The perceived difficulties in quantifying the results of a PR campaign are many and varied. Often PR firms bury their heads in the sand, avoiding implementing the tools needed to gauge the success of public relations efforts. Whether it is through a lack of time, lack of understanding of the role PR plays, or simply insufficient resources, all too often measuring the results of a campaign is secondary to writing articles and communicating with the media.
Quantifying success in PR
However, understanding the difference between good and bad communication is vital. Quantifying public relations should be considered and in place at the start of your PR campaign, not after. By measuring PR activity and by having KPIs in place, ROI is clear and you can ensure you are engaging with your target audience.
Although numbers are important, they do not tell the whole story of how successful PR has been. It is difficult to measure qualitatively the impact that a story has had on a reader and it can be equally problematic to monitor all conversations on non-traditional media such as blogs or social networking sites, to determine the effect on public opinion. As such, it is vital to use various methods to evaluate the sales impact but also the overall performance of the company and audience sentiment.
The most common methods of quantifying success in PR include:
- Number of clippings
- Advertising equivalency
- Audience opinion (focus groups, surveys etc)
- Benchmarking results
- Comparisons with competitors press results
- Media evaluation tools
With a robust strategy in place to evaluate PR success, gauging the contribution to increased revenue, improvements in customer retention and lead generation is straightforward. Combining traditional monitoring methods along with new online monitoring tools means quantifying success in PR can help paint a more accurate picture and prove the long-term value of PR.