One day a mother was preparing to put a pot roast in the oven as her young daughter sat nearby and watched. Before she put the roast into the pan, she cut about a half inch of meat from each end of the roast. The daughter asked, “Why do you cut the ends off of the roast?” The mother replied, “I don’t know, that’s just the way my mother taught me.” The next time they were together, the young girl asked, “Grandma, why do you cut the ends off a roast before putting it in the pan?” “I don’t know,” said Grandma. “My mother always did it, so I do it too.” Luckily, Great Grandma was still around so the young girl gave her a call. “Great-Grandma, I’ve heard that you always cut the ends off before putting a pot roast in the pan. Why?” Great Grandma began to laugh. “Because, she said, my roasting pan was too small.”
Many PR departments and agencies operate in much the same way. Too often we rely on, “The way it’s always been done.” We end up with processes and procedures that were designed to solve yesterday’s problems. Nowhere is this more evident than in reporting. We see people creating all sorts of droll reports based on the data that was easy to get 10 years ago, rather than creating useful, interesting reports based on meaningful data available in modern PR monitoring solutions. We urge PR professionals to stop wasting time on reports that are hardly ever read, much less ever used. Focus instead on reports that can actually help drive decisions.
1 – Attribution Impact
Creating a report that lists every mention, article, or byline is honky-dory, if you want to prove that you’ve done something this month, but otherwise what does it mean? What your boss really needs to know is how well did each attribution do at contributing to traffic, leads and customers. That insight can help inform decisions on where to focus your future efforts.
2 – Coverage by Key Messages
Getting coverage is important, but getting the right coverage is essential. Reports that detail which messages are being picked up tell you if you’ve hit or missed the mark. If your messages are not getting through, you know you need to adjust your pitch, rethink your interview approach or revisit the message altogether.
3 – Social Media Engagement
Social media is central to any modern PR strategy. The level and type of social media engagement you inspire is an important measure of the health of your brand. Social media brings message pull through, reach, and audience interest into sharp focus.
We encourage you to think critically about every report you create. Don’t just do it because you always have, or because the last guy did. Create reports that answer specific questions and guide future decisions. A PR professional’s day is too short for busy work.