This week, we feature another interview from the PRSA International Conference.  We talk to our good friend Shonali Burke, communications strategist and author of the Waxing Unlyrical blog, about PR and social media measurement, a subject all PR people should pay attention to because it demonstrates the value of our work and whether or not we’ve achieved our goals.

Shonali calls out three problems in the way we approach measurement:

  1. The concept of measurable objectives has been lost – our objectives must be quantifiable and time-bound.
  2. Buzz is not a goal – because people don’t know what they’re trying to achieve, they’re not approaching communications strategically.
  3. People overcomplicate. Don’t focus on the tools but on what you’re trying to track and how.

Shonali mentions the Blue Key campaign, which asks Americans to donate $5 to raise awareness and support for refugee issues and how they track the program using custom URLs, Google Analytics and other tools to identify emerging trends.

She’s tired of PR professionals saying they’re not good at numbers and advises us to, ‘stop getting freaked out by math!’

Gini mentions that it’s not impressions or ad equivalencies that are important, but how we deliver the kinds of results that mean something to a client’s business.  Joe adds that being in PR, we’re dealing with digital data all the time and need to get good at that.  Martin suggests that as professional communicators we are all in business and, as such, should learn and understand the fundamentals of business.

Are you measuring your programs effectively and in a way that demonstrates real value to your clients or organizations?  Do you have any thoughts or cases to add? We’d love to hear from you.

And thanks Shonali.


Send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoe Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

This week’s episode was produced by Kristine Simpson.


  1. You guys are hysterical! Thank you so much – I particularly loved the fact that you spent so much time talking about measurement outside of the interview… and MANY thanks for sharing the Blue Key info!


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