3 questions to ask yourself when measuring the success of your PR campaign

October 15, 2013

We recently blogged about how there isn’t one standard method of measurement of success in public relations. As a result, PR pros have continually used various tools and metrics to quantifiably measure their success. But it’s not always just about the numbers. In fact, some of the most important PR victories are qualitative, not quantitative.

For instance, numbers can’t always capture the true value of a media placement where a reporter positions your company as a thought leader in an industry. Or how important a seminal feature article appearing in your hometown publication is — one that tells the complete backstory of your business and lives online for other media to reference and steal from.

Here are three specific ways you can qualitatively judge the success of your PR campaign:

  1. What is the span of your media coverage, and is it relevant to your business objectives? While PR campaigns are much more than just media coverage, the span or sweep of your coverage is still a major currency of the business. A portfolio of random media appearances, while ego gratifying, might not actually move needles if they fail to convey a narrative or advance the business objectives. Rather, ask yourself: Did the exposure appear in a targeted media point — one identified at the outset of the campaign as important to the objective? Was the coverage focused on your message or narrative? Did it include a link to your website? Did it enhance your reputation? Drive a sales initiative? Result in a deliverable that your sales team could point to and use in their approach with prospective clients? Was it supportive of an overall mission in sales, marketing, reputation management, or image building?
  2. What is the context of coverage? Ink for the sake of ink might have value. But even more valuable is the context of the coverage. Qualitative analysis can help you determine the real value of media exposure. For instance, small emerging companies might find value in simply being included in an article alongside their larger, more established competitors. Consulting companies might hit pay dirt by having subject-matter experts identified as thought leaders in the media. In some cases, a short mention in an article might be of tremendous value, if, for instance, it’s a case study of how your product or solution solved a challenge for a client.
  3. Is media coverage advancing your business development objectives? PR firms are often loath to connect their efforts with sales and revenue and the connections can often be tenuous. Still for many campaigns, the ultimate goal should align with your overall business development objectives. That isn’t to say that PR should be viewed as a direct response device. On its own, that’s not the role of public relations. But PR can generate interest, build reputation, and create awareness that if managed properly, can be converted into sales and revenue. To accomplish that, PR must be aligned with sales and business development tactics and initiatives in ways that strategically advance a message, open a dialogue, or create an image or persona in the marketplace.

While analytics are more important than ever in measuring and monitoring the success of public relations, numbers rarely tell the entire story. The qualitative aspect of PR is an important consideration when grading overall results. By asking these three questions, any company can gain deeper insight into the effectiveness of its PR program and optimize it accordingly.

To find out more about how PR can drive sales enablement, check out other posts on our blog.

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