There’s an old business axiom that goes, “That which gets measured improves.” It’s true. Just ask the folks at Wells Fargo. They measured sales representatives on the number of new accounts opened and boy, did that number go up. Millions of unauthorized accounts were opened and Wells Fargo found itself with a whopper of a PR problem.
Not all of us would resort to illegal or unethical behavior to please our bosses and keep our jobs, but we are all at least a little bit like those Wells Fargo employees. We want to look good and we work hard to succeed at the things that get attention. But what if those metrics that get attention don’t lead to any measurable business results? If your PR reports are full of measurements that don’t make the business more successful, you might look great on paper, but end up with little to show for it.
What is it you say you do here?
If your PR report is like many that we’ve seen it is essentially a list of activities, mentions, and social media following numbers. There’s no harm in tracking those items, but by themselves they are meaningless. When someone asks you what your company does, do you say, “We put out 6 press releases a month?” No. You describe your company in terms of what it sells to customers. Business executives do not get promoted or paid bonuses because the company was mentioned 30 times by the press last month. No. they get rewarded based on sales to customers.
Measure What Matters
If you want to be successful in PR, your PR reporting needs to be full of data that is directly related to sales to customers. The 6 press releases you did last month may very well be related to sales. They may have driven website traffic that converted to leads and revenue. That’s the kind of reporting that both impresses executives in a meaningful way and gives you useful information for improving those results.
Make Yourself a Star
Your boss is unlikely to say to her boss, “We now have 10,000 Twitter followers. Let’s give Sue a raise!” But she may very well say, “We got 9 deals from Twitter referrals last month. Let’s get Sue the resources she needs to grow the program even more.”
What you measure and report on matters. By focusing on business outcomes, not just activities, you become instantly more valuable without changing anything at all. You also get insight into what you could change to have an even bigger impact.