We’ve written a bit before about PR’s public relations problem. The short version is that many executives don’t understand PR and view it as something of a necessary evil rather than a strategic asset. Part of the reason for this is that the results of PR have traditionally been difficult to measure forcing PR professionals to rely on fuzzy metrics like AVE or share of voice to demonstrate productivity.
Fortunately, times have changed and it is now possible to discuss the value of PR in terms of tangible results that executives understand. Today, every PR professional should be able to answer these three key C-level questions.
How is PR Impacting Measurable Business Results?
Too many PR pros provide their executive teams with reports that measure PR outputs. The number of press releases you created or the fact that you got some mentions demonstrates your activity level, but not your value. Instead you should be able to discuss the results of PR on specific business goals like website traffic, lead conversion, search ranking, audience engagement, social media following, and online reviews.
What is the ROI for PR?
Once you understand those measurements, you can calculate the value of PR in terms of ROI. This changes the perception of PR from a cost center, to a weapon in the brand’s revenue generating arsenal. Modern PR analytics software integrates with your website to develop a picture of how effective your PR campaign is at attracting visitors that become paying customers to your website. In much the same way that marketers measure success, you can assign a dollar value to goal conversions and establish an ROI for each of your PR campaigns and activities.
How Are You Doing against Competitors and Industry Benchmarks?
In order to put your results in context, you should be able to compare your PR performance to that of your biggest competitors as well as best in class organizations. Understanding which competitive messages are attracting attention can help guide your own thinking about what resonates with the market. Over time, you should see a positive trend in your results vs. those of your competitors.
With the right PR analytics solution in place, you should have no problem providing these answers to the leadership team. Approaching PR reporting in these terms will help you gain credibility, protect your budget, and reinforce the importance of PR to business results.