One of the major gripes that many people have with PR is that it has historically been seen as overly fluffy and often challenging to prove a direct return on investment. For the financial professionals amongst you, that’s probably the number one thing you look for when investing in a service and admittedly, it has been one of the industry’s biggest weaknesses. Historically, the field has been more about creating positive sentiment and raising brand awareness rather than proving direct and measureable financial return from your PR investment. So, how do you measure the success of PR?
Ultimately, the return on your investment depends on the goals set out at the beginning of the project. If you’re managing social media channels then an increase in followers, relevant ones, or a growth in web traffic arriving through your different platforms is surely proof that you’re doing what you’re being paid for.
Alternatively, if you’re looking to become a thought leader in your market then authoring cutting edge, insightful articles in your organisation’s specific sector press – and following them up with additional blogs and social media posts – could do the trick.
You may be asking yourself how that actually provides a return on investment, but bear with us. There are clear and measurable ways to define success and show that pesky ROI that financial directors are so keen to see. Here are a couple of examples from our own work:
After liaising with a client operating in the energy market we secured an article in European Oil & Gas magazine on ‘The Rise of the Process Safety Engineer’, at the time a role that was suffering from a shortage of available skills. The article discussed the skills required to be a success in the position and essentially promoted the client’s expertise in this niche area of the market. After publication of the feature, our client received a call from a major oil firm looking for assistance to fill a series of process safety engineer roles with fees valuing £100k. This was solely down to a director at the organisation reading the article that we secured and drafted on behalf of the client. Obviously, we couldn’t place these positions for the client, but the article brought in business that wouldn’t have been possible without it.
On a separate occasion, a client was pitching for a director level role at a globally renowned energy and utilities firm and were up against competition in the form of the usual major global search firms.
We secured them an article in Commodities Week promoting the brain drain from investment banking into the utilities market which ultimately made all the difference. Again, a senior figure at the organisation read the article and when it came to the pitch meeting, it was this that differentiated our client from the competition and led to the firm wining the retainer, which ultimately paid for our fee for the entire year.
Return on investment in PR is definitely possible, we’d love to hear your views or examples.
Author: Bruce Callander