Ask most PR professionals and they’ll tell you that measuring the value of public relations is hard to express. As a result, they’ll say, it’s hard to be specific about the value they deliver. The return on your investment is affected by so many variables it is hard to be able to give you tangible outcomes.
It’s all a lie. Here’s how to measure the success of public relations. It’s all in the strength of the relationships build or maintained as a result of your PR activities. We do it every day in our private lives, so why do we find it so difficult to do it in our businesses?
Think about the most important people to your business right now. Do you have relationships with them at all? If not, they score a zero.
Of the people you have relationships with how strong are those connections? Would they drop everything to help you if you asked them to? Would they willingly do everything within their power to help your business overcome its current challenge? Will they go to bat for you if you needed them to? Will they introduce you to people within their network that may have a need for your product or service? Will they testify to your credibility or vouch for the quality of your work?
If they would then score those relationships a 10.
If they’re not a 10 then you need to figure out where on the scale they are currently.
Perhaps they’re a new connection that will help you with advice, or will provide feedback on your product development. They might be willing to introduce you to people that are potential customers or partners, but won’t provide a reference or testimonial. They will help if they can, but you can’t guarantee they’ll come rushing in an emergency. Would they help if they really were your last hope? What incentive would you need to offer in order to get them to help your business if you needed them to? Do you have direct access to them? Who are the people that you rely on to give you the access you need? Do you loose access to these people without the intermediary?
Make a list of the top ten people your business needs relationships with and score them, between 0 and 10, based on these criteria. Having benchmarked the relationships that are most important to your business achieving its next milestone you can develop a PR programme designed to build, strengthen, or maintain these relationships.
Measuring the success of your PR activities can then be tracked, based on whether these relationships strengthen, weaken or whether you are able to maintain them until you have achieved your desired outcome. If you reevaluate each of your ten most important relationships every 30 days you can quickly see the impact that public relations is having on your business.
Startup and SmallBiz PR and marketing tip: benchmark relationship strength and build a plan to ensure you have the ones you need in place.