When will I see ROI on public relations?

July 13, 2017

Almost every prospect we encounter asks this question. The answer is always the same: It depends.

What are your business and marketing goals? 

How will you integrate PR to support your marketing activities?

Do you have existing brand awareness?

Do you have customers?  

What’s your current share of the market? 

How are you measuring your marketing campaigns?

Every company’s PR success is dependent on the answers to these questions, and many more. Regardless of your responses, don’t expect to see ROI overnight. It takes time to generate buzz and build authority in the market among your prospects and influencers. In some cases, it might take up to six months before you can correlate PR activities directly to your brand awareness and lead generation goals. 

However, you can start to analyze results within the first month of launching your PR activities by outlining baseline key performance indicators (KPIs) that matter most to your business, and then measure successes and failures month-over-month. KPIs might include:

  • Awareness among prospects or potential partners in a key vertical market or region, or within the investor community
  • Generation of qualified leads to feed the sales team
  • Sentiment shaping related to competitive standing, product quality, value or customer service

For example, if awareness is the primary goal, you can assess the traction a piece of media coverage generates by assessing the readership of the website it appears on, how often the article is being shared and engaged with on social, the increase in referral traffic, how much time visitors spend on your site once they reach it, which pages they look at, and whether they respond to any calls to action you might have such as “download our ebook,” “take a demo,” or anything else that supports the primary marketing goal. In this scenario, you can start to analyze results and identify patterns about which key messages and themes, publications and channels resonate among your target audience and generate the best conversion rates to help you map your long-term strategies.

Regardless of your integrated communications strategy, you must outline clear KPIs to align with your business priorities and map all results month-over-month back to set goals to identify increases or decreases in KPIs. If activities within the first six months aren’t generating the intended ROI, it’s time to adjust your strategy and supporting tactical activities.

Your PR partner should speak fluent ROI. Learn more:

9 Reasons you hired the wrong PR firm

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