Samantha Eastman | June 21, 2023
We all start a new year with new goals in mind – get a gym membership, eat more vegetables, actually use said membership – and since a new year also means new budgets and business plans for your internal or external clients, it’s essential for you to learn what their goals are to successfully implement your public relations strategy.
These goals are not what you “think” they should be based on your PR tactics, but what senior leadership and beyond have outlined as part of their business strategy. This is likely something that will have a larger impact on the business, like increasing awareness with a new audience or obtaining new sales leads – not getting a gazillion media impressions. Before you finalize your strategy for the year, take a step back and determine if your communications activities can help your client meet their business goals. If they don’t align, you may want to re-evaluate your plan.
You’ve probably heard throughout your communications career that public relations measurement is too hard to capture – leaving PR programs susceptible to budget scrutiny. Luckily, this is just a myth. These days you can capture public relations return on investment by properly setting goals (e.g. increasing brand awareness with female millennials) and achieving measurable objectives (e.g. securing five placements in target online media outlets in two months) for your activities.
Work together with other areas of the business, such as digital marketing and IT, and secure a seat at the table during strategic planning to see how PR can work within larger initiatives to help a brand achieve its overall goals. If you don’t, you may not deliver the expected results. Public relations should never work in its own silo.
When setting goals, remember the acronym SMART. Goals should be:
Specific – Clearly defined and easily communicated to others. This is especially important when integrating PR plans with other areas of the business.
Measurable – Create objectives that can be measured. This way you know if you’re working toward achieving your goal and if you need to alter your strategy at all.
Actionable – Break down the goal into short-term objectives. This will make the goal seem more attainable.
Realistic – Don’t set impossible goals. Use previous programs and goals as guidelines.
Time-Based – Set a final date for your goal to be achieved.
When determining how you’re going to measure your PR goals and objectives, remember that just because you measured your PR program one-way last year, doesn’t mean that PR metric is relevant to proving your program’s success this year.
Business executives want to see ROI, so look at website traffic, demographic data, competitive insights, brand awareness and message pull-through. When measuring, ask yourself, “so what?” What does this data say about the overall goals for the business? What does it tell you about something that matters to the brand?
Provide your client with the insights needed to showcase how you are helping them execute their organization’s strategic plan. Explain what’s working and even what’s not. Start telling the stories that your data tells you are important. After all, we are storytellers.
Ready to start measuring and refining your PR game? Contact Falls & Co. and let’s explore the possibilities.
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Samantha draws on her background in communications and digital marketing to help provide strategic counsel and communications support for Falls’ clients each day. She specializes in building brand awareness, media and influencer relations programs and special event planning.