As a PR specialist and a closet lover of analytics (please don’t tell Vicki), part of my job is to prove that a public relations campaign is important for your company. And here’s where it can get tricky. Sometimes I get jealous of the media buyer in our office (again, don’t tell Vicki) because she can step right into a meeting with hard data and track a company’s ROI with specific, concrete evidence. PR is less about the analytics and more about the perception it creates. Earned media can create a positive perception of your brand that may influence a buyers decision months down the road. However, the buyer probably doesn’t even realize PR was a factor, so then how do you know if your efforts are really driving sales and growth?
PR mentions: Counting media placements is one measurement of ROI. You may have placed an ad in The Wall Street Journal, but did Mr. Jenkins write about you in his “Business World” column? After counting the placements, consider the quality of these placements. Will they influence behavioral changes in the readers? Look at the number of influencers and writers mentioning your brand and the sentiment of their messages. Every placement and mention you receive is putting you one step ahead of your competitors.
Quality of Social Media: The most important part of social media is the quality of the conversation vs. the coverage. So, when you measure the PR ROI on social media, focus on who is talking about your brand and the message they’re saying vs. the number of mentions. Your brand should experience some kind of growth relating to social media presence, but are they active users that participate in conversations?
Long term Outcomes: Let’s face it. The goal of PR is to have behavioral impact, as well as growth. How many customers called to inquire about your product? Are more people recommending your brand than before? Growth may mean more traffic to your website, more app downloads or more product being sold, but it should also come with brandy loyalty and brand advocates towards your business.
While ROI is certainly important to campaigns, these are ways to measure it than just a dollar for dollar on immediate return. PR is about building your brand, building valuable relationships, and keeping your competition out of the spotlight. It’s essential for your company’s success. Do you need have a strong PR campaign in place?
-Brittani Vanderweerd, PR Specialist