In our data-driven world, it’s a challenge to show dollar-for-dollar the value of PR as it is a bit less tangible than other services. Ultimately all clients want to know whether the money, time and energy that went into a campaign changed consumer behavior and, more importantly, generated profit. To prove your campaign’s ROI, you need to report on meaningful metrics that relate directly to business goals and objectives.
To ensure PR efforts are purposeful and deliver value for clients, it’s important to clearly define the goals and objectives, agree on measurement, determine what success looks like and report on the results. Consider the following tips when you measure your next campaign.
Outline Goals and Objectives
Ultimately, your PR efforts should support your client’s business objectives. Why are you investing time and resources into a particular campaign? What do you hope to get out of it? Who are you targeting? What is the intended message? Don’t stop asking questions until you have a strong understanding of how it maps to business objectives.
Many companies are looking for a silver bullet to achieve their communication goals. Moving the needle and making an impact requires a sustained commitment. Predictable, consistent and, of course, interesting communication is the key to building trust and long-lasting relationships with your audiences.
Agree on Measurement
Once you’ve defined your goals, how exactly do you demonstrate your ROI for them? Choose the right metrics. It’s vital to clearly define your metrics and KPIs on the forefront, and determine how to quantify and benchmark progress over time. Check out Cision’s Metrics That Inform vs. Metrics that Prove: A Guide for Content Marketers for more tips on matching measurement and goals.
For marketing people, advertising is easier to wrap their heads around. In advertising, leads and quantifiable metrics, click-through-rates and page views provide a direct correlation to how people are moving through the sales funnel. With public relations, it’s a bit less tangible.
Interestingly, Forbes columnist Robert Wynne cites a study conducted by the L.A. Times about editorial content sections and advertising in the paper. The multi-year study found that editorial content is at least 10 times more valuable than advertising, 60 times more valuable if the story is on a front section and 100 times more valuable on the front page of the paper. Generally speaking, earned media has more credibility because it was independently verified by a trusted third party, rather than purchased.
Furthermore, there is a general awareness that grabbing consumers’ attention is getting harder and more frustrating across nearly all types of media. People are avoiding print ads, skipping through TV commercials and cutting cable subscriptions. Reaching consumers online is getting tougher too, between the rising use of ad blockers and scams in which fake, computer-generated web traffic lures in ad dollars. As a result, companies are rewriting their marketing playbooks and rethinking the value of PR.
To prove your campaign was successful, you’ll need to set a baseline for each metric you report on. To set a baseline, it is best to think about the results of previous campaigns and determine your average results. If this is the first time you are measuring the results of a campaign, determine a baseline using industry standards and consider benchmarking against competition.
Analyze and Merchandise Results
Once your campaign is over and you have your hands on all the data, how do you cohesively demonstrate your success? Present one, comprehensive report that highlights results and tells your campaign’s story. Some best practices include:
Take the lessons learned and immediately establish a follow-up plan while the campaign’s fresh in your mind. Then, consider conducting an A/B test with your next campaign to optimize how you connect with your audience.Tags: PR trends, Value