How to prove your PR prowess and progress to leaders

Industry pros say proving ROI to top executives is–or at least should be–your chief concern. Here’s how you can keep your value top of mind with your organization’s decision-makers.

Proving PR prowess

According to The State of PR 2019, 68% of PR pros feel they could better show the value of PR by offering more measurable results to their executive team. 

However, in research conducted by the North American Communication Monitor, fewer than half of PR pros considered providing information to top management a core task of their job.

Though most in the field agree that providing more information to key executives and stakeholders helps the department to gain recognition, very few are doing so regularly.

We checked in with Kyle Miller, a project manager leading digital PR strategy for Cleveland Clinic. His team’s focus is to amplify mission-driven owned stories on its social media platforms through patient stories and videos, infographics featuring research and more.

Measuring and reporting results to leaders is an important function for Miller and his team.

“On the metrics side, I’m kind of a nerd. I love the numbers,” he explained. “The numbers are power. It really tells a story that you wouldn’t be able to tell unless you dive into the numbers.”

The frequency question

Public relations happens in real time. Breaking news doesn’t wait, and many times, the reporting on such efforts can’t (or shouldn’t) wait either.

Based on the State of PR 2019, one-third of executive teams expect to be briefed at least weekly on PR efforts. Beyond that, nearly a quarter of the PR pros surveyed said their executive teams want to be briefed daily.  

“Our department puts together a monthly report that’s a high-level view of the big numbers from that month in our different areas that goes out to our executive director, CMO and other key leaders” Miller says. “On the digital side, I do a separate, more in-depth report just for our team.” 

Creating executive reports

Strategic public relations requires consistent evaluation of performance.

In addition to providing valuable insight into the impact of PR efforts, sharing well put together reports with key executives at your organization (and doing so often) can help you demonstrate the value of PR and lobby for a bigger budget

The problem? Nearly three-quarters (72%) of PR pros admitted they have difficulty measuring business impact. If you’re preparing a report for your executive team, it’s important to understand what they’re looking for.

Metrics matter

In addition to simply describing recent PR efforts, share the available data on impact with executives, such as reach.

If you haven’t done so already, clearly outline the objectives of a given PR campaign, to provide more context, especially if it’s a new effort that may require additional resources in the future.

For example, after starting a pilot program for publicizing owned media efforts in 2018, Cleveland Clinic’s Miller knew how crucial accurate and consistent reporting could be to the project’s growth. By showcasing the success of the program regularly through reports, his team got the go-ahead to hire another full-time employee to produce more stories.

Meeting expectations on reporting

How you report on a single breaking news alert is going to look different from your regular weekly, monthly or quarterly coverage summary report, which also looks vastly different from your annual summary of work.

Many reports will be shared with the team via less formal methods, such as email or messaging apps. Work with the executive team to determine when a more formal presentation is necessary and how often.

This might require you to pull together several different reports per month, each containing different information that is meant for different stakeholders.

Emma Haddad is the PR manager at Muck Rack. A version of this article originally appeared on Muck Rack, a service that enables you to find journalists to pitch, build media lists, get press alerts and create coverage reports with social media data.

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