In public relations, there seems to be a lot of focus on how many pieces of coverage or “hits” you get for your clients. Some campaigns even require a quota to be met each month. And while my heart still flutters every time I secure an opportunity with a big name journalist or well known publication, the number of hits is just one small part of PR.
Don’t get me wrong, getting coverage certainly helps increase your clients’ public visibility, but there’s just so much more to it. PR helps build trusted relationships while generating a favorable awareness through a whole variety of tactics, only one of which is the number of hits. As Katie Delahaye Paine famously said, “HITS = How Idiots Track Success.”
Some clients (and even some PR agencies) may think hits are the only way to prove their effectiveness in order to stay afloat. However, in a quick poll on Twitter, these people thought the following were the most important things about PR and the success of a campaign:
- @PRSarahEvans: Most important thing about #PR? The relationships.
- @DougH: That a company is able to tell a compelling story and get it to the right people. “coverage” is but one tool
- @LizCaradonna: I think ultimately the goal is influence: influencing people to buy, to talk about, to feel a certain way, etc.
- @GiniDietrich: It’s the basis of communication – do we listen? To our clients? To their customers? To the stakeholders? Then act.
- @Liz_Swenton: Generating awareness, whether it’s through coverage, social media, or increased website traffic. When a reporter is writing a story, you want them to think of your client
- @NicolePRexec: Specific to coverage? Quality over quantity. A challenge many PR folks face with clients.
- @SashaHalima: relationship building. If you don’t know what/who its “about” you cannot work for/with it.
Want to weigh in? Leave a comment or Tweet me @MeredithLEaton!