Those in public relations are now being asked for tangible numbers to prove their effectiveness.
The age of ambiguous promises from public relations agencies is long gone. Following the evolution of advertising agencies being required to provide a tangible return on investment, Public Relations companies are now being asked to do the same. Many businesses are requiring agencies to move toward a results-based contract versus and open ended agreement based solely on defined activities.
If you’re planning on working with a Public Relations firm, or plan to manage your own public relations team, there are a few simple guidelines you should follow to insure that you’re getting your money’s worth:
- Number of Media Contacts per X – Come to terms with the level of contact your agency should be having with media on a regular basis. How many reporters have they pitched in a given week? Although this measure isn’t specifically focused on results, you’ll get a strong sense of activity being put forth.
- Number of Editors Considering a Story – Based on the number of media contacts and the level of engagement shown during the initial pitch, how many editors are considering a story related to your specified topic/company? There will most likely be those editors who are not interested, others who are considering a story, and those who are likely to move forward.
- Number of Articles Published – What are the total number of mentions that the agency can deliver in a given week or month. There should be a specific goal created that aligns with your public relations objectives. Be sure to consider all mentions regardless of media used (newspaper, Internet, Radio, Television, etc.)
You can clearly see that choosing a public relations agency, or taking on a public relations effort on your own terms, should have clear objectives and measurement defined early on. Reporting against these pre-defined measurements can help you identify where your public relations efforts are compared to the overall objectives you’re trying to reach.