Measurement is overrated. You read that right. While this may seem sacrilegious for a communications professional to say, here’s the rub; it’s more important to focus on influence. Influence will take care of measurement. Measurement will become less of drag (read administrative device to justify your worth). If you want to win the game of PR, focus on influence and impact. As every PR pro worth her salt knows, credible media is audited by third party BPA Worldwide an audience auditing firm and Nielsen Ratings, a data and analytics measurement company. It is easy to assess which media is going to be most influential for your campaign with technology from Cision and Muck Rack. The big picture idea of influence is a strategic consideration. That is, understand what levers will move a client’s agenda forward. It can be as simple as dominating a single trade media outlet or blogger. Or it might be a community or industry stakeholder. The important consideration is to get away from volume is king mentality of the more press the better. Rather, zero in one or two gatekeepers and decision makers. Those who hold sway in your client’s industry.

Here are the keys to generating influence:

  1. Define the client objective in one sentence.
  2. Determine who or what can exert the most influence of decision makers.
  3. Validate the reach and audience through third party sources.
  4. Review public information including their public comments, articles, etc.
  5. Build bridges with target through proactive outreach and value add ideas.

Measurement will always be a necessary part of communicating results and performance, but if you start your campaign efforts by defining and identifying your primary target in terms of what changes behavior of the audience, measurement will fall in line based on outcomes rather than outputs.