PR ROI – Measuring PR results to increase revenue

PR ROI is about using PR to increase your revenue. Everything else is noise. ROI has to be one of the most overused acronyms in the past decade. No activity has been left unturned to ensure that every drop of return has been found. PR is no exception. The UK’s Institute of Public Relations finds the term ROI to be misleading and prefers the term ‘outcome. It seems, however, that practitioners use ROI to put themselves on equal footing with other disciplines and shows the seriousness of their profession. You can find discussions of PR ROI throughout the discipline’s history with the age-old, though allegedly in disrepute, advertising-dollar-equivalent (AVE) still being used to justify investing in PR (Metrica found out that the use of AVE has increased from 28% to 49% over the last decade.) PR is one of the most cost-effective ways to get your message out-there. Though less controllable than direct marketing, it benefits from the third-party endorsement that its cousin doesn’t. So how do you start measuring your PR ROI? First, ask yourself why you would do PR. It’s a simple question but a powerful one. Many a times, the quality of PR reflects the beliefs of the company’s leader. Some use it to satisfy their ego, others simply tolerate it while treating as an expense with no or little value. The better leaders will see PR as a business strategy helping them to build revenue and to do so, they need to be the best at it. The complexity of today’s companies and the business environment they work in requires nothing less. Ignoring PR, just like ignoring any other of the companies’ structural activities (sales, finance, HR, etc.), can only be done at your own risk, and don’t complain when the wrong wind comes your way. PR is all about changing people’s attitude so they become willing to try and use your product or services. It’s about selling, though not in the hardcore, in-your-face, way we equate the selling profession with. It creates familiarity, it offers the reader a chance to evaluate, to be accepted as a reasonable option worth looking into, in B2B parlance, a chance to be invited to the table and pitch your case. PR is not a panacea but it’s an important tool in your business arsenal and like any other tool, you need to be able to measure its results effectively. There are many ways to measure the value of PR. Here is a non exhaustive list of questions that will help you define it: • Clipping: How many articles did you get? What where their tone? Were they positive, negative, neutral? Was your mention prominent? Dominant? In the article? • Are you mentioned on equal footings with your competitors? Are you measuring well in independent comparisons? • Have you asked your prospect or customer the source of their info? • Can you measure the difference in demand before and after a PR campaign? • How many additional hits did your website achieve during your campaign? What was the percentage of those hits that turned into inquiries? Into sales? • Has the perception of your brand changed after the PR campaign? Did you know what it was before? • Did you receive any industry awards? How did it impact your invitations to speak at events? • Do you know the acquisition cost of leads? Can you correlate with their source? • What is your cost of reach (cost per thousand, CPT or CPM in the online world)? • Do you know your net promoter effect? i.e., how many people would recommend you? • Can you correlate with business outcomes: did your target buy more? • Can you invest in econometrics modeling? Do you have access to the information you need to do so? (yes, that age old tool can save the day) These few questions will allow to start define your measurement strategy. It’s not an easy task but a worthy one, and PR deserves to be measured to ensure it’s efficient and effective. Whether you measure the amount of coverage or the realisation of your objective, the future of PR resides in effectively measuring its impact. There are many ways to do it but it looks like web metrics will play an even bigger role in measuring the value of PR coverage and even link it to an actual sales lead. Now, what is the value of a PR coup again? Sources: ROI or evidence-based PR: The language of public relations evaluation http://praxis.massey.ac.nz/fileadmin/Praxis/Files/Journal_Files/Issue3/Watson.pdf ROI – Is statistical modeling the answer? Depends on the question. http://metricsman.wordpress.com/2006/06/15/roi-is-statistical-modeling-the-answer-depends-on-the-question/ Catching Buzz in a Bottle: Calculating Your PR ROI http://www.backboneinc.com/company/pt/pt05.html Proving The Bottom Line Impact of Media Relations http://www.kcwriter.com/Delahayne_Medialink.htm Measuring Public Relations ROI http://www.imakenews.com/sugarcrestreport/e_article000199720.cfm Review of PR ROI techniques http://www.metrica.net/measurementmatters/?tag=/measuring+pr+roi Measure the Puzzle Not the Pieces http://metricsman.wordpress.com/2010/05/01/measure-the-puzzle-not-the-pieces/ Measuring PR ROI Is More Important Than Ever, But Social Media Makes It Harder Than Ever http://aquariusadvisers.com/?p=1403 Perspectives on the ROI of Media Relations Publicity Efforts http://www.instituteforpr.org/files/uploads/2006_ROI_LRW.pdf Measuring the ROI of PR http://blogs.zdnet.com/Foremski/?p=641 Tracking the Return On Investment of Your PR Campaign http://www.veronikanoize.com/pr_roi Do Your Communication Programs Measure Up? http://overtonecomm.blogspot.com/2008/01/do-your-communication-programs-measure.html

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