In the bustling, competitive world of business and marketing, companies and organisations strive to be the best. In order to do so, corporations must carefully evaluate their goals, and prioritize only what will help them achieve those goals. One effective method of doing so is to evaluate Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Simply put, a KPI is a figure or value used by businesses to determine how successfully they’re reaching their aims (Klipfolio). All kinds of companies can employ Key Performance Indicators, including Public Relations agencies. In this article, we discuss KPIs evaluation for PR agencies to take a deeper look into this subject.
What is a Key Performance Indicator?
Businesses use Key Performance Indicators to achieve the goals they’ve set for themselves. KPIs “indicate” whether or not a business is heading in the right direction, and whether or not it must adjust its actions or plans. A typical KPI possesses several characteristics that help in doing so (Repsly.com).
An important attribute of a KPI should be simplicity, as this helps employees understand its comportment and its importance. If an employee thoroughly understands how to use a KPI, then they can change it in order to yield a preferred outcome (Repsly.com).
All the employees of a company can easily view a Key Performance Indicator if it is apparent. This means that they are aware at all times of how their contributions to the organization are affecting its growth. This, in a way, can motivate employees to perform better (Repsly.com).
Use the KPIs appropriately, so the correct and relevant one is used to attain the desired result. This also means that an appropriate custodian should manage a KPI (Repsly.com).
In an organization, several levels of administration and employment are present. For the correct usage of KPI evaluation for PR agencies, all employees of an organization should have a universal understanding of the organization’s motive. In this way, all the employees are on the same page and are working towards the same goal (Repsly.com).
A KPI must be a value that can be measured to ensure that the company is taking the correct route to their goal. By determining the value of the KPI, a company can plan out its next course of action (Repsly.com).
Another important aspect of a KPI should be attainability. A company should establish whether or not the goal they are trying to accomplish is winnable, and whether or not the KPI can help achieve the desired outcome (Meltwater).
It is now clear what KPIs are, but some questions are still left unanswered. What is the KPIs evaluation for PR agencies? Are there any goals that need to be met by them?
Public Relations agencies are similar to advertising companies but are distinguished through one key principle. They promote corporations, people, and items through “free media”. Their promotion is not paid for and is carried out through editorial coverage, articles in newspapers and magazines. Advertising companies, on the contrary, engage in “paid media”; they promote their clients in exchange for a payment (Forbes).
This, however, is not the only objective of Public Relations agencies. There are many more (Forbes).
- Public Relations agencies also examine the behavior of the public and determine the effects such behavior can have on their clients’ projects or actions.
- PR agencies advise their client. They help guide their client in making decisions and plotting out plans. While doing so, they consider the responsibilities their client bear to the public.
- Another important job of the PR agencies is to assess the resources of their clients and help them plan accordingly. They help allocate their clients budget appropriately, lay out goals for their clients, and establish a working staff.
You can successfully achieve the above objectives through the proper KPIs evaluation for PR agencies. PR agencies can use indicators to make sure their services are available to a substantial number of clients, their services are satisfactory, and their goals are met.
The KPIs evaluation for PR agencies
As we mentioned above, an important characteristic of KPIs is relevance. Which KPIs are relevant to PR agencies, and which KPIs should PR agencies closely examine?
- Web traffic
Analyze the traffic on the websites, social media, or any other online platform to decide whether or not a PR agency’s promotion campaign is reaching an audience. You can count the number of people viewing their posts and can help the PR agencies determine the influence of their campaign on the public (Resources IQ Media). This is one of the most important methods of KPIs evaluation for PR agencies.
- Media Mentions
How popular is the campaign? How often is it talked about, or discussed on media? Such a factor can help a PR agency understand how successful their strategy was in promoting their client (Resources IQ Media).
- Content Quality
If a PR agencies’ campaign is mentioned, it helps to examine in what manner it was mentioned. Typically, there are two types of mentioning it: sentimental analysis, and prominence. Sentimental analysis refers to the manner in which the campaign was talked about. Was it in a positive light, or a negative light? Knowing this way of KPIs evaluation for PR agencies helps decide how they’ll continue the campaign, and how to present themselves moving forward. Prominence refers to how distinguished the campaign is in the media. Is it briefly mentioned deep within an article, or is it featured on the first page of a newspaper? If the campaign doesn’t seem to be prominent, then the PR agency may decide to change the direction of their campaign (Resources IQ Media).
- Share of Voice
When a PR agency begins a free media campaign, it faces competitors. Assessing how well the campaign is moving against the campaigns of competitors is important for any KPIs evaluation for PR agencies. Is it reaching enough people? Is it getting exposure? Or is it drowning because of competition? The PR agency can decide its next step by determining how well the campaign is faring (Resources IQ Media).
One way for a PR agency to decide whether or not its campaign is on the right track is to examine the revenue it’s generating. If the PR agency is receiving a return on its investments, then that’s a good sign that the hard work is paying off (TrendKite).
- Lead Volume and Quality
A strategy employed by PR agencies to determine the success of their campaign is to make visitors of their website fill out an enquiry form. This is known as lead volume and is a great way to receive feedback. A sign that the promotional work is having an impact is that the lead quality is improving, indicating a rise in awareness of the campaign (TrendKite).
- Social Engagement
One aim of a Public Relations agency is to increase what is known as “social engagement”. This refers to how many people are aware of, and interact with, the campaign work, and also how much its content is being shared. This KPI is not only measurable but helps a PR agency determine how far their campaign has reached the public (TrendKite).
Most companies don’t favor this KPI as it is difficult to identify the merit of the number of impressions. However, that does not mean it doesn’t hold some importance for PR agencies. Monitoring the number of views their content receives gives insight into just how big their audience may be, and this KPI can support other KPIs (Resources IQ Media).
- Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE)
AVE is a KPI that is quantitative. An agency uses this KPI by first determining the amount of space its media mention occupied. It then figures out the amount of money needed for an advertisement of the same size, and by doing so, calculates the worth of its PR. However, as we mentioned before, KPIs and advertising are different, and so this KPI is fallacious (TrendKite).
These are just some examples of the many Key Performance Indicators that PR agencies can employ, in order to achieve their objectives.
It should be noted, however, that knowing which KPIs to use is not the only way to achieve set goals. Knowing how to use such KPIs also helps.
Methods of using KPIs
Once a Key Performance Indicator has been established by a PR agency, a sufficient amount of time should pass before the agency measures the KPI. During this time, the agency should carry out its campaign to the full extent. If enough time does not pass between the initiation of the KPI and the collection of data on the KPI, then it will be difficult to determine which factors are affecting the KPI (Raconteur).
The PR agency should set up its benchmarks to help it examine its campaign on a long-term scale. Agencies should not focus entirely on Key Performance Indicators that only affect the short-term. Instead, the agency should view KPIs on a larger scale in order to measure the outcome of the PR campaign (Raconteur).
You should meticulously monitor the Key Performance Indicators to obtain the best results. If any change occurs in a KPI, the PR agency should report the change. Dashboards are a suitable method for reporting KPIs, due to their clear visual illustration (Klipfolio).
To Sum Up
The evaluation of KPIs for PR agencies can play an instrumental role in the success of a business project or a business campaign. When used correctly, they can be the deciding factor between whether or not a company attains its desired results, which is why every organization should consider their use.