Katie Paine has written an excellent white paper on How to Measure Social Media Relations for the Institute for PR, a fantastic organization that has a number of research-based resources for public relations professionals.
Katie talks about measurement in terms of outcomes, outtakes and outputs.
Some of my favorite takeaways from the paper:
- Create a contest or download to capture the e-mails of your readers in order to conduct a follow-up survey using Dr. Linda Hon and Dr. James Grunig’s relationship measurement instrument. You can also simply post a survey at your site that once taken gives your loyal readers something in return.
- Measure the conversation index, or the volume of comments and trackbacks of a site, and apply some content analysis. One thing Katie didn’t mention is that sometimes it needs to go beyond positive, negative and neutral. I mentioned to Katie in a Skype conversation we had today that last weekend I conducted a focus group where I asked the participants what they felt inferred credibility on a website. To the general agreement of the group, one responded, “When you read unvarnished feedback from other customers.” In other words, the negative can also be a positive.
- Think of the blogosphere as an enourmous focus group where you can listen into conversations by and between customers, prospects, employees and potential employees constantly sharing their thoughts with the world.
- And for a dash of fun, on thw Kineda Bloglebrity calculator you can check if you and your favorite bloggers are on the A, B, C or D list.
Mostly, the paper is a good starting point for discussion about what and how to measure blogs and their content. As Katie said to me herself, “[the paper] is out of date already.” Maybe so, but it forms a good basis to build upon.