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Shelley Pringle is the founder of Polaris Public Relations, a Toronto-based collective of experienced PR, inbound marketing and social media professionals who are passionate about achieving results for their clients. Shelley believes that strategic communications can capture the hearts and minds of a target audience, change the way people think and improve an organization’s bottom line.
Hi Lyndon, We have the answer to the question and always have. PR is a top-of-the-funnel activity (most of the time) with a goal of driving awareness. Therefore, the way to measure it is by tracking awareness. Simple! Of course, there are exceptions and I've seen PR programs that directly drive sales. But being able to measure that type of result can be difficult and usually costly.
You are absolutely right that PR is not just media relations. But think of other PR activities, such as influencer programs to health professionals (just as an example). The goal here is to build awareness with this community and encourage endorsements. So there are other metrics we can use beyond awareness but it's still part of the mix.
Certainly PR is, in part, about buildling relationships. But we build those relationships to help our clients achieve their business goals. So measuring relationships is just another output, not a business outcome.
Don't do that. You'll hurt yourself. And potentially miss out on all the companies that are sharing great stories.