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So you are PR Manager, so what?

Have you ever experienced that people have a hard time understanding what you actually do for a living? Well, as a PR Manager in the lifestyle industry, I experience that all the time. People often ask me, ‘’what are you actually doing besides sipping champagne and eating healthy mini wraps together with journalists, semi celebs and bloggers.’’ They don’t even wait for my answer. Like THAT – I’m labeled. But why?

Why this lack of respect?

It’s my true feeling that lifestyle PR is not looked upon as a real profession by many people. Not as respected as corporate communication and definitely not as respected as the more analytic parts of marketing. But why is that?

Could it be down to the fact that PR does not deliver hard-core facts, figures or tracking results? Because how do you measure PR? The topic has been discussed for years providing different models and analytic tools for measurement. Still though it is quite common that PR is only measured by value – that is advertising value times three. Quantity. Full stop. The higher the value, the better the PR. But can you really measure PR like that? And is this rather poor way of measuring it, maybe one of the reasons why PR doesn’t meet the same respect as other marketing disciplines.

It’s my belief that the tools for great insight on PR work actually are out there. But it takes time to deep dive into data trying to prove that PR does actually have an impact on sales and brand perception. If you succeed, you can then start to justify your existence and profession.

The value of good PR

There are different methods of analyzing the quality of your PR work. Analyzing your data into smallest detail is a good place to start. There are many facets to good PR work. Anyone claiming otherwise is wrong.  But if you ask almost any Scandinavian PR agency they will most likely say, this is the way to do it. It’s easy, it’s fast and it’s inaccurate and inadequate as hell – if you ask me.

Following that track and looking for instance at PR value from blogs, they’re based on number of followers and unique users. But that doesn’t say a lot, does it? Today, people browse a million things on the Internet everyday. Who follow blogs anyway? You take a quick look on Instagram and the blog you don’t even read. Instead you should take a look at the level of engagement from fans and followers. Are they loyal and are they genuinely interested in the content you provide them with? Does it add any value to my brand and my sale being linked to that specific blogger or celeb? Looking at print PR coverage print advertising value times three seems to be the only way a press clip is measured. Well, what does it tell you? Not that much. A clip from a small and edgy fashion magazine can be twice as much worth PR wise than a fashion shoot in a glamorous fashion magazine, as it perhaps has a much larger positive impact on brand perception, coolness factor and consumer behavior. Instead you should ask yourself the following questions; how are the sentiment and the context of the clip? Can you actually see the product in the clip? Is it featured in a key media? Is it the right type of coverage? Is it a product you want to push?

What PR is all about

Put all these things together in a melting pot and you’ll be able to analyze your PR performance. Try measuring your level of PR impressions with development in sales. Try to look at your product PR and compare it to sales figures on that specific product at the same period of time. Do any of the factors impact one another?

Hopefully, the answer to this is yes. Naturally, you will never be able to measure PR as accurate as sales because there’s a certain je ne sais quoi to PR – an emotional feeling which is quite difficult to put into any box. But you can try! My advice is, do not give up. Let yourself swim into the sea of PR data and even though you are scarred because you like words better than you like figures, you should explore it. It’s fun and it’s vital if you want to justify your existence both inside and outside of your organization – and the best of it, is that it will enable to act much more strategic in your daily work. Perhaps you will even make your own PR KPI’s?

Be proud of what you do – even though it does take some champagne sipping and cupcake eating once in a while.

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