PR is worth it

(Posted on 29/07/14)

Recently the newspaper marketing body, Newsworks, announced its intentions to look at new ways to measure audience reach that incorporates all contemporary media platforms. This news comes as National Readership Statistics is put under increasing pressure by its shareholders, which include News UK and Trinity Mirror Group, to review its readership monitoring service.  

Proving the value of PR has long been a difficult challenge for marketing professionals, as there are few outputs that can provide solid and tangible results of Return on Investment (ROI) and press activity is no exception. 

It is a given that sponsorship, for instance, can raise profiles and correctly position brands. But despite this, there is no accurate way of measuring the full extent of ROI. This is because sponsorship goes beyond immediate sales and reaches into the grey territory of PR monitoring known as awareness. 

Brand awareness is incredibly difficult to measure accurately. The process of behavioural change in end-users can take time, meaning a well of data can be easily missed by campaign reports that are designed to ‘measure success’, which are often produced immediately after. 

Client stories in the news pose a similar issue; there’s undoubtedly an association between news stories and brand awareness, but how does awareness translate into value? Perhaps as marketing and business development go hand-in-hand, PR should be equally accredited to growth and engagement during the period of activity. Indeed, many end-users aren’t even aware that their link to the brand may have been generated by a news story (possibly from months ago) – because the best kind of PR is done subtly! 

So as Newsworks' review looks to consider monitoring laptop, mobile and tablet devices in addition to print, we enter a new age of marketing and PR data capture. Despite each of these modes of communication offering digital audits of consumption and behavioural patterns (or put simply – paper trails) we’re still a little hesitant to accept that facts and figures speak louder than words!