By Gina Joseph AMEC Measurement Week kicked off in a big way on Monday in New York City, where PR and digital media experts gathered to talk about the new horizon of PR measurement.  From a keynote presentation from social media consultant, blogger and author Mark Schaefer, to an expert panel session and, finally, a special luncheon featuring Sebastian Majewski of The Gates Foundation, attendees were given a wide scope of ways measurement plays a part in the PR space. “Social has given us an historical opportunity to recapture the two-way relationship” – Mark Schaefer While the ways of measuring the ROI of public relations remains a point of debate, most in the PR space agree that building relationships are the start to generating ROI. During his keynote, Schaefer emphasized the value of meaningful content as a way of creating targeted connections—along with social media’s role in the pipeline. Google now rewards those not just with original, quality content, but content that is also creating movement on social; it sends signals to Google that “this matters,” he said. Quality content is most important, but the next step is to find ways to promote that content so it can be found and digested by the right audience. “Content to ignition: whether it’s through paid, earned, or owned media, quality content is what will get noticed,” Schaefer said. “The consumer only sees content, not paid, earned, owned. They want good content, period.” – Christopher Penn PR measurement comes in different methods and models, depending on a brand’s own goals and objectives. In a panel session moderated by Flatiron Communications founder and Forbes contributor Peter Himler, some of those different methods were discussed and shared. Panelists included Shonali Burke, CEO of Shonali Burke Consulting; Sharam Fouladgar-Mercer, CEO, AirPR; Chris Penn, VP of marketing technology at SHIFT Communications; and Heidi Sullivan, SVP of digital content, Cision. “Metrics don’t have to be complicated,” said Burke. “Keep it simple.” She advised that the best way to start measuring is just to be clear on how PR plays a role in the whole process. Penn said PR measurement boils down to the ability to generate the right audiences. Quality content is what matters, and what brings those audiences into the sales funnel.  “We want to apply advanced statistics to digital monitoring.” – Sebastian Majewski At an invitation-only luncheon, attendees heard from Sebastian Majewski, senior communications officer at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, about how the Foundation uses digital media metrics to listen, measure, and evaluate the success of global programs. “Social media has the depth of qualitative research with the richness of a quantitative data set,” he said. Through case study examples, Majewski showed the value of data sets through types of social media monitoring including Volume, Channels, Engagement and Sentiment. Gina Joseph is a features writer and editor for Cision Blog, and is also the digital engagement manager for Cision’s marketing department. Follow her on Twitter at @Cision.