Why you don’t need a crystal ball to predict PR results

The word ‘goal’ is scary for many PR pros because a wealth of variables can change outcomes. Here’s how to be more assured of what you’ll get.

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PR measurement always makes PR pros squirm. So does math, unrealistic expectations, and clients asking to be on “Oprah.” (Personally, I couldn’t have been happier when “Oprah” went off the air so clients stopped asking about getting on the show.)

There’s one word that makes PR pros even queasier: Goal.

It’s not because we’re afraid of setting goals, but because there are so many unknowns in our jobs that can affect PR measurement, which starts with a clearly defined goal. The longer you’ve been in PR, the more unknowns you’ve seen, from your go-to reporter bolting to a new publication, to breaking news, to your client changing the entire strategy overnight just before a big announcement.

Ultimately, many communicators feel success is subject to too many variables for accurate PR measurement and thus set realistic goals.

Fear follows the weather

Setting goals is often followed by fear that clients might conclude the PR pro didn’t do their job right if they don’t reach said goals, regardless of those pesky unknowns.

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