I often get asked this question in the context of tracking and evaluating PR effectiveness and performance metrics.
More times than not, there’s no easy way to identify the effects of media publicity and public relations. Very simply, the results are goal dependent.
With single books and single outreaches, a relatively simple evaluation over a four to six month period will provide the necessary data in terms of impact on sales.
With multiple repeat publicity projects more complex branding efforts, it is necessary to track cumulative costs, cumulative publicity acquired, and related them to overall sales over time. A systematic outreach and tracking effort must be carefully designed, implemented and maintained. It may take up to a year to develop the necessary data.
The bigger problem is distinguishing the effects your public relations efforts are having in comparison to all your other direct marketing efforts.
Can you determine how each of your multiple efforts affects your bottom line? Are you really able to document and track the individual contributions of each effort?
Direct financial impacts may produce improved sales, and greater profits and/or improved cost savings. Indirect financial savings may produce good will and improved reputation.
Direct non-financial impacts may be to introduce you to new people that produce new ideas and critical business intelligence. These can result in refined higher goals and objectives, totally new initiatives, better alignment of your people and other organizations, internal and external collaboration and even contractual teaming or partnership opportunities.
Publicity may improve your operational effectiveness simply because you are receiving more outside scrutiny and public fame and engagement with what you and your people and organization do. Your people may pull together and form a more professional, more efficient and effective team as a direct result of
the pride they are experiencing in having received such wide-open visibility and public recognition.
Indeed, this last benefit may be the most important effect publicity can have on your total business performance.