Reading isn't Everything
Have you seen the billboards that say: “Does Advertising Work? Just Did!” These have always gotten under my skin because no, it did not just work – unless the action the advertiser wanted me to take was to read. Seeing as how selling a product or service vs. getting the customer to read is what keeps companies in business (unless you’re Sylvan, and even then learning to read is a service they sell) then no, these billboards are not advertising in action.
What’s that got to do with PR? Well, often times a win for us is when we get a story in a magazine because presumably the client’s audiences will read the article and form an opinion, become more aware, take a specified action, etc. But without measurement, we too are these very same billboards…all we’ve accomplished, unless we’re measuring a change in awareness or an action taken as a result of the article, is getting the audience to read (again, presumably).
So what’s a girl to do? Don’t practice PR in a vacuum. Work with clients to ensure a feedback loop is in place – big story hit, client tells us web traffic spiked. New product launched, client tells us sales went through the roof and customers are citing the Wall Street Journal story as one way they learned about the product. Tying results to our actions is paramount to success in our business. Hey clients – help us out – we want to be more than annoying billboards.