In a perfect world, measuring public relations efforts would be as easy as 2 + 2 = 4. Unfortunately, most aspects of PR aren’t that black-or-white. While some areas of marketing (think social media) use numerical metrics, PR is primarily measured on less tangible data. For example, building a relationship with an editor from a top-tier publication would be considered a PR win because that relationship could lead to a media placement. However, while measuring the media placement itself is simple, quantifying the effort and time spent building a relationship with the editor is more difficult. Because setting goals for PR isn’t always so cut-and-dry, we believe it is all the more important for everyone involved in a brand’s public relations efforts to be in alignment when working together to set goals.
Here are five tips for setting effective PR goals:
How to Set PR Goals
1: Determine goals as a team
When it comes to setting future PR goals, “teamwork makes the dream work!” For DMA, as marketers who provide public relations services to produce companies with a range of existing PR resources, it is imperative for everyone to be on the same page in order for new goals to be successful (and realistic). If only the PR team has input in setting goals, we’re missing a huge piece of the puzzle: not only do our clients know the business in and out, they also hired us for a reason—and that is to reach their business goals. That goes for other aspects of the business as well, even if you have a fully internal public relations team. For example, PR and social media intersect regularly, so it’s important to have context around all marketing efforts in order to set effective goals. Once the teams are aligned, reaching goals becomes more seamless and allows less room for misunderstanding.
#2: Understand Your Target Audience
A huge part of success in PR is the ability to effectively communicate to a large number of people, whether for the purpose of general brand awareness or a more targeted campaign. Before you can set goals for your PR efforts, you must hone in on WHO your target audience is. Who is already interested in your product? Who’s a loyal advocate and user? In order to successfully convey your brand message (and ultimately hit certain goals), you must understand who you’re targeting to properly align tactics for getting their attention. For example, in the fresh produce industry, we know that one prime target audience is the trade media, so when we set new goals, we plan (and tailor messaging) accordingly.
#3: Determine Who Else You Want To Reach
Community growth and audience reach goals start with understanding who you’re already reaching and end with who you want to reach next. Once you’ve determined your target audience, you can begin to set your sights on additional reach. Who else do you want to hear your message? What is the “dream demographic” you want to inspire? Achieving a larger reach will not only increase your brand awareness, but will also help you reach growth goals all around—just make sure you don’t water down your message in an attempt to appeal to the masses!
#4: Forecast the Future
When setting goals, looking toward the future is key. It’s crucial to map out what you want to achieve the remainder of the year and go from there. It’s helpful to go through—month by month—what needs to be accomplished, and what can be anticipated. This allows you to set attainable long-term goals for your brand. For example, we all know that the holidays revolve heavily around food and most food brands want coverage during this time, so it’s important to plan far in advance!
#5: Be Realistic
While the concept of “reaching for the stars” is always on the table, ensuring goals are realistic and attainable is the most effective way to make sure they actually get accomplished. (Pro-tip: looking at what has been done in the past is the easiest way to start determining goals for the future.) Come to an agreement with your team on priority focus areas, and be sure everyone involved is communicating regularly in order to stay on track along the way.