Unfortunately, there are a lot of PR agencies out there that give public relations a bad name. We hear from people all the time who have had at least one bad run-in with a PR agency. Typically, the story gets summed up like this, “they failed to deliver what they promised.” Other times, the complaint can go even further, “they did nothing.” Regrettably, these companies often waited far too long to figure out that the PR agency was just not worth the investment. However, there are plenty of good agencies that go above-and-beyond expectations and it’s important to know how to identify if your PR agency is doing a good job. So, how do you know if your B2B PR agency is doing a good job?
First, it is important to explain what you should expect from your public relations program. PR is about building awareness and credibility. It is about delivering insightful, educational content that will eventually lead prospects back to you. It can be hard to put a KPI on that, but that does not mean you can’t measure how successful your PR agency is at delivering on its promise.
As a starter, Rankin PR offers a guarantee. While it is considered unethical in PR to promise specific coverage, there are other ways agencies can offer a guarantee to ensure every client gets something for their money. For example, we have developed a system that allows us to guarantee the articles that we write will get published in top-tier trade publications. It is worth asking your potential agency if they can make the same guarantee.
The top PR KPIs
Beyond the guarantee, the first KPIs that are indicative of whether or not your PR agency is doing a good job are:
- Target Media Secured – the number of placements that appear in publications that target your customers
- Key Messaging Inclusion – the number of mentions of your company that align with your key messaging points
- Impressions – how many people see the article
Let’s dive a little deeper into this. Say it has been 6 months and your PR agency reports they have secured 20 different placements. Great, right? Well, maybe, maybe not. You have to determine whether those publications are directed at your target audience. Believe it or not, there are a lot of “phony baloney” websites out there that will publish anything. So, you need to make sure the placements fall under the umbrella of publications that your ideal customers are reading. Whichever ones do not fit within this designation, you can remove from the KPI.
Taking it one step further. Maybe you determined that only 10 of those publications fall within your targeted list. Now ask yourself, how was your company represented within that article? Were you mentioned along with a long list of competitors or was it a feature article where your customers were quoted talking about how you solved a major problem for them? There is a huge difference. Subtract any articles that are not worthy because of the messaging.
Finally, take the articles that reached your target audience and included your key messaging, and identify the number of people who saw them. This will give a valuable number of impressions. Because each impression included your target messaging and was directed at your potential customers, you now have a good idea of whether or not your PR agency is doing a good job.
Going beyond PR KPIs
Now that you have a better idea of whether or not your B2B PR agency is doing a good job, you can look beyond some basic KPIs and on to bigger-picture ideas. Has the PR led to increased revenue? This is likely to take a lot longer than six months to determine, but eventually, you will get to a point where the trend line needs to be curving up. However, that will depend on a lot of different factors including your average sales cycle, the cost of your products, etc.
The good news here is that your PR agency should be able to help shorten your sales cycle, ramping up sales at a faster pace. By generating insightful, educational, and even disruptive content you will be able to push people further down the decision-making road. Rankin PR has been able to cut sales cycles in half within just the first two years of working with some clients.
Your B2B PR agency should also be assisting you with the SEO side of the business. By including backlinks within the articles, you will be developing a treasure trove of high domain authority backlinks. To Google, this is the most important ingredient to where your website ultimately ranks. If your PR agency is just producing press releases, then those are highly unlikely to have any effect on your SEO.
How to know if your B2B PR agency is doing a good job?
Finally, if your PR agency is producing great content then you can use that on your social media platforms. For B2Bs this really boils down to LinkedIn which offers a number of analytic tools to once again verify if your content is connecting with your target audience. While LinkedIn is obviously a smaller sample size than a trade journal, if you see your impressions, followers, and engagement going up on social media, then there is additional proof that your B2B PR agency is doing a good job.
So, how to know if your B2B PR agency is doing a good job? Well, with these tools, you should feel even more confident in engaging with a B2B PR agency. If you would like to contact us to see if you fit within our program, please set up a time for a free session.