSVs can be replicated
- PRSVs are transparent
- PRSVs can be applied in any country, in any language for any activity
- PRSVs are simple to do and easy to understand at all levels, from the most junior person to the CEO
We have no doubt that some people will challenge the PRSV and say it’s “another AVE (advertising value equivalent)”. It is not and this is why.
For starters, let’s get one thing straight: the results of PR activity – like any other asset – have a value. The only problem is that the asset value of results from PR activity is largely intangible. The beauty of the PRSV is that it uses publicly available data representing real market values based on real numbers of people to value the intangible asset openly and transparently. Compare this to AVEs, which use all sorts of Micky Mouse methods to arrive at a ‘value’.
Furthermore – and very importantly – PRSVs provide both a measure of and a drive for results that generate real and significant business value while AVEs do neither. Also, PRSVs inherently measure results for ‘interested audiences’, ie people have actively chosen to look for the content that PRSVs are measuring. This means not only that such audiences are highly receptive to PRSV media content, but crucially that they also include many people who are at the vital point of their decision-making journey. Such a decision is highly likely to be to purchase but it could equally range from which way to vote in an election to whether or not to attend a particular conference.
Perhaps most important of all, however, is that PRSVs measure the value of PR activities in their own right. By comparison, AVEs compare PR to advertising, which of course is nonsensical.
In short, PRSVs measure results that can only be delivered by PR activity; and it is this unique ability of public relations to deliver business benefits that no other form of marketing or communication can achieve that makes the PRSV so powerful.
Welcome to the PR measurement revolution!
For more information about the universal standard for PR measurement please use the form on the contact us page.