Over the past decade, I’ve had the chance to consult with organizations of all sizes regarding their need to measure, and learn from, their public relations campaigns. Fortunately, they’ve all heard PR industry teachings about the importance of accountability, which has made my job easier! But, most are confused as to how to move beyond simply measuring outputs(such as clip counts or impressions) to more meaningfully tying together outputs to business or organizational outcomes (such as leads, sales, donations, and/or survey scores).

Some of this new quest for higher-level measurement results from the now-famous Barcelona Principles, which were established by the International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC), PRSA, the Institute for Public Relations and two other industry associations at the 2010 AMEC European Summit in Barcelona, Spain. Utilizing much of the language and ideas found in PRSA’s The Business Case for Public Relations™, the seven Principles primarily mandate the importance of setting measurable goals and objectives, and moving toward linking outputs to outcomes.

All that is great, but PR pros have been left wondering how to execute these mandates. They have plenty of guidance on objective-setting, but not as much on how best to measure outputs — and then, how best to link them to outcomes.

Fortunately, the founders of the Barcelona Principles didn’t stop there. A special taskforce was deployed to develop what has become the AMEC Valid Metrics Guidelines, a set of practical frameworks that guide PR pros through developing a holistic, meaningful measurement process. I have found the Guidelines to be of enormous help to my clients, so I hope the following brief overview will be helpful to you.

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