PR professionals are often misconstrued as having the easiest jobs ever, but according to CareerAddict, Public Relations is the 8th most stressful job in the world considering the amount of time and dedication that goes into managing the reputation of clients and ensuring that their image is not tarnished.
It doesn't come as a surprise since PR has great power for the growth of any business. However, some clients view their demands with a hefty dose of cynicism solely because they barely hold any understanding of its value. This is something that PR pros often struggle with; proving the value of their work.
It has long been predicted that PR will soon become integrated into marketing or even worse, devoured. This follows the failure by some PR practitioners to prove their worth; to give their clients a conclusive report on the performance of their role and how they met their client's expectations and whether they delivered on promises or contributed to the growth or the success of a brand.
Although proving the worth of PR pros remains a daunting challenge, it is worth noting that if the practitioners committed to achieving what is required with fervency and determination, their role will be more pronounced and better results will be yielded.
That said, how can PR professionals show that what they do contributes to a brand's growth? How do we prove the value of PR?
- Set Reasonable Objectives
This is a first in many ways of proving the PR value. You want to show your clients that the objectives and goals in your strategy aligns with what the client/company seeks to achieve. Here, outline the reasons why you are investing time and resources for a specific task, the outcome you're hoping for, the key message, and the process to which you are going to achieve them.
Your objectives should be measurable, meaningful, and reasonable. Without them, guiding the silver bullet that clients seek and making an impact will remain a challenge. Ensure that your objectives can be conspicuously articulated, reflected in your client's overall objectives, and achievable; that is to mean you shouldn't set over-ambitious goals. Use these criteria to keep track and evaluate the results throughout the period in question.
- Commit to Measurement
The only way this can happen is if the objectives you set are quantifiable in every way possible. All the goals outlined with the client should facilitate easy evaluation during the assessment. For instance, if a brand has been receiving negative coverage and you want to counter or keep the sentiments below 8% and manage 7%, use your report to support your success.
Always remember to choose the right metrics and KPIs and establish how you are going the quantify and benchmark the progress as time goes by.
Consecutively, measuring success largely depends on the baseline you use; that is, the previous results. They determine whether and by what figure did your success hit. However, if there is no such baseline to use and this is the first time, establishing one using the industry standards and benchmarking against the competition is highly recommended.
- Analyze Your Results
At this stage, what you want to do is cohesively demonstrate your success. This is done by presenting a single and conclusive report that depicts the results while telling the project's story.
The conventional way that many would tell you to follow is, to begin with an introduction that highlights the reason behind the campaign you undertook and the objectives that needed to be achieved. However, the pivotal point that will clearly tell of the value of your work is to convey the performance consistently and constantly, regardless of whether the clients want evaluation or not.
A clearly evaluated report creates a thirst for future, or more measurement, and over time, more trust, credibility, and resources for the PR team. Always be committed and willing to measure and negotiate quantifiable objectives with your clients.
Proving the PR value largely depends on the client and the objectives to be met and while at it, here are a few key points to note that will form the basis of your value demonstration.
1. Organization's Objectives
Find out first what your client seeks to achieve, then align them to match your PR strategy. This can be done through a direct inquiry – asking the management – or an indirect inquiry – through reviews of your client's organization, all the speeches of its executives, the reports, and the issues surrounding the industry.
While directly dealing with the management, you should find out about the overall objectives the company is seeking to achieve. The indirect approach helps you add context to the goals while negating the limitation of plans only to what your PR strategy dictates. It is important to have a broader perspective on all the aspects of the campaign for better, comprehensive, and quantifiable results.
2. Client's Preferences
Some clients or companies often have a unique evaluation preference they deem necessary for measuring the role of PR. Whether it is about beating the competition or having a positive media coverage, ensure that the metric you uncover is aligned with the PR tactics and strategies.
3. Delivering the Results
As a PR pro, you are well conversant with terms like 'hits,' 'media awareness,' 'buzz,' and the like, but your client may not have the slightest idea what they mean. In that case, while delivering the results, speak the language of the client and avoid confusing them with jargon.
Make a presentation in a manner that demonstrates results in comparison with the objectives, results vs competitors or results over time. This is more understandable from a client's point of view and your success story is better understood.
It really is no tough math. If your score is a 10, and your competitor's score is an 8 and the year before you hit a 9, what the client wants to know is not your methodology on how you arrived at the results but if they beat the competition and by what percentage.