The Case for PR Metrics – Benchmarks for Accountability and Forecasting
By Leslie Allen
In my 30 plus years of working in Public Relations, I have discovered that when it comes to press coverage, clients have a very short memory. You may have just pulled off the coup of the year, editorially speaking, but the mindset is that there is never enough good press. Alas, PR professionals are often faced with a mantra, “That’s great! But what’s next.” Which may have been the true impetus for developing PR Metrics.
Metrics, i.e. PR goals set as quantifiable expectations for the year, serves both as a benchmark for PR accountability and forecasting. Without metrics, there is little to fall back on to score if your PR professional is doing what they say they are planning to do. Just think, how many times a PR plan has been developed only to discover a year later that very few of the initiatives were accomplished, or were not that relevant to the year’s progress. It is not to say that a PR plan is not worthwhile (more on this in a future blog), it is and can be a great tool, but that they are often developed early in the client relationship when there is little known about the company in this early stage of the relationship. Metrics however have flexibility in that they do not determine content per se but rather a standard of what the client would like to see accomplished in number of releases distributed, reach, average ad dollar value and more. PR metrics can be reviewed monthly, quarterly or annually to determine if you are on track or off in a major way. Even if the client is not reviewing monthly or quarterly, your PR professional should be updating the metrics report monthly and be ready to report to the client where the company stands. This, in addition to company PR summaries provided monthly, identifies what we have done for our clients lately.
Here is a sample of PR metrics that can be used as a template for any company.
This metrics report can be revised based on your company’s unique position in the market. Are you a startup with little brand recognition or does your brand hold a lot of equity so that one article may elicit high readership. And even if you don’t fulfill all your proposed goals, don’t feel bad. There are circumstances outside our control. Who would have thought for instance that 20+ long serving consumer magazines would close or that the SEMA Show would not take place this year? There are often reasonable explanations to why you don’t reach your proposed goals. Still, if your boss/client asks…What have you done for me lately? Having a PR metrics report to show goes a long way to answering the question while giving you a sense of confidence that progress is being made. And if not, then maybe it is time to find a new PR firm.
For more information about how Martin & Company can assist with your PR goals for 2020, call 615.876.1822 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.