For many, now is the time to look back on a year’s worth of marketing and PR efforts, as well as finalize plans for this year and beyond. And there is one question that often lingers among my clients and colleagues- how do I know what’s actually working?
This can be a tricky question when it comes to public relations, as success can be defined in a number of ways. A press mention, for example, may not always lead directly to new business, but that’s not to say that you haven’t reaped other rewards for your efforts.
Below are some of the questions I’d suggest diving into as you assess your public relations progress:
How does my press list look these days?
If you’ve streamlined your efforts, then you should have an internal list of all noted press for you to reference. Simply comparing your press this year to previous years’ is a good start but it’s essential to dig a bit deeper. Did you see a rise in print features versus online? Speaking engagements versus guest articles? If you made a sincere effort to increase your PR strategies in the last year but didn’t see a substantial rise in mentions, then it’s time to go back to the proverbial drawing board to decide what changes should be made.
What kind of traffic am I seeing on my web site?
If you’ve focused on online press, such as real wedding features, then no doubt you would have received a credit for your work, along with a link to your site. The hope is that readers will be impressed and want to learn more about your services. So take the time to revisit your web site analytics to see if your online press sent more traffic to your site. A real wedding feature is certainly cause for celebration but if you find yourself in front of an audience that consistently does not have interest in learning more about you, then you may want to consider expanding your list of targeted media outlets for the coming year.
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How often am I receiving yes’s? How about no’s?
PR requires thick skin, as not every pitch or submission will be met with a positive response from the editor. It’s absolutely expected to be turned down but you’ll still want to ask yourself if you saw a steady increase in yes’s as you improved upon your PR skills. If you found that this past year consisted of a steady stream of no’s then you’ll want to ask yourself if you are pitching the right content (be in guest article topics, speaking engagements, real wedding submissions) to the appropriate media channels. Perhaps your portfolio and expertise are a better fit elsewhere, so it’s time to explore those options.
What opportunities came my way as a result of my PR efforts?
It can’t be stated enough- PR doesn’t always lead directly to new business but there are other fantastic opportunities that may result. Did you find, for example, that particular editors were more inclined to reach out to you for help on a story? Did you connect and further cement relationships with area wedding professionals? Did you enjoy complimentary educational opportunities as a result of speaking? Far too many times, I’ve seen wedding professionals ready to throw in the towel when they simply need to take the time to reflect on the successful outcomes of PR, above and beyond their sales numbers.
Giving thought to the overall results of your hard work will allow you to fine tune your strategies in the coming year. Make it the best year yet by taking time in the off-season for some serious reflection.