As PR professionals, the most challenging part of our jobs isn’t the hours of client research, coming up with creative marketing ploys, crafting press releases or creating compelling content for our clients (or chasing celebs down the occasional red carpet); it’s measuring and demonstrating the numerical/monetized success of a PR campaign. One major question people have is: how do clients know PR is successful for their business? While PR is a growing sector for businesses, it is still misunderstood by many people. Without fully understanding the concept of public relations, it’s nearly impossible to understand how to quantify it.
DAH DUH DUH DAHHHH! NEON PR BLOG POST TO THE RESCUE! The first major thing we have to explain to clients seeking PR assistance is that we are NOT strictly marketing; PR is more about telling the story of a business and building relationships… NOT advertising the latest product, package, or prices (IE marketing and sales). If we are doing our jobs correctly, we will build a relationship and trust with current and new customers that create loyal customers for a business. The loyal customers that we gain for a business is qualitative and can take time to turn into a sale (patience is virtuous, but you’ll thank us later). If you want quick sales where you can count your money earned immediately, you need a sales person; however, if you want a long lasting business with loyal customers, your best bet is PR.
While most of what we do is qualitative, there are a few tangible measurements that we can use to show everyone, contrary to popular belief, that PR is factually beneficial for a business. The first is counting site traffic. Social media is a major part of society; it seems everyone has a Twitter handle, Facebook account, and/or a website nowadays. In fact, sometimes the best way to contact someone you don’t yet know is easily done now via social media accounts. The same thing applies for businesses—when you like what a business has to offer, you usually follow their social media accounts. This can be a great way to track how many connections a business makes. So when a PR campaign starts, make sure to look at before and after traffic. The Boston Marathon is a great example of an organization that used this method to demonstrate its success. As a once-a-year event, it’s challenging to create a fan base because people don’t think about that event until that time of year. In order for the race to engage its customers throughout the year, they hosted online events and online chats with major runners. (Who interested in running wouldn’t want to talk to professionals on how to stay hydrated, what to do pre-marathon, and how to train for the marathon?!) These engagements became more frequent in the time leading up to the event, creating a greater online footprint for the Boston Marathon. Within a three month timespan, they gained 700 followers, which at the time was more followers than the New York marathon (which is a bigger marathon with more participants). This enabled the Boston Marathon social team and event organizers to see how many people they were reaching and allowed them to be able to measure how well the PR campaign was doing within a certain timeframe.
Another tangible measurement is the amount of press written on a business. Every news outlet has a following or readership, some are more recognizable than others (IE E! news, Wall Street Journal, etc). We can use the number of followers to show how many people we are reaching. A successful campaign can be demonstrated by our very own company. Sky Combat Ace is a client of ours that offers a unique experience and they have recently been featured on:
- Geek and Sundry: Fight and FlightLUnplugged – site receives 800,000+ unique visitors
- Wall Street Journal: Anyone can fly this Stunt Plane, for a plane – site receives 7,800,000+ unique visitors
- Askmen Australia: Sky Combat Ace-No man should Die before experiencing this – site receives 800,000+ unique monthly visitors
- Showtime: Gigolos: Season 5, Episode 9 – episode receives 1.2 million viewers
Through these four media outlets, Sky Combat Ace’s story was exposed to 10.6 million people just within a two-month period. This measurement can provide people a snapshot of how well a PR campaign is going and prove that it is an investment in a business’s future.