Clients want to know: How can we improve our PR program?

Lately I’ve been weighing in on some of the different performance questions that clients ask PR teams. In this post I want to examine this topic further, and focus specifically on the following question that clients often ask: How can we improve our PR program?

It doesn’t matter how successful your program has been, at some point your client is going to come to you with a question like:

  • What PR efforts are working? What’s not working?
  • Where can we improve?
  • What can we learn from our competitors?

By knowing the answer to these questions you can keep a step ahead of your clients. That way you won’t be scrambling for answers when pressed for information on how the program can achieve even more. In order to win confidence and support from clients, it is important for agencies to be able to demonstrate forward thinking by effectively communicating fact based answers to questions.

So, if your client wants to know which PR efforts are working and which ones are not, how do you respond in a way that proves you aren’t just shooting from the hip – that you truly understand where you have (or have not) performed well?

Here is what you do: Make a list of the PR activities that were directly responsible for delivering positive results and meeting goals. Analyze your list and try to determine trends or factors that could lead to even greater future successes. Adjust your PR strategy accordingly. Also, make a list of PR activities that did not produce positive results and make plans to adjust or eliminate those activities. 

Here is a sample answer you could give if asked to explain what areas of your PR program are working or not working:

“Based on research and customer feedback we have identified increased product review coverage as a driving factor behind the 125% sales increase we saw last quarter. The team worked to increase total product reviews by 200%, securing a total of 48 product reviews worldwide. Since we have found evidence to suggest that nearly 1/3 of last quarter’s sales were influenced by product reviews, we plan to continue an aggressive push to achieve coverage that consists of at least 35% product reviews.”

“Conversely, our data shows that the customer referral program was only responsible for generating 2% of all sales this quarter. We are looking at making changes to how we promote the referral program in order to make it more enticing.”

Since evaluating what is and isn’t working requires looking at a number of different activities and factors, you absolutely want to have charts, graphs and other reports on-hand for your clients to view. This will help clients visualize the results you are reporting, along with the plan you’re laying out for future efforts.

If you are committed to getting the best results from PR, you should know what PR efforts are – and are not – working long before you’re confronted by a client. The only way to know this is by measuring and analyzing your PR efforts on an ongoing basis. Then, when the client does ask, it just becomes a matter of communicating your findings and showing your client some supporting data.

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