Getting Executive Buy-In on PR Metrics That Matter to Your Business



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This is a continuation of our April blog series focused on helping communications teams get the credit they deserve and the resources they need by making a key shift to data-driven PR and communications. We believe that the current economic uncertainty and turbulence has opened up an unprecedented leadership opportunity for PR professionals, and we’re pleased to offer our expertise and recommendations to support you during this critical time.

In this week’s article, we’re going to talk about the second step on the path to growing your communications budget and your team using data:

Getting executive buy-in on PR metrics that matter to your business

One of the biggest challenges communicators encounter when innovating their approach to measurement is explaining to executives why change is necessary and investment beneficial. Using marketing attribution as an example of how PR can truly be tied back to business objectives and even revenue is the most effective method of building a case for PR investment.

First things first: how do you define attribution? 

For communicators, attribution can be defined as “the measurement of actions, such as visiting a web site, downloading content, signing up for a demo, and purchasing a product or service, taken by people after reading a piece of earned, owned, or newswire content.” Simply put, attribution shows how PR efforts are helping a company achieve its business objectives.

Marketing is frequently seen as a profit center because marketing metrics tie back to the bottom line (i.e., email campaign X generated 500 click-throughs and 30 leads, resulting in $1.5 million in revenue). Up until now, PR has been seen as a cost center because of reporting based on vanity metrics such as article numbers, publication impressions, or ad value equivalency (AVE). 

AMEC (International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication) created and revised the Barcelona Principles over the past decade to redefine how PR should be measured. One of these principles explicitly states that “AVEs are not the value of communications.” 

The bottom line is: all of these vanity metrics — article numbers, publication impressions and AVEs — have little to no correlation with the number of people who actually end up reading an article, visit a company’s website after reading that article or what those visitors do once they are on the website, which is what your executive team ultimately cares about.

So to start with, sitting down with your marketing and analytics teams and exploring how they track and report on the results of marketing efforts can be very useful. With lots of experience in this area, they will be able to share helpful information, tips and recommendations. This knowledge will also come in handy when you start evaluating which measurement methodologies, tools and technologies may be best for PR.

Another important pillar in building your business case is demonstrating to your executive team that data-driven PR and communications can do far more for them than just adjust reporting practices. Understanding which publications, reporters, content and stories impact your company’s bottom line can shape the overall company messaging and strategy and influence business goals based on what is resonating with your target audience. 

To show credible proof of success, you can draw on specific examples of communications teams who have increased revenue, saved time, and reached business objectives by using data. Onclusive has a number of customer success stories that highlight these types of accomplishments:

Join us for the “Using Data to Grow Your PR Budget & Your Team” webinar on April 30th! Our panel of top communications and PR executives will discuss how they have used data to grow their budget, expand their team, and advance their careers.