Determining Success: The Value of PR

One of the most challenging sides of public relations is helping the decision makers who pull the budget strings understand the value of the service you provide. Whether with clients or superiors, understanding how to show the value of your work will go a long way.

The first step: Determine What Success Looks Like

Unfortunately there is no sweeping measurement to determine success. Each person will have a different idea of what success will be. So before you start pitching ideas and shooting out releases take some time with your client or boss to find out what success will look like. For one client it might be an appearance on a nationally syndicated show, for another it may mean getting a post on a targeted blog, for yet another it may be attracting investors. Whatever “it” is, setting a goal and determining what success looks like will help you establish the basis for determining success.

The second step: Deciding How to Measure Success

Once you’ve got a clear understanding of what success will look like, your next course of action is setting up a system to measure your progress. One extremely important part of this step is to make sure the client is involved. Don’t simply assume you know what they would consider a good indicator of performance. Arrange logs, reports and updates around specific quantitative goals. Whether it’s a direct “inches to dollars” comparison or creating a list of specific media targets make sure it’s something you can measure.

The third step: Measuring Progress

Except for rare instances “public relations” doesn’t happen overnight. Reaching specific goals and achieving success will come over time. Once you and your client have decided what success will look like and how you are going to measure that success, you need to track your progress. This will take time but having a physical track record will help you and your client see what you’ve done and where you still need to go.