Secret #5 – Make your PR strategy more “strategic”

target strategyAs you begin devising and implementing a PR strategy, it is important to set up a system to continuously check your progress and ensure that your focus is on target. There’s nothing strategic about guessing. To develop a campaign that produces results you need to support your work with data that helps you make informed decisions. Here are 3 steps for using measurement to guide your strategy:

 1. Decide what it is that you’re absolutely committed to achieving and take action.

What results do you want to see from your PR campaign? Are you trying to increase sales, attract new customers, earn more repeat business? As mentioned in previous blog posts, a set of clear and measurable goals is the cornerstone for building a successful PR campaign. Don’t allow subjectivity to thwart your goal setting efforts. For every goal you set, ask yourself “can this be measured?” If your goals aren’t specific enough you won’t be able to measure them, and you’ll be left wondering if your program is on track. For example, setting a goal like “increase sales over the next three months” is too vague.  With this type of goal it is difficult to track your progress and know when you’ve finally achieved your objective. How much do you want to increase sales? How many sales, or what dollar amount, do you want to hit in order to feel you’ve been successful? Goals need to be black and white.

Once you’re clear on what you want to accomplish you can develop your PR strategy. It is important to build measurement into your PR program from the very beginning. That way you’ll be able to begin evaluating your progress as soon as you’ve kicked off your campaign.  

2. Measure and evaluate, notice what’s working or not.

Using measurement to shape PR strategy means pushing beyond simply tracking metrics. Instead, use the insights delivered from your measurement solution’s data and analytics to determine the actual impact PR is having on business objectives.

For example, maybe your tracking shows that you are earning a lot of media coverage. It is safe to conclude that your media outreach PR efforts are working fairly well. However, suppose the numbers also show that the coverage isn’t translating into sales, and one of your goals was to increase product sales by 10 percent. In this case you need to take a hard look at the data you’ve collected and try to determine the reason for the disconnect. Understanding which PR efforts are driving sales (and which ones are not) will help you see what areas of your campaign deserve the most attention. You can strengthen your strategy by re-working areas of your campaign that aren’t directly leading to the desired sales results. Also, you can devote more of your resources to specific tasks that have proven effective at producing sales.

Besides measuring and evaluating your own program it is worthwhile to track competitors’ programs, too. You can learn a lot by observing which PR efforts are producing results for your competitors.

The important thing to remember is that without measurement data, you’re really just left guessing about where to invest the most time and energy. Your strategy becomes more “strategic” when it is based on analysis of real campaign results.

3. Continue to change your approach until you achieve success.

In theory this sounds fairly simple, but in reality people are often resistant to changing course. Understandably, people without measurement data feel uncertain about the direction they should be moving and may be reluctant to veer from their initial plans. However, if you’ve measured, analyzed and then determined you need to make changes, you can be confident and comfortable because your decisions are based on facts, not feelings. It may take several tries and multiple adjustments to create a strategy that delivers optimum results. But, by revising your approach you’ll be able to make improvements and get the most out of your PR program.

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