• Tim Herrera

Communications is a sound business investment and data can prove it.

So, how do you convince your boss or client that what you do as a communications or public relations professional is “value added” and worth the investment?

Good PR is hard to measure. You can count how many stories run in a newspaper or on TV, and you can track social media traffic. How many retweets and shares did you get? Did the paper run a positive/negative editorial?

But Talkwalker writer Dan (uses only his first name) says traditional measurements don’t work to show true value. In his post How to prove the value of your PR strategy to your CEO, he cites a February 2018 survey stating 61.2% of those questioned stated top management like to factor in analytical data to prove success. The writer also cites a 2017 Global Communications report stating “47% of in-house PR professionals believe PR will become more closely aligned with marketing in the future.”

In that post, media professor Dr. Karen Freberg said “PR professionals must be able to tie in key metrics that have a direct impact on both communication and business objectives. Without the connection, senior management will not be able to demonstrate the impact of the work being done by the PR and social teams.”

Communications professor and author (and my friend) Trinette Marquis writes in her book Engaging Data: Smart Strategies for School Communication that data “helps us get outside our feedback bubble and hear from people we may not be as connected with.”

While we can measure A LOT with data we need to remember the key to public relations is “relationships.” It’s one of those value added things that you cannot assign a number or grade. If a client wants a good reputation and good relationships then they have to invest in communications.

Murray Newlands, a contributor to Inc. magazine once wrote: “Great public relations means setting up ongoing relationships with many important influencers (and therefore their audiences) and knowing how your business may become an excellent data source for the influential.”

So, tell your boss or client that good communications is time consuming and takes effort. The data will show it is a worthwhile investment that adds to the bottom line.

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