"If you can't measure it, don't do it" is a credo that applies to almost all business activities. Some may say it took the public relations discipline too long to adopt this essential credo. Certainly longtime believers in PR measurement like Katie Paine and Don Stacks would insist that it has not yet worked its way into every practitioner's daily routine.
From a purely selfish point of view, becoming an expert in PR measurement protects one's budget and one's job. Sandra Fathi, president and founder of agency Affect and a speaker at PR News' April 8 Measurement Conference, offers six metrics-based tips here to help you get internal support for your PR budget.
1. Understand your company's business objectives, and tailor your PR program to help support those goals.
2. Establish concrete KPIs (key performance indicators) with senior management. (When you achieve them, it's easier to ask for more budget.)
3. Speak in a language the C-suite understands and cares about—don't talk about 'activities,' talk about 'outcomes.' The CEO doesn't care about how many press releases you wrote or tweets you tweeted, but he or she does care about competitive benchmarks (share of voice), reputation management (sentiment) and market penetration (awareness/demand generation).
4. Have a slush fund—set aside a small portion of your budget to experiment with new ideas. Once you can demonstrate meaningful success, management will be more willing to support the program with meaningful funding.
5. Demonstrate economies of scale or efficiencies. Showing that you can increase ROI x2 with a budget increase of x1 can incentivize management to put more skin in the game.
6. Do your own PR. Make sure that the budget decision makers know about the PR successes. Consider internal communications to be just as important as external communications in your job.
Register now for the Measurement Conference, which will be held April 8 in Washington, D.C.
Follow Steve Goldstein: @SGoldsteinAI