The mousiest mention of reports in the RBM office is enough to gain a roar of groans from the entire team. Between you and me, I never used to mind report time because, well, I didn’t have anything to report. I even got away without having to do them in the beginning of my little PR department’s first few months of life because like many, we were left wondering how to even measure PR.
Now I do contribute to the monthly reports groaning, but, I have a secret, I’m not mad about reports. In fact, I’m happy to report to our clients the hard work I’ve put into my PR outreach the previous month. Why? It’s easy for clients paying for PR to think our department sits on our hands all month when we turn in reports and there’s a single, pitiful placed article listed under the “PR & Earned Media” section.
Reporting on communication calls for some creativity, in fact, 80% of PR pros report measuring their impact on a business is a serious challenge. Make sense of your hard work with these three aspects you’re missing in your reports to make that one placement look straight GORG.
80% of PR pros report measuring their impact on a business is a serious challenge. Click To Tweet
It’s Coming, You Just Wait!
Ahh, the pending list. The list that says, “Don’t worry, we have your content locked in place… now, we wait.” Working on everyone else’s clock is the name for PR, which makes including the list of “pending” placements a saving grace. Listing placements already accepted by editors and going through the editing process or scheduled to go out a few weeks out, but missed the deadline for reports are necessary mentions. This still counts as a victory, even if you don’t have anything to show for it until next month.
Your Clients Are Special. Act Like it.
Each of your clients are different, with different business needs, different focal points and different ways of thinking. Like any good leader, the PR department needs to take these varying personalities into account when crafting reports. If one client has expressed special interest in referral traffic, include the names of outlets you repurpose their content on in your report. If they’re interested in seeing the names of articles that were re-published and published on their behalf and the analytics of each, include links and a breakdown of how the posts performed (if available).
If you’re catering your PR initiatives to each client (as you should), report on how you’re aligning your outreach to match the goals of their organization.
Let’s Be Honest, it’s Not ALL Pretty
When I first started reporting on my PR initiatives for clients, I neglected to mention all of the outlets I attempted to publish with. I only reported on the wins, which at first, seemed okay until some months I wouldn’t get any placements, no matter how many pitches I sent out. This leaves the client thinking I spent the entire month staring at the walls, dreaming about sunshine and pizza. Not true.
Provide a list of all outlets you reached out to for every campaign, even if they didn’t come out on top. Go back and analyze when these pitches were made, how they were made and make predictions on why they didn’t work. Analyzing your messaging frame helps you strategize what can be done to make improvements for the next month. Even if this takes months to nail, at least you’re helping both yourself and the client understand what was performed and what will happen next.
These three small tweaks will help your clients see the importance and impression you make on their brand and help you further grasp what needs to be improved. Sometimes it takes self-analysis to understand why the same motions aren’t cutting it.