I have seen a lot of conversations between PR pros about measurement. And there are tons of approaches to be taken. But in the eye of the client, it all comes down to sales. You can use whatever measurement you want, if they don’t feel you’re helping their sales, they will look for someone else. Fair? Debatable. True? You bet! Should it scare us? Not really!
Everything a PR specialist does eventually translates into sales, if said person is good at their job. Sometimes it takes half a year, other times it takes less. But if you watch your results carefully, you will start to see the connections. Yes, we can talk about brand image (leads to trust from potential customers when there’s a positive brand perception, which means they will eventually buy that brand), crisis management (think damage control! A good crisis communication campaign means that only a small part of the customers will choose someone else), hits, traffic, follows, likes (these all translate into actions – off or on-site – which in turn lead to… buying something), virtual or traditional event attendance (translates into leads which may purchase what the company is selling).
See, it’s easy to link PR to sales if you take the time and follow the logical train of thought. You still follow the same goals and use the same measurements, you do not have to necessarily measure everything in sales. But knowing to perfectly explain how what you do leads to sales and profits will always help. Sure, you bring in the leads, along with the marketing team, but sometimes it all comes down to how the sales team really closes the deal. Or the simple fact that a client site works or not when the customer actually hits the buy button! But at the end of the day, your part of the deal is kept!
What PR pros often lack is the ability to distance themselves from how they see things and understand how others see them. A company owner or the CEO of the business they work for realize on some level they need PR, that’s why a certain agency or employee works with them! But asking them to think further than how everything you do translates into palpable sales numbers may be a bit too much. They need to understand you are not working towards making them look hot for everyone. You are making huge efforts to make them look hot for potential buyers. Seems to be the same, but stating your final goal helps!