Significance of ROI in Public Relations

Public relations isn’t only about keeping your brand in the media spotlight; it’s also about keeping this spotlight from shining on your competitors. A good PR team will build connections with prominent figures, media influencers, and journalists. However, a great public relations team builds lasting relationships with stakeholders.

Public relations team can help build relationships with the influencers relevant to a target market. They become the face of an organisation for the outside world. A good PR team builds brand identity, keeping competition out of the spotlight, and forming incredibly valuable relationships for a company.

PR adds value. While many organisations take this as a given, it is not always fully appreciated because PR doesn’t translate well to the bottom line. Where news is published, how many people read it, the way in which messages are perceived all have a tangible impact on a company’s fortunes. But without a method for accurately collecting and analysing such data, it is difficult to measure the effectiveness and impact of PR efforts.

Counting clips, the physical number of articles a company’s name appears in, is the simplest measure for quantifying the success or failure of a PR campaign. Knowing the number of stories a company generates, and how those numbers stack up against the competition, is imperative.

The most basic form of media monitoring involves manually clipping articles from a predefined set of publications and tabulating the numbers by hand. A step ahead is using online tools to create alerts for specific keywords, such as the company or product’s name. Electronic clipping services, however, strike a perfect balance between accuracy, efficiency and timeliness. Such services offer companies the ability to track a huge variety of media, including print, TV and online sources. The best clipping services can scan tens of thousands of media outlets within a short time period and deliver daily reports.

Of further benefit, electronic clipping services can be programmed to monitor a multitude of company names, keywords and phrases. This gives the opportunity to have them track even competitors and industry coverage. This kind of industry awareness can help react quickly to unusual events and alter the communication strategy as a result.

One traditional and largely objective method for measuring the value of an article is to assign it a monetary figure. This is done using “advertising value equivalency” (AVE). AVE assesses the value of an article by weighing it against the cost of related advertising space.

PR is far too subtle an art for its value to be measured by quantitative data alone. To gain a thorough understanding of the impact of an article and an overall PR campaign, qualitative impact must be also considered. Criteria such as the tone of the article (positive, neutral, negative), the presence of key corporate messages, and the overall quality of an article based on its length, placement and publication type are the essence of PR.

Since each article is weighed according to a set of mathematical equations, the results are completely objective.  The set measurements make it easy to compare coverage from different periods of time, PR campaigns and messaging exercises, as well as between the company and its competition. The better-equipped media monitoring systems also provide the ability to drill down to specific criteria and determine whether one factor, such as publication type, has an impact on another, such as tonality of coverage.

To get the most out of all PR efforts, one should carefully consider the benefits of media monitoring and measurement and choose the system that best suits the company’s immediate and long-range needs. So yes, it is possible to measure PR ROI.

Ritu Bararia
A passionate Public Relations and Communications professional with a progressive experience of over 18 years, Ritu is an expert in the realm of Travel, Hospitality and Aviation. Her forte lies in strategising communication plans basis the essence of a brand with a strong focus on media management aiming to create focused visibility and awareness.

Some of her professional milestones include, setting up of Aviation Industry Group for CII, facilitating launch of India’s first Premium Airline – Kingfisher Airlines and establishing the brand in media as the official spokesperson, facilitating launch of Luxury Retail Brands like Porsche Design, Bally and strategising and executing launch of the brand Roseate Hotels and Resorts.

Prior to founding Little-joy Communications, Ritu was Group Head - Corporate Communications with Bird Group/Amadeus India.

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