Public relations return on investment (ROI) is a constantly debated topic. Unlike sales, advertising, and marketing -- public relations has traditionally been more difficult to track. So how do you know if your PR efforts are accomplishing what you set out to accomplish?
The following list can help:
- Plan the work; work the plan. All public relations plans should include objectives, strategies, tactics, timelines, budgets and expected outcomes. The public relations agency and client should be in agreement regarding reasonable expectations.
- Establish mutually agreed-upon metrics. After the PR agency and client agree on metrics, it’s the agency’s job to report and deliver on the metrics. One of the best ways to do this is by tying results back to the client’s main objectives.
- Build relationships. While difficult to quantify, most clients desire strong relationships from its PR partner. Relationships with media, KOLs, patient advocacy groups, and influential academic and governmental press officers. Set a goal of how many relationships you will establish and nurture for your client.
- Quantify media placement value. Negotiate with your client the value of different kinds of earned media placements. A national mainstream TV or newspaper placement may carry more weight than an online trade magazine.
In addition to these considerations, good PR firms should also develop dashboard metrics for the following PR deliverables:
- Development of approved media messages;
- Number of journalists relationships;
- Social media engagement metrics;
- Number of patient advocacy engagements;
- Development and maintenance of an online press room;
- Number of blogger relationships;
- Development and management of an issues management process;
- Development of approved corporate Q&A; and
- Number of media-trained spokespersons.
Dashboard tracking should be used to efficiently track metrics. ROI Dashboards report successfully completed, in progress, and failed-to-complete metrics. Dashboards help keep an honest and open relationship with the client and the agency. It can reveal flaws in a plan unknown in the beginning of the relationship.
If your agency is not offering any ROI or dashboard metrics, ask them why. If you are not requiring any ROI metrics from your agency, you should consider building expectations up front. This will contribute to the agency/client trust and contribute to a long-term relationship and PR success.
If you are seeking better PR metrics, please download our new E-book: Maximizing Public
Relations Agency ROI -- A Focus on Life Science Organizations.