PR reports are one of your most vital tools in developing a good relationship with your clients. They give you an opportunity to show what you’ve been up to and the results of all your hard work. With metrics that can be hard to quantify, creating PR reports that clearly communicate your successes is essential.
What exactly is a PR report, and how do you ensure that any PR report submitted to your clients dazzles them and makes them confident in continuing to use your services? We look at what your PR report should focus on and what you should always include.
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What is a PR report?
A PR report documents your efforts and results for a particular client. It gives you an opportunity to show that you are fulfilling your role for the client. It can be a balanced mix of quantitative and qualitative data, including key metrics and other evidence of your achievements.
You may be asked to submit a PR report at regular intervals according to your client’s needs or a specific campaign you may be working on. Copies of your PR report will be submitted to the client as well as relevant people within your organization, such as your manager, CEO, CFO, or other appropriate stakeholders.
How to create a PR report
Your starting point for any PR report is to have a clear idea of what the client’s stated goals are. Of course, this is something you should understand long before a PR report is needed, but it can also act as the starting point of your report. The things to consider when planning your PR report include the following:
- Client goals: These can be long-term goals or goals for a specific campaign. They can include factors such as increased sales or improved brand awareness.
- Timeframes: Has the client stated that they expect certain results within identified timeframes? In some cases, such as PR work on a campaign, the timeframes may be limited.
- Milestones: Have specific milestones been identified as measurements of success? This ties in with the overall goals but may include identifiers such as a certain level of increase in sales within a stated period.
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Three essential elements for an impressive PR report
When planning a PR report, you should refer back to the original client brief that identified what they wanted to accomplish from working with your agency. You can then start collating the information needed in the following elements.
While your PR report will contain some qualitative evidence, quantitative data should be easy to collect and offers you an easy way to show how effective your work has been. List the metrics you have used and show how those metrics have (hopefully) improved. For example, one of the client’s goals may have been expanding their Twitter reach, which you can easily demonstrate through numbers.
You need to link any changes in metrics to the work you have done. If there has been a 25% rise in Twitter followers after you published a series of blog articles or social media posts, then that can demonstrate the success of your PR work. Depending on the client’s goals, there are a number of metrics you should consider tracking:
- Engagement on social media, including factors such as shares, likes, or followers.
- Any changes to traffic to the client’s website.
- Any increase in reach.
- Increases in sales/conversions.
- Media coverage. Have your PR efforts led to the client’s brand being talked about more? What media outlets have you targeted? Traditional print media, online newsletters, or does your PR strategy include radio?
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2. Connecting the data to the stated goals
Ok, data can look great, especially when you dress it up in fancy graphics or a PowerPoint presentation. However, with a PR report, you need connect the data to your goals. Most PR campaign will have multiple goals, so ensure that you link the data to each set goal. Those goals could be as simple as increased downloads of a small business contract template or as complex as increased reach over multiple social media platforms.
This can be the complicated part of a PR report. For example, how do you show that increased media coverage is directly linked to an increase in sales? This is where you maybe need to focus on short-term data. Taking the example mentioned, you could look at sales data in the weeks previous to the media coverage and the weeks immediately after to show a correlation.
Remember, it’s important to have complete data transparency in regards to both your clients and their customers in the data you collect. Make sure you’re open about your methods. This will, in turn, foster a good client relationship.
3. Focus on forward planning
A good PR report should include not only what you have done but also what you plan on doing. Have the results to date informed you of weaknesses and strengths in your strategy and work? Clients may not mind negatives in your report if you demonstrate that you have identified those negatives and what steps you will take to turn them into positives.
For example, one of your client’s goals was to increase their followers on social media, but you fell short of stated targets. If you can clearly demonstrate why your previous strategy failed to meet this goal and what changes you will make to meet them, then they may be less likely to be disappointed. A PR report may not contain all the desired outcomes, but it can show what you learned from previous mistakes.
PR reports are all about communication
PR is all about communication—how you communicate with social media or the press and how you communicate with the client. You can present your PR report with fancy graphics or something simple such as the best free PDF editor, especially when you need to do frequent reports. It doesn’t matter the medium you use. What’s important is that your PR report demonstrates that you are achieving results and meeting goals.
A good PR report should impress your clients, even when all their stated goals have not been met. By owning any failures or weaknesses, you can instill confidence in them using your agency. But be sure to focus on the positives. You may have fallen short in one area or with one goal, but you may have achieved success in other areas. The most important thing to remember is that any PR report should be honest and transparent.