As AMEC kicks off Measurement Month (yesterday), and as we kick off the Labor Day weekend here in the U.S., I’ve been thinking about how much time and energy Social PR pros spend in trying to measure what really matters (or say we spend).

But do we, really? 

Measuring what does (or may) not matter

My Social PR Posse and I had a good laugh the other day when Alex Brown poured his heart out to us.

screen grab of Alex Brown typo update

First, to clarify: we laughed WITH Alex, not AT him. Because we’re not horrible people.

Second, we know all too well the terror of making a single typo in ONE email, let alone 10,000.

After all, the world of PR is filled with the Grammar Police, the Do’s and Don’ts Squad, the Oxford Comma Patrol … we love to tell people what to do!

So, of course, when we make the same mistakes we warn our clients, colleagues, and mentees about, we go crazy. Because OMIGOD how could we be only human?!

Which is basically what I said to Alex in my response, and so did many others in the Posse.

They also shared mistakes they’d made… despite which they’d clearly lived to tell the tale.

Scott Kaminski:

screen grab of Scott Kaminski PR mistake

Emily Mukalazi:

screen grab of Emily Mukalazi PR mistake

Heidi Cannella:

screen grab of Heidi Cannella PR fear

Michele Foerst:

screen grab of Michele Foerst email mistaked

And of course, how could I not reference the PR pro’s single-biggest fear:

PR fear leaving L out of public

It’s a typo. Keep Calm.

97.86% of the PR pros I know are highly professional. They take pride in their work, they’re kind and helpful, they’re generous with their time, they sign up for service positions… they’re high, high achievers.

And, as a result, they – we – can sometimes lose sight of measuring what really matters, when we start tracking successes… or failures.

So as we head into this Labor Day weekend here in the U.S., I for one am going to take a break for beating myself up over stuff that, in the long run, really doesn’t matter.

I have no intention of losing sight of my business goals, and doing what I can to get there, or exceeding them to the extent I can.

But what I’m also going to measure from now on – and what I’ve been trying to practice every day – is keeping track of the things that really matter.

Measure what really matters

Here are some of the things that have really started mattering to me. Frankly, they should always have mattered, and I think they did, but now they take priority over pretty much everything else.

  • Have I been able to focus on what needed to be done today, as opposed to worrying about what needs to happen tomorrow?
  • Have I done my utmost to help those who ask for it, and not volunteer advice when they don’t?
  • Do people respond when I ask for help?
  • Am I doing a better job of being mindful, compassionate, and of service?
  • At the end of the day, can I honestly look back on it and be confident there is nothing I would have done differently today?

Why what matters, matters

I bet you’re wondering when I’m going to get into the Lotus Position and start levitating. Because this list doesn’t overtly have much to do with the practice of Social PR, or measurement, or any of the things I do to keep a roof over my head, cover Suzy Q.’s chemotherapy, or put food on the table.

The thing is, it does.

Because when I am able to do a little bit better with the things that really matter to me personally, that spills over into my work.

And when I do well at work, doing my utmost to help my clients, students, Posse, and Virtuosos get a little closer to bridging the gap between themselves and their audiences, themselves and their goals, between each other, it enriches my life in a way I cannot fully describe.

The closest I can come to doing so is to say it fills my heart with gratitude.

So yes. We do need to watch out for silly mistakes, and the right/wrong ways to measure (don’t forget to join the September #measurePR Twitter chat to learn more from 12 global measurement all-stars – Sept. 8, 12-1 pm ET).

But we need to remember what truly matters… and measure our progress towards those markers.

I hope you have a restful Labor Day weekend if you get one, and a great weekend even if you don’t.

WUL is taking a break to focus on what really matters 🙂 so we’ll see you back here on Wednesday.

What really matters to you? Please share below, I’d love to know.

Shonali Burke
Founder and publisher of Waxing UnLyrical, Shonali Burke helps smart businesses make bank by taking their communications from corporate codswallop to community cool™. She is also the founder of The Social PR Virtuoso®, which provides online, on-demand training that helps you unleash your inner Social PR superhero. Shonali is mad about ABBA, bacon, cooking, dogs, and Elvis, though not necessarily in that order. Wouldn't you like to be in her kitchen?
Shonali Burke