So you have a healthy stack of press clips from the past year — and you’ve memorized every single one. But what about what’s *not* in the stack?

Now’s the time for us all to figure out what we can do different or better next year to use the power of the press and make our country and world better than it is today.

To answer questions about future strategy, our PR peeps like to start by looking back and asking these four questions about past results. We also use the nonprofit media metrics from the 2017 M+R Mediamarks Study to guide us.

Q: “Where could we have gotten more press coverage?”

A: Look at data showing how many press hits your organization got by media type (newspaper, magazine, broadcast, digital, wire) and key regional or trade outlets. Spot the gaps and think up ways to fill them in your 2018 media plan.

Q: “When did we (and didn’t we) take advantage of peak press moments? What is one more thing we could have done?”

A: Look at your media results by month and spot the highs and lows. If you’re low in January, know that you’re not alone and it’s not too late to add a January press push to your 2018 media plan.

Q: “Did our earned media hits connect to and advance our organizational goals? What was the advocacy or fundraising headline that best moved the ball and what’s one we want to see in 2018?”

A: Our movements don’t devote so dang much time to getting press for the sake of a big shiny number to show off to our bosses and board at the end of the year. We do it for the real results. With data and anecdotes, look at the outcome of the hit and your hard work.

Q: “Once we got a news story, did we share it as far and wide as we could on social media and with our partners to spread its impact?”

A: It’s a bummer we can’t see the Google Analytics for news websites. But you can look at data showing how many times your best press hits were shared on Facebook and Twitter (from your own pages and the whole world wide web).

For more tips about measuring nonprofit media impact and comparing your press results to your peers, download the 2017 M+R Mediamarks Study here.