Public relations, for some businesses, used to be something of an afterthought; a part of the business that deals with things after they have gone wrong, handling situations that could look embarrassing to the company and trying to sweep them under the rug. This way of working with public relations being reactive may have worked in the past, when media outlets were slower to proliferate and pass on information, but now with the advent of new media – particularly the internet – a company cannot afford to simply sit back on wait for the cards to fall.
There are two ways new ways in which a company can improve its PR. The first is to monitor the various outlets for terms of interest. These terms could be the name of the company, or its specific products. It could be more nuanced, such as mentions of the company paired with negative tags, so the PR specialist will be alerted to the most potentially damaging material immediately so as to snuff it out if possible. It could simply be the monitoring of a new ad campaign, to see how far reaching the ads have been and which adverts are doing the best work for the company. In this way, PR monitoring can pair well with marketing and advertising efforts, reducing cost across the board.
PR measurement is an extension of this monitoring idea, where we are more actively looking to see how our public relations efforts are working. With the advanced software available these days, PR measurement can give us a much better idea of where and how our message is being portrayed, and also let us know how it is being received by the media and the public. We could use this information to cut off PR campaigns that are having no effect (or are, indeed, having a negative effect), and use the info to ramp up our efforts on some of the more successful PR campaigns.
As sophisticated software can monitor the internet, TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, and other streams, we can get a very impressive overview of what types of media is having an effect on the public consciousness. Never before have we been able to get so much information on our consumer base all in one report, allowing us to reduce costs on advertising that isn’t working, and maximize impact from those that are.
If you’re not using PR monitoring and measurement, then you can be sure that your competitor is. Does it seem that their advertising seems to be packing more of a punch? Does it seem that they are able to get on top of potential problems and put their positive spin on them faster than you can? Does it seem that they’re always ready with a sound bite when the next big thing is round the corner and making its way across the media, getting their name out there instead of yours? If so, it may be time to look into ramping up your PR measurement and monitoring efforts too.
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