This is a pretty exciting time to be a PR professional. Our role has expanded from press release pusher to media relationshipsteward and I think that’s pretty awesome. We have so many more resources at our fingertips, so many more channels through which to promote brands and clients.

Like Superman, this new power comes with expanded responsibilities—and in public relations, that means a lot more visibility and accountability. We’re doing more, but it’s vital for us to show exactly what we’re doing and how each element individually and as a whole is performing. That’s why IrisPR was created, so teams could have better reporting PR software and capabilities.

That said, it can be easy for us and our clients to get lost in the numbers without really seeing the story. And that story is vital for measuring the effectiveness of our PR strategies.

If you find this happening, go back to the basics and build back up from there.

Choose the right measurements for your goals. 

Every PR strategy and every campaign within it has a unique set of goals. A one-size-fits-all approach to measuring effectiveness isn’t, well, very effective. Customize your measurements and reporting to fit the goals of each campaign to get a better sense of actual performance, and make sure your team and your client are on the same page from the start.

Find the rest of the story.

Measures such as mentions, social engagement and share of voice are great, but they only tell part of the story. It’s important to evaluate these results in context. For example, look at the quality of coverage, who was actively sharing your release, what was being said. This is a great opportunity to connect with sales teams or social media managers who are hearing and seeing feedback in real time. Assessing results in full will help you understand what works and what doesn’t, so you can optimize future campaigns.

Identify and set appropriate benchmarks.

We talk a lot about benchmarks at IrisPR for a reason - it’s hard to measure the success of a campaign when you have nothing to compare the results to. The deep dive we talked about in the previous step is a good start. Look at the performance of similar past campaigns to identify patterns of results. Start compiling data with the right public relations software. This will give you a good idea of what you should expect to see and can help you find areas of opportunity for increasing effectiveness.

Pay attention to your team’s ROI.

You may think that as long as your campaigns are successful from the client’s standpoint, you’re doing things right. But if you take a closer look at your team’s investment, it may reveal a different story. If your team is consistently exceeding budgets or time estimates, this could be an indication that you don’t have the right people on the right projects.

Like I said, it’s a great time to be in PR; we just have to be sure to adjust along with our industry. Accountability is the name of the game these days. By focusing that fundamental principle and reframing it in our new world of PR technology, we can keep our clients, our leaders and our teams performing at the top of the game.

Topics: Proving Value Media Relations Reporting Measurement PR Performance