In the world of communications and marketing, data is now too important to ignore. And while many domains of integrated marketing have made data analysis and measurement an integral part of their success strategy, Public Relations is one segment that is yet to fully reap the benefits.
Data analysis and measurement is such an essential part of the overall communications process that no public relations initiative today can succeed without it. And the reason is simple. If you don’t measure, how do you know whether you’ve been successful?
The evolution of PR
Public Relations has typically been used to build awareness and credibility, whether through a thought leadership piece from your C-suite executive, a press release splashed across print, or an interview on a leading news channel.
But with the entry of the Internet into our lives, this changed drastically. PR professionals started to focus less on traditional efforts and more on making their outreach as organic and authentic as possible. This would mean choosing tailored messaging over mass emails that would cater specifically to an editor’s or publication’s niche. Then came social media, which helped PR undergo another overhaul, letting professionals leverage the reach of social media platforms to directly send out their brand messaging to the audience.
Even then, the concept of measurement remained elusive. So, for example, if your leadership article aims to drive more of a certain set of consumers to your brand, how do you know whether those consumers read your article, and then made a purchase?
That is where measurement steps in. It’s true that PR efforts have always been difficult to quantify. But thanks to technology, access to data, and the growth of a digital-centric ecosystem, measurement is not as cumbersome as it was. The practice of public relations has evolved so much over the years that the number of benefits of holding your PR performance to metrics are simply undeniable. Whereas quantifiable measurement of traditional PR is still challenging, digital PR has opened an array of options to benchmark PR performance.
Here’s why you should measure your PR efforts
- To get a higher rate of success.
To do this, you first need to zero down on your business objective. Are you looking to drive more sales, increase engagement, or lead investors to your brand? Once you have an answer, you will need to work backward to set your measurement objectives. After this, you will be placed better to shape up your PR campaign in a way that it is successful.
- To strengthen the consultancy-client relationship
As someone who has been in this business for close to two decades now, I understand the constant pressure to deliver results. Obviously, clients need to know their ROI for the hefty retainers they pay. Which is why, if you have a strong approach to metrics, you will also be able to make measurement a priority when budgeting for a client. Measurement will help establish progress reports, and keep the client happy.
- To improve your performance as a PR professional
When you use metrics such as click-through rates (CTR) or unique page views to measure the success of your PR efforts, you know you are on the right track. These metrics essentially help you see what messaging worked and what didn’t. This will then give you a better idea for your next campaign in terms of choosing key messaging, channels, etc. Plus, it gives you the chance to learn new thighs, as you keep testing and gauging what works best for your client and their ROI.
So, start prepping your team to evolve, and make measurement a key part of your PR efforts. Because in a world where change is the only permanence, those who are able to solve dynamic problems and lead change in their professions are the only ones who will thrive.
The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.