By Rachel Sherman
While public relations professionals are faced with many day-to-day challenges, one in particular is at the forefront when it comes to conversations with the CEO – proving the value of PR to an organization. Tracking and measuring the value of media hits and social network mentions are major factors in demonstrating the return on investment of public relations programs. With the end of the year approaching, organizations will be planning budgets and looking for ways to save. Here are some things to think about as you prepare for doing more with less in 2013.
Mentions worth mentioning
Presenting a comprehensive collection of the hits you have generated throughout the year is an effective way of demonstrating your public relations successes so it’s important to evaluate how you’re capturing your media hits. Some questions you should ask yourself:
- How can I be confident that I am seeing all my media hits?
- How many media hits did my competitors get and how do I compare?
- How much time am I spending sorting through and removing irrelevant content?
- How effective is my system for archiving hits and compiling them for easy access and review?
If your answers leave you feeling like the solution you’re relying on isn’t up to scratch, it may be time to reassess your toolset. There are cost-effective solutions available that will serve up a daily compilation of not only your media hits, but those of your competitors as well as industry news. Look for a solution that will provide a vetted list of your coverage to save you time from having to scan through immaterial content. Also consider a solution that includes a customized portal allowing you keep a historical record of your hits so you can access them at any time.
Social media matters
The amount of conversation on social media networks is staggering, especially for global brands. Keeping up with what is being said can be overwhelming, not to mention understanding the influence it may have on your brand image. Getting a handle on online chatter and determining its impact are key to proving the value of PR in your organization. To ensure your social media monitoring is under control, you should consider the following:
- How many resources are being devoted to monitoring social media?
- How can I understand the general sentiment expressed in tweets and posts?
- How am I participating in online conversations about my brand?
- How can I identify the biggest influencers relative to my brand and know what they are saying?
As budgets shrink it may be time to think about the opportunity cost of managing social media in-house and shifting the focus of those resources to business critical items. While there are automated tools available, they lack the technology to identify sentiment in all online conversations accurately. This can make meaningful integration with the online community very difficult. It may be time to identify a solution that can provide researchers who can filter social media chatter and score the sentiment. This can be more budget-friendly than you may realize.
The bottom line
So now you’ve tracked your media hits and you know what’s being said about you on social media networks, but the most important part of proving the value of public relations in your organization is analyzing it all to understand its ROI. Your CEO is looking for measurable indicators of success. Have answers to the following:
- The value of your media hits and the quality of the message
- The outlets driving your coverage and the influencers talking about your brand
- The sentiment generated by your coverage and the effect on your brand
- How much time and money the organization saved as a result of your efforts
Understanding the impact of your coverage will allow you to be smarter when planning future campaigns and strategies which will ultimately have an impact on your bottom line. Luckily there are services available that provide in-depth analysis and measurement of your media hits and mentions leaving you time to focus on the big picture – building successful PR programs.
If you would like more information about available solutions, or if you have questions about how to best evaluate such solutions, post a comment on our blog and we will get back to you promptly.