Get people to say nice things about your brand.
That’s what PR is. Simple concept, really.
Unfortunately, this simple concept is rather hard to execute. It’s not all after work drinks and glamorous parties.
On top of networking, PR teams are always busy writing press releases, sending outreach emails, launching social media campaigns, and more. And it’s so easy to get drowned in these daily tasks that you lose sight of the most important – the ROI.
How good do you think your PR efforts are? Awesome? So-so?
If your answer is “uh…not sure,” then you might want to slow down, take a break, and read these six signs we’ve identified for teams that need better PR ROI tracking:
6 signs you need better tracking for your PR ROI:
If any of these statements describe you, you might want to start tracking your PR impact and ROI better.
1. Your brand isn’t getting PR coverage or driving online discussions
It’s not that people don’t like your brand. It’s that they don’t even know it exists. Not being talked about is every PR executive’s worst nightmare. Even bad publicity is better than no publicity.
You just launched the best product in the world that your whole team spent 5 months developing?
It’s not your fault. Or is it?
You’re doing everything. Product launches, webinars, social media campaigns, and a lot of blog posts – but people just don’t seem to care. Journalists aren’t writing about you, and that dedicated hashtag you created for your campaign was used just by you and your coworkers.
When you’re not getting (enough) brand coverage or discussions, some possible culprits might be:
- Not targeting the right audience
- Not promoting in the right channels
- Not reaching the right influencers
Or, your product/service is just bad…
Just kidding – but if your brand isn’t getting the coverage you want even though your team is working their butts off, that’s the biggest sign that you need to track your PR ROI and efforts better.
2. You don’t know what’s driving the buzz
Assuming you do get some coverage and online buzz for your brand or campaign. You got featured in some major publications, and your campaign hashtag is trending on Twitter.
But was it a fluke? Do you know what or who’s driving the buzz? Can you reproduce it or amplify the effects?
Great PR professionals know that successful companies build brands for the long term. And you can’t rely on luck forever. So if you managed to get online coverage or a lot of buzz, you need to know whether it’s driven by:
- Current customers who love your products or services?
- Influencers or journalists you’re working with?
- Influencers or journalists you didn’t know?
- Random people?
Simply put, you can’t double down or do more of what’s working, if you don’t know what it is.
3. You don’t know how successful your current PR efforts are
You may have an awesome, super hard-working team that’s spending days and nights launching campaigns and reaching out to influencers on different channels to get more buzz for your brand.
But you can’t tell how much these efforts are paying off. Or, you may manage to get a lot of online mentions, but you don’t know if those discussions are bringing you more traffic, better SEO ROI, more email signups, more sales, or whatever actions you want people to take.
Without clear metrics or data to analyze the before and after, a lot of these questions go unanswered:
- How many online discussions are driven by your PR efforts?
- Are you targeting the right audience?
- How do people feel about your brand?
- How many of these discussions drive sales?
For all you know, you may be wasting all your budget on the channels and people that don’t do anything for your brand.
4. You’re missing PR mentions
It takes a lot of brand building and shoulder-rubbing to get PR coverage and online discussions. But what’s worse than not getting mentioned, is getting mentioned but not knowing you did.
How many times have you heard from someone else that they’ve read about your brand in an article that you didn’t know existed?
And why does it matter if you don’t know about these online discussions?
- You miss opportunities to expand your brand reach. Once you find out someone mentioned your brand, you can help share it and spread the word. If it’s an influencer or brand you weren’t acquainted with, you can also reach out and build a long-term partnership.
- You can’t do fact checks. In the age of grassroots journalism, anyone can publish anything. If you don’t know when you’re talked about, you can’t check if there’s any misinformation, or protect your brand against fake news.
- You miss opportunities to impress your boss/client. This last one needs no explanation. You can’t take credit for your hard work if you don’t know it paid off. You can’t prove your PR ROI if you aren’t tracking it.
Basically, it’s like making all these efforts to impress a guy, giving him your number, desperately waiting for him to call, but then leaving your phone in your bathroom and never checking it.
Okay maybe it’s not quite like that, but you get the idea.
5. Your PR reports take you forever to prepare
You dread doing your PR reports. But you know you need them. You need them to report to your boss, to evaluate and share with your team, or to impress your clients (and justify your hefty retainer.)
Only it takes you so much time. You log in to several social media accounts, open the emails from Google Alerts one by one, do some manual Google searching, and take a lot of screenshots.
The worst part? You aren’t even sure if the “data” you have is that reliable.
6. You rely on feelings and intuition for your PR efforts
So instead of looking at the “hard numbers,” you trust your gut. You do what feels right. You launch campaigns on Facebook because Garyvee says it works.
When your team ask you how they should choose which influencer to work with, or what channels to promote on, you tell them, “you just…know.”
And what happens when you have no real strategy, or set metrics to measure your success?
Well…you guessed it. You don’t succeed. Or, you won’t know if you did.
What gets measured gets managed
Measuring is really just a fancy way to say “knowing.” You can’t manage or improve what you don’t know about.
I might have exaggerated the above examples or scenarios. And I know (hope) that nobody has it as bad as I put it. But if you identify yourself just a little bit in the above statements, why not try looking into some new tools to track and report your PR efforts?