What’s PR bringing to the party?

What’s PR bringing to the party?

By Janice Baker

Sometimes you throw a party and ask all of your friends to bring something to contribute to the festivities. As always, there is that one friend who doesn’t bring anything — let’s just call her P.R. for short. Initially you are quite upset because the value P.R. brings to the party isn’t immediately evident, but then you notice something — she’s the life of the party!

Just because you can’t taste or touch what P.R. brought doesn’t mean you don’t need her there. She’s working the room, and soon your party is trending on Twitter — #EPICNESS! And, thanks to an impromptu dance-off there is a video on YouTube with 10,000 views because of a photo your “new bestie” uploaded on Instagram with a link embedded for a very loyal fan base of followers.

Best. Night. Ever.

Public relations, like our friend P.R., can generate a lot of buzz without needing to spend a lot of money. The key to this begins when you determine exactly what you want to achieve and how you will measure that success. A good campaign applies all the strategic elements of marketing so that you can get in all the channels where your target audience is to cause some sort of action. There are many ways to evaluate a campaign’s effectiveness, whether qualitative or quantitative. In addition to considering whether a campaign helped meet your strategic objectives, there actually are some quantitative tactical measurements to help get you started, including:

  • Mentions: Use technology to gather how many mentions your company, initiative or event gained in traditional media and in social media. Measure sentiment, viral reach and engagement.
  • Placement value: Where a mention is placed is a major factor when determining the value of a campaign. Did your article get placed above or below the crease on the front page of the major daily? Is there some sort of online accompaniment to the article? Was your product or service discussed on the national or local news? How many times was your spokesperson ‘teased’ before appearing?
  • Time: How much time is being spent discussing your campaign? Are you getting a spokesperson on national television? Did that radio interview go viral? The longer your campaign is in the limelight receiving positive attention, the more value you’re getting for your buck.

When all is said is done, you have to decide if the coverage achieved the goals you established at the beginning and whether more research into the data is required to determine outcomes. But these standard measurements should help you start to think about what you’re getting out of PR. Critically evaluate what works and what doesn’t so you can continue to add value to future campaigns.

Image courtesy Flickr user Steve Johnson

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