Proving PR success

PR Campaigns | PR investment | PR outcomes
Every penny of your marketing budget must earn its keep. Even in large businesses, marketing departments need to fight for their share of the annual budget and defend every pound, dollar and euro spent. So, how can you prove return on investment (ROI) for your PR campaign?

By Kirsty McMahon, junior account manager

When Steve Jobs took the reins at Apple in the 90s the business was in bad shape. He turned it around by being a smart marketer. Today, Apple spends more on marketing and sales than it does on research and development.

Now, I’m not saying you need to become one the world’s biggest brands to demonstrate that your PR campaign is working . The key to measuring the success of a campaign is being SMART.

SMART value
It’s impossible to measure anything without solid key performance indicators (KPIs). If you don’t outline from the outset what the campaign needs to achieve to be considered successful, you will not be able to demonstrate ROI at the end of the campaign.

Start by setting objectives that are SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound. The best way to do this is to sit with your PR agency and have an honest conversation about what you consider success to be.

For example, if your agency has interpreted your initial brief to believe that getting you a stronger social media following would create success, but you’d rather develop a presence in print trade media, your campaign will fail.

Agree on SMART objectives together that are realistic and clear from the outset and it becomes much easier to prove ROI.

Measure as you go
What you see as valuable may change throughout your campaign. This is fine. In fact, campaigns should be agile and ready to adapt. This is why it is so important to measure output and outcomes throughout.

Keeping track of output, such as how many articles have been written each month, allows you to measure whether enough content is produced to meet your service level. However, it’s the results of this content that will help you fight for more PR budget next year.

Outcomes prove results for your investment, but waiting until the end of your campaign to review these outcomes is too late. Make sure that your PR agency supplies you with a monthly report to track how you are progressing towards your SMART objectives. That way, you can assess together whether the campaign needs to adapt.

At Stone Junction we use various systems to track coverage, the value of that coverage, social media follower growth, content output, search engine optimisation (SEO) results and much more. These metrics mean that we can generate an updated report for our clients whenever they like, in addition to regular monthly campaign updates.

Keeping the latest data on hand to compare to your SMART objectives will empower you to demonstrate ROI throughout your PR campaign. Give me a call to discuss other ways to ensure you get the most out of your PR budget on +44 (0)1785 225416.

Kirsty McMahon

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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