By Conor Heslin, senior account executive at Eskenzi PR
PR is a slippery thing to define. Because so much of public relations is about the consumer’s awareness of a company, campaign or brand, it can often create friction between agencies and clients in terms of a desired outcome. So how can you ensure you’re prepared to measure PR success? I’ll provide five key areas in the following blog post:
1. Have a strategy in place
Before you even start thinking about measuring PR, you need to ensure you have an approved, concrete PR strategy in place. This means that you will have clearly identifiable themes to track in the media. Failing to have a cohesive PR strategy in place will mean that the process of tracking PR will become too convoluted to provide an accurate picture of where your company is.
2. Know your competitors
One of the biggest mistakes companies can make when starting on their PR journeys is not knowing who their competitors are. Make sure you’ve researched your market place accurately, knowing which other businesses offer the same services and tools as you. Once this has been established, set up competitor media mentions tracking using services such as Meltwater or Trendkite, making sure to filter out any coverage which is not ‘quality’ coverage such as market reports for listed companies.
3. Know your size
Similarly, it’s crucial that you know your businesses size. What constitutes PR success for a market leading organisation and a challenger brand is vastly different and knowing this going into a PR plan is crucial. In the cybersecurity space for example, a company such as McAfee, a trailblazing global player with a famous (or infamous) founder and years of experience would automatically gain more coverage than your average Silicon Valley start-up offering similar services; For companies such as this to get any kind of foothold in the press when competing with global players such as this would constitute a success.
4. Remember PR is not marketing
While there’s often a lot of overlap between the two departments, for PR and marketing to be successful, they need to remain distinctive, separate entities. While marketing is designed to draw sales, leads and capital to a business, PR has altogether more fluid concerns; making sure a company is seen as a thought leader in their own field, offering educational and advisory content and ensuring the company remains at the forefront of the consumer or decision maker’s minds; failing to realise this will lead to a misunderstanding of the purpose of PR altogether.
5. Be patient
PR is the art of the long game. While spikes in coverage are obviously very satisfying to see and can create a ‘buzz’ around a company, it will take months, or even years to see if a PR strategy has worked. So be patient, and you’ll reap the benefits!