Often, in my professional life, either in an academic or private sector job, I get asked one of Those Frequently Asked Questions: so what does it all mean? How do you measure this “online” stuff? The short answer is that there are about a million ways. Measurement is such as hot topic that Shel Holtz has reviewed Katie Delahaye Paine‘s new book, “Measuring Public Relationships: The Data-Driven Communicator’s Guide to Success.” I have not read the book yet but plan to, as soon a summertime rolls around. In the meantime, providing easy-to-understand and measurable statistics in one of the best ways to “sell in” online at your workplace. Some of the tools that I use include those which provide charting features. Remember that, for people who don’t necessarily understand what it all means, pictures are important. Among my favorites are:
- Custom Scoop - full disclosure, I write for their online and offline magazine, Media Bullseye, but it is still the best and most cost-effective measurement tool I have seen.
- Technorati – by no means perfect, but like Winston Churchill said of democracy, “it the worst form of government except all others.” Their big measurement tool is the “authority ranking,” which is simply the number of people who have linked to you in the last six months. Not the best, but one of the only games in town.
- Blog Pulse – great way to find out about blog traffic – and chart it.
- Google Blog Search- offers what Technorati does not, which is a way to do a date-specific search of blogs.
- NADatabase – this online service (free sign-up required), offers you subscription statistics for most newspapers in the United States. Quantifying online vs. offline impact is critical as well. impressions
- Morningstar – if part of what you are measuring includes stock price, imagine how impactful a chart is that contains circulations statistics overlaid with tone (positive, negative, neutral), blog traffic AND stock price. Put together, they tell a powerful story. And tralking stock price often gets the attention of senior management inpublicly-traded companies. This is often the “ooooh and aaahhh” moment when you make you case about the impact of communications.
Bottom line: if you want to sell online (and the intersection of offline) to a skeptical or ill-informed audience, tell a story; tell it with pictures and statisitics and suddently, you are the Measurement Wizard. Mark Story