For decades, the PR industry as a whole has struggled to explain its value. Why? More often than not, measurement comes as an afterthought. This is perhaps a result of the old fashioned perception that you can’t measure PR, which sadly still exists today.

The driving ambition is for us all to realise that PR can and must be measured. We all have the tools to build robust measurement into every campaign, but it has to be embedded at the very start of campaign creation. If you don’t start with the reason why you are telling a story, then you risk missing your audience, as well as being unable to report back on business impact.

A level of uncertainty in the industry has seen us through the pandemic and many comms professionals have been asking “is now the right time to tell this story?”, including us! Yet, whilst many brands may have initially chosen to hit the pause button, now, with the right level of empathy and some well-timed adapting of stories to ensure they remain sensitive to the situation, PR has proved invaluable. The job of comms professionals to drive action from, as well as influence the intended audience, certainly became much harder however. And with this, so did proving business impact!

Last month, we published our latest white paper to celebrate AMEC Measurement Month, authored by Hotwire’s Global Chief Development Officer and board member of AMEC, Andy West. In the paper, he discusses how the marriage of social insight with creative storytelling can help communicators land the right stories and measure the impact of their work. In a nutshell, the paper outlined a three step approach based on Hotwire’s own client engagement model:

  • DISCOVER. It starts with thinking about why we tell stories – what is it we want to say and why? What change do we want to make? And what audience are we looking to reach? To do this, you need to understand your target group if you are to pull on the emotional triggers that will ensure your story resonates and that when it does, your audience is driven to take action. These INSIGHTS are the starting point and the foundation upon which great storytelling is built.
  • PLAN. Our job is to find the person who wants to listen. From this, we need to find out what they want to listen to. We then need to create the story and write this in a way that will spark the desired action from the audience we need to reach. This is the art of STORYTELLING.
  • PROVE. It’s not enough then to simply count clips, investment in media relations has to deliver measurable impact to the organisation. Whether that’s sentiment change, brand awareness, sales leads or reputation, PR has to be held accountable. That’s why it has never been so important for comms practitioners to nail their measurement framework. Without smart MEASUREMENT, you simply cannot accurately assess the impact of your communications investment and the role it plays in achieving business impact.

By not considering these three stages – using the insights to build your story, striking the right chord with the intended audience and consequently proving its impact – you are ultimately doing PR a disservice.

A change is happening though! We are seeing a shift in priorities, with more emphasis placed on measurement in the early stages of planning. But so much more can be done – we all have the tools to do so and realistically, who doesn’t want to show off the incredible impact your work has had on the business, right?

Come and chat to our measurement experts about how we’re helping clients rethink their measurement strategies, as well as ensuring our teams are reporting back on true business impact and not just vanity metrics – *cough* clippings *cough*.

You can also check out these helpful resources to help you embark on your measurement journey:

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