Nowadays, PR experts are expected to generate higher return on investment (ROI). However, more often than not, media intelligence around measurement of success in a PR campaign can be tricky. This is because PR may be only one of several communications activities contributing to brand perceptions.
The creativity and cleverness behind every PR campaign comes at a cost. A lot of time, money and effort are put into planning, constructing and executing the perfect PR campaign. Each campaign is carefully moulded to target a specific audience, to sell a certain idea or product, in hopes to get positive feedback with a successful return on investment. Because of this, it is important for PR pros to grasp the media intelligence strategies to know what campaign tactics were unsuccessful and which ones paid off–literally.
At MediaHQ, we’ve been revolutionising media intelligence for more than 10 years–we know what works and what doesn’t work. Given this background, we’ve found that a good return on investment for PR comes from a well-thought-out strategy that defines PR objectives and establishes success metrics. By combining these goals, PR pros can acquire a great PR return on investment for their companies.
PR ROI isn’t measured in the same way as advertising or marketing ROI. You can’t put an exact price on the outcome of a successful campaign because its aim is to build your brand’s reputation.
You have to look at other elements like how much media coverage you get compared to your competitors and whether or not your messages are reaching the right markets.
How to measure a good return on investment for PR to know all the blood, sweat and (sometimes) tears were worth it
The bottom line here is; you can’t improve what you don’t measure. Virtually all PR pros deliver great PR campaign strategies but most of them aren’t getting significant ROI. A major reason why ROI for PR is so low is that brands aren’t measuring their campaign performance on media.
It’s hard to determine whether your PR campaign is realising a good return on investment. Therefore, we have put together a few media intelligence tricks to help you track your results so you can decide whether you’re getting the PR ROI you deserve;
One measure of PR success is to track the amount of press coverage your company receives over a given period. But it’s not just the number of mentions–to truly decide whether you’re earning a good return on investment, press clippings need to appear in publications that appeal to your target audience.
Another way to track your PR ROI is to ascertain how many media impressions your press clippings have yielded. To calculate this number, multiply the number of press clippings by the total circulation of the publication in which it appeared.
The quality of the message
A qualitative method to discover whether your campaign is generating a good ROI for PR is to carefully examine the press clippings in which your company appears and decide whether your main messages are getting across. When clippings include positive coverage of your company, your PR efforts are paying off.
When measuring PR efforts, businesses should remember that media placements make an emotional connection between their products and the audience. A business only achieves a good return on investment when PR messages leave the audience with a positive impression of the company.
Media intelligence tricks to earning and increasing your PR ROI
To ensure that your company obtains and increases a good PR return on investment, you need to take an organised, realistic approach to PR. Because measuring PR is more qualitative than quantitative, many PR experts struggle to understand which parts of PR are responsible for a business’ success.
Here’s a seven-step approach to increasing your PR ROI, even if you have a small budget;
1. Recognise limits
It’s important for companies to remember that unlike advertising or marketing, many of the benefits of PR will remain intangible. Though measurement of PR is essential to track whether companies are achieving a good return on investment, PR pros need to measure outcomes rather than short-term activities. By taking a strategic view to measuring PR, companies can execute PR strategies with the confidence that they are benefitting their business in the long run.
2. Amplify your content
When you promote a blog post or other piece of content, you should obviously plug it on your main social channels like Facebook and Twitter. But think about other places it could get picked up.
Why not post your article on a Reddit thread or in your LinkedIn group? It doesn’t cost you anything extra and if the social media gods are on your side, the results can be spectacular.
The point is to spread your message through as many (relevant) channels as possible. Think about where your audience hangs out.
3. Competitions are always a winner
Why not partner with a publication or blogger? They are usually happy to promote your brand through competitions.
Social media competitions also generate lots of engagement. When you have a new product or service to promote, think of ways you can incorporate it into a giveaway.
4. Think of multiple formats
PR is not just about the straight-up press release any more. Although they are still important, you should brainstorm a couple of different versions of your story in order to get the most out of it.
For example, if you have conducted a survey, you could present it as a new study, an infographic or a package for a podcast.
Information is disseminated in multiple formats, so if you want more bang for your buck, you have to cover all of your content streams.
- Choose success metrics
Once companies define their PR objectives, metrics must be established to measure progress against a PR program’s goals. Businesses should measure a PR campaign’s effect on outcomes such as shifts in awareness or purchase behavior. To track your company’s progress, you should survey customers as well as keep tabs on relevant statistics. This way, you can decide whether your brand is attaining a good return on investment and hitting the right benchmarks.
- Secure support from management
Before undertaking a PR campaign, executives should ensure that they have buy-in from upper management. Although PR is one of the most cost-effective communication tools a business can have, it’s still a large investment and you need support from C-suite executives to properly execute a PR campaign. With backup from upper-level company employees, brands can best utilise PR strategies to acquire a good return on investment.
7. The obvious one: mingle with the movers and shakers
If you want to build your brand’s reputation within a particular community, you have to identify the biggest influencers.
You want to be seen interacting with editors and bloggers who cover your topic. Interact with them in a meaningful way: You won’t be able to build up a rapport with them if you plague them with spammy tweets. PR is all about building relationships (the clue is in the name). If you get to know the right people on social media, it will be easier to successfully pitch a story to them.
Strategic PR programs have a significant ROI. In as far as media intelligence is concerned, there are many intangible ways it impacts the business–from building trust to increasing loyalty to driving brand awareness. Even greater though is that fact that PR has a direct and very prominent role in driving leads and business value. You just have to know the right metrics to watch.
MediaHQ can help you up your PR game when it comes to media intelligence—knowing what worked or what didn’t work for your company after a PR campaign, will guarantee your future success in campaigns to come and secure the future of your company. Find out more here or call 01 254 1845.