Success Is All About How You Measure It
While media relations isn’t all we do in PR, it is one of the most visible, and exciting, for that matter. Having been involved in hundreds of product launches and announcements for clients since I first got into PR in 2003, I can say that I’m still excited when I see coverage come through for a client. For me, the excitement never gets old.
What does get old is the conversations that typically follow a product launch. Most of the time they go like this:
“How was the product launch that you worked on last week?”
“Oh, it was great! We crushed it with media coverage! Over 500 million impressions!”
“Wow, great job! Did it have an impact on your client’s sales?”
“I don’t really know, but look at all these impressions!”
Impressions and quantity of coverage are incredibly important. Quantitative reporting is never going away, but it never tells the whole story. As ROI became increasingly important, the heralded Advertising Value Equivalency measure dominated what we reported to clients. Thankfully, after years of struggling to calculate it and justifying the multiplication of numbers (you know, because earned coverage is more valuable than an ad!), we as PR professionals laid that to rest. It was beyond inaccurate and simply a poor way to try and demonstrate value and ROI.
There are absolutely other ways to report on ROI without the need to apply a bogus ad value dollar figure to results.
It’s our job as PR professionals to work closely with clients to help demonstrate the value that our services and support brings to the table. At the onset of a campaign, we need to collaboratively set goals, objectives, and KPI’s and identify ways to measure the fruits of our labor so that we can accurately report against them.
In a nutshell, we at R&J work with our clients to clearly identify what it is they’re trying to accomplish and agree ahead of time to a metric that accurately measures success. For example:
- Looking to boost engagement?
- Simply enhancing awareness?
- Directly impacting sales?
- Message pull through?
This type of communication up front and ahead of a campaign is critical to demonstrating success; however, the work doesn’t stop there!
After the pats on the back and celebratory drinks, we must work with clients and provide them with counsel on how they can amplify success we’re reporting on, both with internal and external constituents. We as PR professionals need to stress the importance of merchandising and sharing that success with the world. Not only will it further enhance visibility for your client, but your agency as well.
First, and perhaps the easiest, is amplification through social media.
Take that great coverage you secured from the NY Times and work with your client to broadcast it on their social channels. Recommend to clients that they engage with media and consumers via the appropriate channels. Moreover, thanks to the integration of digital and traditional communication, benchmarks and KPIs for social media metrics should absolutely be agreed to prior to the launch of a campaign.
Merchandising the success with internal constituents, specifically the sales team, is just as important. Providing a client’s sales team with updates on great coverage and third party accolades from media gives them the tools necessary to do their jobs more effectively. Maybe they’re having an important meeting with a buyer and talking about the successful coverage and buzz a product is getting is just what’s needed to help turn a conversation into a deal and securing retail placement.
Nothing more rewarding than knowing your great work had a direct impact on sales!
Make it more rewarding and easier for you and your client come reporting time – set these measurable goals and objectives prior to the launch of a campaign. It will ensure everyone is on the same page and working toward the same goals.