Measuring Public Relations

by Roger Pynn

Here’s a Huffington Post blog item on the measurement of and return on investment from public relations.  I find it interesting because for all its interesting insights it misses one striking point.  The practice of public relations is a process, not a form of communication.  It is a conglomeration of strategies and tactics that require planned, careful, nimble implementation … and a healthy willingness to recalibrate in response to the dynamic environment organizations live in today.

All of the opinions offered in this article are worthy of attention both from people in our world, as well as the clients we serve.  You’ll learn from five folk recognized for their knowledge in this ever-changing profession … several of whom I follow regularly.

One offering in the post really stands out.  Julie Wright (@juliewright), president of (W)right On Communications, says to give it time.  “Predictable, consistent, and, of course, interesting communication is the key to build trust and relationships with our audiences.”

But the focus seems to be on outcomes that are clearly and often ethically beyond our control.  We can’t promise placement of your story.  We can only make every effort to get your story told and target the most appropriate media.  It is up to them to decide what makes news.  Nor can we promise to increase sales.  We can, however, create an environment in which selling is easier … if we do our job.

We tell clients from the outset that the most important measurement of our services is to track whether we do what we say we will do.  In fact, at every client meeting we focus on that metric.  One long-term client who has been with our firm more than two decades fanatically tracks what we promise him.  A power user of Outlook, he has every statement I’ve ever made attached to my contact and his calendar.

Now that’s attention to detail.

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