Written by Rob Smith
One of the age-old questions posed to PR professionals is, quite simply, does PR work? Much of this is down to the difficulty in tracking the influence and impact of strong public relations and content activity.
Developing a clear understanding of the impact of PR and understanding how to track its impact is absolutely vital when it comes to showcasing the benefits the discipline offers in an integrated marketing strategy. This in turn helps to illustrate to the people who pay the bills that this activity is important and helping to deliver the results they need.
All too often, making use of opportunities to see (OTS) and advertising value equivalent (AVE) figures is a fall back for PR professionals trying to prove their worth. While these headline figures may help deliver a wow factor, this doesn’t stand the test of time.
Organisations quickly become aware that these figures, although seemingly logical, do not stack up when it comes to metrics such as increased traffic to a website, leads generated and, ultimately, improvement in sales and profitability.
So, if the traditional ways of measuring PR activity are being debunked, how do you measure PR success? Two things – analyse and evaluate.
For a long time, providing press clippings and online links has illustrated PR success, but a laundry list of media coverage is not enough anymore. Decision makers are crying out for more detail and an indication of a return on their investment.
Analysis of the content of media coverage moves things on one step and illustrates to organisations that it is not just their name included in media activity; it is their brand essence and key messages. Establishing this key metric illustrates PR activity is working and providing added value to a business.
Online traffic is a key marker of the success of a business and, by measuring this in relation to PR activity, it can determine how effective – or not – PR activity has been.
Evaluating these factors will quickly provide an analysis of PR activity and, perhaps most importantly, provide a breakdown of the positive impact PR can have on a company’s aims and ambitions.