With all the hard work that you’ve put into your marketing and public relations efforts, you want to make sure it is worth it. Measuring public relations efforts can be a tricky and historically has been a sore subject for professionals. It’s hard to quantitatively measure the worth of “good feelings.” But there are many aspects of PR that can, and should, be measured with numbers. With all the readily available tools that can help track where leads come from or how people heard about you, measuring PR efforts is easier than it has ever been before! We’ve come up with four questions you can ask yourself to make sure that your marketing efforts really are getting you the results that you want.
- How does PR fit in with your company’s business plan?: You need to keep the mindset of a business manager while directing your public relations campaigns. Knowing how a press release (or another tactic) will increase the bottom line — not always just sales –, reach your company goals, and is in line with your vision will help make sure that your PR efforts are worth the cost, time and effort. A great way to make sure you are keeping on track with your goals is to create a dashboard. Dashboards can help you stay on the same page with your partners and stakeholders when it comes to goals and how your efforts are helping to achieve them.
- Who owns your brand?: Your brand is going to get out there one way or another, so it’s important to control your message and the channels it is distributed on as much as possible. If you are working on building up your brand, use the correct tools and tactics so that your company is shown in an honest and (hopefully) positive light. You want to make sure that you are the one who owns your brand image. There are a variety of tools that can help you monitor your brand name for free or a very low cost. Google Analytics, Hootsuite, and Klout are all good examples or services that allow you to see how your brand name is being used and what conversations your fans are engaging in. This can help you retool your messaging and tactics to reach the right people, while responding to negative comments in an orderly manner.
- Who should you be talking to?: Beyond branding, you want to make sure you are doing what public relations is all about, building relationships! Make sure your efforts to build relationships are focused on your target market and opinion leaders within your target audiences. Make sure the relationships you put the most time and effort into are the ones that will help you reach your goals. Think of it like this: you likely have a friend or acquaintance that is an “expert” on a given topic. You ask different friends for restaurant recommendations, how to fix your car, what movies are good, or for travel tips depending on their field of knowledge, their experience and their interests. Your company should seek out those “friends” who are an expert in your field, so they can tell everyone else how great you are.
- What do I really want to know?: Numbers are important and can help you improve your brand and PR efforts in a big way. But not all numbers are created equal. Knowing how many Facebook fans you have doesn’t necessarily reflect on your reach – if you are a B2B model, for example, then a different platform might be more useful to you. Take a minute to consider what information is actually important to building your image, and then figure out an effective way to learn it. Using tools like Qualitrics and Survey Monkey allow you to conduct surveys among your current and potential audience, which can provide you with information about how people heard about you, what they think of you and what they might change or like to see done differently.
With all the help that is available in today’s online world, there is no excuse for not holding your PR efforts to a higher standard and making sure that you are measuring your efforts. Even if it is just to prove to yourself that what you are doing works. Measurement can be hard and coming up with a strategic plan for your PR is something that we would love to talk to you about!