If we traveled back in time to see what the public relations field was like in the 1950s, we would hardly recognize it. So much has changed that our entire approach differs from that of yesteryear. And with these daily changes comes a new way of reporting successes.
The fact of the matter is that clients are more careful today when determining how much they should invest in different traditional PR and social media tactics. And why shouldn’t they be? Nobody wants to waste their time with a tactic that isn’t generating results. In order to prove to clients that their efforts are justified, PR and social media professionals need to show the benefits that come from proper evaluation. But where should you begin your reporting? Try starting with these proof points:
- Know your total impressions: Impressions are one of the most commonly used metrics in PR and social media, but people sometimes have difficulty defining it. Think of it this way: If you’re scrolling through Facebook and come across a post in your newsfeed from a brand you follow, or read an online article that mentions a brand, that counts as one impression. It’s a broad definition, but impressions should be the starting point when reporting rather than the final metric. If your impressions are high, then your brand is in a much better position to engage with potential customers.
- Determine where your brand stands against competitors: It’s no secret that clients want to stand out from their competition. But before you set out to shine brighter than your competitors, start by measuring where your brand currently stands. Are you tracking the right competitors? How will you justify your brand’s current Share Of Voice (SOV)? By determining how the coverage your brand receives compares to its competitors, you’ll be able to learn what areas can be improved in order to take a larger slice of the SOV pie.
- Assess the sentiment of the conversation: Seeing articles or social media mentions that discuss your brand is always exciting; until you realize some of those conversations don’t have the nicest tone. A negative sentiment may be discouraging, but there is a silver lining. By showing the overall sentiment, clients can see how customers and journalists are discussing their brand, which can guide their efforts moving forward.
Of course, there are plenty of other metrics to choose from when evaluating results. No matter which ones you decide to highlight, the results must be linked to business outcomes that help push the brand closer to its organizational goals. According to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), brands that understand the benefits of modern PR metrics are able to set “smarter objectives, develop better strategies, and employ more compelling and engaging tactics.” By setting an appropriate plan in place at the beginning, there’s no reason that brands can’t enjoy strong results from their PR initiatives. And it’s these strong results that have transformed PR over the years.
Are you ready to leverage the analytics modern PR has to offer your brand? Contact us to learn more about the value to PR and social media reporting.
Over the years, I’ve heard many people say that they made a “good change” to a program. I’ve never heard anyone say, “I’m going to make a bad change.”
Everyone makes recommendations with the intent of making things better. The problem is that it can be hard to tell whether our recommendations will have a positive or negative impact until we look at end results. What we can do, however, is open the lines of communication to minimize uncertainty.
One of the key parts of my job is working with clients to implement and optimize programs based on actual outcomes. This is facilitated when clients treat our relationship as a partnership—strongly valuing collaboration and open communication.
The client-agency partnership isn’t an equal one. The final decision on everything rests—rightly—with the client. But the partnership is equal in some respects—such as in the sharing of data throughout the sales funnel. This allows us to see where our programs are working best and where we need to make changes.
For example: What are the response rates? Which products sell the most? Which are the most profitable? Energy spent in the wrong area is wasted. And without knowing the impact of marketing on the full sales funnel, product portfolio, etc., we could be spending our resources in the wrong places. A full understanding of resources and goals is key from the outset.
Having formerly been on the client side of the marketing world, I understand the potential reticence to share budgets with agencies. Sometimes it feels better to let the other guy (i.e., the agency) give a number first. But in my experience, this only leads to confusion and a loss of time and effort.
Marketing goals and objectives help point to the client’s destination. The budget helps define how we get the client there. We could travel by rickshaw, Lamborghini, or—most likely—by means of something in between. It’s usually a matter of finding a very reliable sedan to get the job done. Knowing the budget range from the start allows us to pick the right vehicle a lot faster. Then we can use the extra time and resources to fine-tune it.
Whether we are starting a job or reviewing the results for optimization, a strong collaborative partnership between client and agency makes everything more efficient. We learn from each other and gain a deeper understanding of how we can succeed in the changing marketplace. In the end, it helps us all make more “good changes.”
See how Martino Flynn can help you learn what your potential customers are thinking.