Reporting is taxing, hard and, more importantly, boring. And I don’t just mean that reports are boring to put together, I mean they're boring for our clients to read. As the CEO of a progressive public relations and social media firm, I've spent a lot of time looking at today’s most important metrics to track for a communications program.
In PR, specifically, there is a ton of legwork that goes into securing coverage, getting a reporter to respond and turning that response into a positive story that amplifies a client’s brand. As communicators by trade, we want to highlight those efforts and talk about them at length. But, in the end, all that matters are the results we achieved within the time period of work we’re measuring for our clients.
Having really analyzed this in detail (as mentioned, I spent a lot of time on this!), here are the top five slides I believe every communications report should highlight:
Start at the top by highlighting the coverage you’ve secured. Then, go deeper and look at the domain authority or audience impact of the publication. In other words, did this touch the right people for your client’s growth and brand association? How many people clicked on the actual story?
Evaluate what this coverage meant for your client and how these hits contributed toward their broader organizational or departmental goals. Show the client why what you secured should matter to them and how you helped grow their business and contribute to the company’s success.
Did the coverage highlight which benefit would drive positive mindshare about your client? Were the key messages you included in the coverage carried through in full or only partially? These are very important questions. Clients don’t work with an agency just for the sake of securing coverage alone. They work with an agency that is focused on getting the right story told -- a story that will create categories and boost their company’s growth.
Driving Traffic With Backlinks
Did the coverage drive traffic to your client’s website? How many people clicked into the story to drive traffic to your client? This type of analysis shows that the press you are getting, and the program your client is paying for, is driving eyeballs and traffic to their site. Organic search engine optimization (SEO) is half (51 percent) of what drives people to websites. Your program is working if you can show this.
Did the coverage you secured incite shareability, therefore extending the story’s impact? Make sure you analyze the value of any coverage that was shared across additional channels and platforms, as this additional visibility is worth quite a bit.
If it wasn’t shared or fell flat, that should be reported as well. Explain how that message doesn’t work with that audience, and either recommend another approach, or help your client understand that their brand association is not clicking here and that a change in the communications plan needs to happen.
As a forward-thinking strategist, what are you doing to drive the communications program? If you are a firm that waits for your client to create news, you are doing this all wrong. Be proactive, and drive the strategy. Come up with a review of what worked and what didn’t. In analyzing what your communications plan did for you this month, determine what you should shift, move or double down on for the next month.
Reporting is an important part of our program. I believe that failing to report your success and contribution to each individual client’s growth is a sin -- and a great way to lose clients. But when you do put together a report, I hope these five slides help you zero in on what you should prioritize sharing with your client to show how your PR and social programs are making a difference.