In the world of earned media, often what a client wants isn’t what they necessarily need.
The New York Times may sound impressive but what if your client’s target audiences can be found reading vertical-specific trades or watching local TV shows? Sure, Garden Center Magazine doesn’t quite have the same cachet as Vogue but if you’re selling to horticulturalists in Ohio, there’s no better place to be.
Should we be selling sensible?
It’s often at the start of a relationship that a client introduces what we might euphemistically call “ego metrics” into the conversation. And why wouldn’t they? They’re human and they’re paying—plus it’s an instinctive measure of success. If I’m being honest, I know where I’d rather be.
But it’s time PR pros were more confident and upfront about our serious role as a business-builder and not an ego-fluffer. The onus is on us as experts in the field of earned media to both educate our clients and deliver , insight-driven outcomes that positively impact the bottom line.
Do metrics help or hinder?
As many in the industry are experiencing, metrics in PR are becoming a minefield. The more data we have access to, the more convoluted it becomes. AVE is slowly (too slowly, for some) being replaced by algorithms and artificial intelligence models that allow us to develop complex matrices of numbers—some more meaningful than others.
Combining factors of column inches, page views, media impressions, and positive vs. negative share of voice might look impressive on paper, but translating this into a tangible and consistent demonstration of success still challenges the best of us.
To navigate this space between numbers and subjective views of success, we need to lay the foundations of a trusted relationship where we agree on shared objectives—taking into consideration personal ambition as well as commercial goals—from the outset. What’s more, we need to stick to them.
The strategy and tactics might (and should) change over varying degrees of time, but in staying the course and remaining faithful to a mutual objective, we can build a solid track record for delivering bang for buck while still respecting the intrinsic desire for kudos.
Sarah Taylor is the client partner at futurefactor