Demonstrating return on investment in PR is one of the most elusive—and essential—goals for communicators. As Priya Ramesh, director of social media for CRT/tanaka, says in the following Q&A, ultimately, it's the ability to translate actions into bottom-line results that will get PR a seat at the table with senior management. Ramesh will discuss measuring social media, reputation and more at PR News’ PR Measurement Conference on April 18 in Washington, D.C. â€¨
PR News: What would be your first piece of advice for a PR practitioner looking to ramp up a measurement program?
Priya Ramesh: First, try to define your key performance indicators—those activities tied to specific business goals. This is critical in establishing an effective measurement and tracking process. Identifying what you measure dictates how you will measure your PR and marketing activities. It sounds like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at how a good majority of us PR pros still shoot in the dark when it comes to measurement.
PR News: From your experience with clients, what do they generally want from measurement?
Ramesh: I have been in PR and corporate communications for almost a decade now and my 2 cents is that we PR pros should wear the marketing hat when it comes to measurement. We spend a lot of time calculating ad value equivalency (AVEs), which should be totally buried by the PR industry, and millions of impressions don’t mean anything to the CEO. We need to start quantifying PR efforts wherever possible— Web traffic, post-to-comment ratio, blog mentions, content downloads, total number of shares, etc.—and eventually progress to number of new leads generated and sales. I realize not everything we do can be quantified, but why not take every opportunity we can to translate our actions to bottom-line results? The more we do that, the more PR will be invited to boardroom-level discussions.
PR News: What’s your take on PR measurement and the ability to prove value to senior management?
Ramesh: We need to learn to articulate PR efforts into tangible results that matter to the C-suite. Did your Wall Street Journal article lead to X% new visitors to the homepage? Did your newsletter attract Y% new prospects to the marketing pipeline? How many of your webinar attendees downloaded the white paper you just released, and how many of them are qualified leads? I don’t see very many PR folks thinking through the measurement process and starting by asking, “What defines success for my company from a PR standpoint and how does that affect my company’s bottom line in a positive way?”
PR News: What's one key tip you'll share with our audience at the PR Measurement Conference?
Ramesh: I will be showing them how to measure social media efforts in a format that makes sense to their C-suite.
Attend PR News’ PR Measurement Conference on April 18 in Washington, D.C., and learn more from experts like Priya Ramesh.