The end of the year is naturally a reflective time. I, for one, look back at the work we’ve completed for our valued clients and look toward the future with a refreshed outlook. And for many organizations, the end of the calendar year also is the end of the fiscal year. As a year draws to a close, communications and marketing professionals slow down for pointed reflection and analysis of a year’s worth of results. If your organization’s year has ended, you may have just wrapped up your annual public relations and marketing report, showcasing your team’s media relations wins and communications successes.
Whether it is a glossy, spiral-bound binder or an email recap of data, these reports are useful to executives. But just as importantly, these reports serve a practical purpose for your team. Regular reporting keeps PR pros on track to achieve goals and accountable to strategic plans, while conducting routine analysis helps constantly identify areas for improvement.
PR pros should remember every data-rich public relations report – whether it is for the end of year, the quarter or even an individual month – should be three things: big picture, digestible and actionable.
Big picture: Make sure the audience of your report understands how communications supports organizational objectives. The metrics and markers of success as noted in the report should directly translate into the organization’s markers of success. Clearly describe what the data and figures represent, how it’s been captured and analyzed and what this means for overarching organizational and bottom-lined business goals.
Digestible: The folks reading the PR report may need to swiftly review and provide feedback to the data and figures presented. Keep the report brief and only include the most pertinent elements. The data points and key takeaways should be easily extractable and explainable. Utilize creative ways for displaying complex information and include helpful tables, charts and graphics as needed.
Actionable: Any report you sink time into creating should be useful to you and your team. In creating a PR report, the process of distilling and analyzing data for executive consumption will ultimately help further improve your PR and marketing efforts. After assembling the report, you should be able confidently say, “now that we know X, we are going to do Y,” to both your team and your C-suite.
Once you have determined how to start measuring your public relations success – through identifying key performance indicators, tracking specific metrics and regularly analyzing data – developing cohesive yet succinct executive reports is the next step. PR professionals know data-driven reports are a key deliverable for decision makers. Through regular reporting, public relations departments can illustrate outcomes and objectives while providing context for future recommendations and plans.
Angelica Flynn is a Senior Account Executive at AKCG. She focuses primarily on proactive media relations efforts for clients in the healthcare industry and crisis response and preparedness for clients in the education industry. Read more blog posts by Angelica here.