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Five key metrics for evaluating publicity outreach effectiveness

Five key metrics for evaluating publicity outreach effectiveness

Most people are fully satisfied with the publicity results only when the “reach, persuade and move-to-desired-action” process produces sufficient visible actions on the part of those people you wish to influence. However, it may take several weeks or even months for this to occur.

There are five key measurement points you should use to determine your level of satisfaction with the effectiveness of your publicity efforts.

1. The first point is when you transmit the release. Do you feel like the costs of performing the publicity outreach are reasonable? Do you feel like the service has been responsive to your needs?

2. The second point is immediately after the release is distributed and you can identify the number and quality of the media responses to your news release.

3. The third point is when articles are actually published or when your interviews have been conducted.

4. The fourth point is when you determine whether enough of the right people respond to your message.

5. The fifth and final point is sometime later still, when you are finally able to somehow determine the overall benefits of your outreach effort and experience. It is only now you can truly ask “Was it worth it?”

At each of these points you should ask yourself: “What is really happening here?” Real data should be collected objectively and evaluated without prejudice. The actual numbers of tangible events can be tallied. The actual costs can be surmised. Only then can you ask yourself “How do you feel and why?”

It is crucial that you recognize the importance of measuring the value of publicity in clear financial terms at each step in this process. However, you must realize that this will not be easy to do.

On one time publicity efforts, you might be able to break even financially on step four within a few weeks of sending out a news release, especially if the release goes to newspapers, radio and TV. But with magazines and trade publications that require longer lead times, it may take seven to ten months to reach steps 4 and 5.

You may also need to continue to maintain your publicity outreach, say on a month-by-month basis. If you do not break even on a news release, what should you do? Stop or continue? Do you use the same publicity materials and media list or change them?

The answers depend on your specific goals, and your specific finances. Some publicity goals are financial and some are not. You may have the resources and commitment to go for a long distance. You may not.

You might not want money as your goal. You may simply be seeking publicity. You may simply want to get the word out for the purpose of informing and educating the public to a serious and important issue. You may need a specific type and quantity of media coverage to achieve this goal.

But if you are in business, you are far more likely to be solely interested in enhancing the bottom line. You are seeking to use publicity as a means to achieving sales. To you publicity is an essential part of your marketing plan and you very simply seek a positive return on investment.

If that is the case, every dollar counts and you must document and tabulate your sales and expenses.