I recently stumbled across an article in PR Daily that highlights that PR professionals’ No. 1 concern is proving value. According to a report by Muck Rack, the top challenges facing PR professionals are difficulty measuring impact and lack of quantifiable measurements.
Interestingly, within the last two weeks, I’ve received multiple requests from clients to provide holistic metrics highlighting the results of our work for broader company distribution. Along with one of those requests, I was also asked if I had other recommendations around tracking metrics.
As an agency, this is something we discuss frequently. We are constantly seeking ways to provide value, as well as highlight the results we secure. The question “How or will this add value to their organization?” is one that drives the decisions we make on behalf of our clients.
It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks and meeting deadlines; and it doesn’t always allow us the time to merchandize our results or demonstrate the value of our work. Below is an overview of the steps to track and present results.
Define Success and Set Expectations
When engaging with a new client, one of the first questions we ask is: What does success look like to you? Their answer will influence the work we do as well as how we share the results.
If the client wants to see an increase in the number of articles secured, then we’ll likely need to increase the amount of pitches we’re distributing to journalists. If they would like to see the number of articles in business publications increase, then we’ll need to work with them to secure the elements needed to place stories in those outlets.
Additionally, in order to be successful, it’s critical that you are positioned for success. One of the foundational pieces to being set up for success is having shared expectations. For example, if a client’s main objective is to be on the front page of The New York Times, but they’ve never engaged in any form of PR and do not have any noteworthy events coming up within the next year, it is critical that you take the time to educate them on what would be required to secure a piece like that and the work that needs to be executed to build to that placement.
Without sharing expectations defining success, it will be incredibly difficult to evaluate if the work you’re doing and results you’re securing are valuable to the client.
Go Beyond Numbers
There are a variety of ways to measure results. The most common is to track and highlight the coverage secured. When tracking coverage you can also highlight the unique visitors per month or circulation, the domain authority, the number of link backs, shares on social media platforms, or the cost of the time required to place the article vs. the cost of advertising.
There are also ways to demonstrate value that go beyond quantifiable measurements. For instance, many of our clients are working to define new categories of technology or associate important key messages with their brand. When reviewing articles in target publications, highlight how many of those include the key messages. Or in other terms, highlight the qualitative impact of that article.
It’s important to work closely with the client to determine what metrics, quantifiable or qualitative, are most important for them to see and understand.
Highlight Results Often
One of our company values is transparency, and we strive to keep our clients informed and up to date on activities as well as the results these activities generate.
Following each announcement or pitch we highlight all items that we believe were valuable for the company, beyond coverage. For instance, if there was an interview with a journalist at a target publication that didn’t lead to coverage, we still highlight this as a win. Sure, coverage wasn’t secured, but this interview likely provided the journalist with information that they may choose to use in the future, as well as established a relationship between the organization and the reporter.
Additionally, every month when we deliver our invoices, we include a recap of the activities, but most importantly we include the results. This gives us another opportunity to demonstrate to the client what we were able to achieve on their behalf.
Demonstrating value is key to long-lasting partnerships and it’s crucial to take the time to define success and frequently highlight results to ensure you are demonstrating the value of your work.Tags: metrics, Value