For businesses that want to set themselves apart from the competition, it’s crucial to invest in PR. But knowing when your PR efforts have achieved a good return on investment can be difficult. Measurement of success in a PR campaign is tricky, since PR may be only one of several communications activities contributing to brand perceptions.
At Walker Sands, 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, companies can acquire a great PR return on investment.
How to Measure a Good Return on Investment for PR
It’s hard to determine whether your PR campaign is realizing a good return on investment. The Walker Sands PR team has put together a few ways to track your results so you can decide whether you’re getting the PR ROI you deserve:
- Press Clippings. 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 clips need to appear in publications that appeal to your target audience.
- Media Impressions. 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.
- Message Quality. 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.
4 Steps to Earn a Good PR Return on Investment
To ensure that your company obtains a good PR return on investment, you need to take an organized, realistic approach to PR. Because measuring PR is more qualitative than quantitative, many executives struggle to understand which parts of PR are responsible for a business’ success. The Walker Sands PR team can help your business deliver a good return on investment with these steps:
- Determine PR Objectives.
One of the fundamental aspects of any PR program is goal-setting. A PR campaign’s goals should be as specific and quantitative as possible. When planning a PR effort, businesses should consider certain questions to gain the largest PR ROI: Who are we targeting? What is our intended message? When will our message reach our audience? How much change are we expecting to see? Companies set themselves up to score a good return on investment by defining a PR campaign’s objectives.
- 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.
- Procure 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 utilize PR strategies to acquire a good return on investment.
- Recognize 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 confidence that they are benefitting their business in the long run.
Companies in the process of spreading the word about their product or service will greatly benefit from these strategies to maximize a business’ PR ROI. Although implementing a PR campaign can be daunting, businesses should follow these strategies to obtain a good return on investment for PR.