When we first started in the public relations business, we measured our success by the number of clips we generated for a client. Some in the business even measured column inches and assigned an advertising value to them.
These were rather crude practices and didn’t really convey the value of what we provided our clients.
Measuring public relations has always been difficult, but it can be done. We measure our success in two ways:
Metrics. This requires a real partnership with our clients, but most clients realize the value of this kind of measurement and are happy to comply. The metrics we measure include: leads, sales and website visitors. In addition, we want to know if sales are closing sooner because of public relations efforts, and if the value of sales is increasing. After two years of an aggressive public relations program, one of clients noted that the average value of closed sales had increased by more than 10 times. Now that’s measurement!
Execution. At the beginning of each planning year, we identify objectives for the public relations effort. The objectives may be to increase sales leads, to position the company to be acquired or go public, or simply to raise awareness in a particular industry. Every quarter we measure how we’re doing against these objectives.
In order to measure properly, it’s important to benchmark where you’re starting. We look at the current number of leads generated monthly, the average value of a sale, the average time to close, number of social media followers, unique website visitors, etc. Then we work with clients to put the process in place to capture this information.
The result is a public relations program that is accountable and gets better over time.