The key to getting value from healthcare public relations

The key to getting value from healthcare public relations

By Dodge Communications on July 18th, 2013

Demonstrating the value of healthcare public relations in the B2B arena is, without question, a complicated task. Success is not accidental. Producing the desired results requires a strategic focus from both PR professionals and clients -- as well as a commitment to measuring the effectiveness of any given campaign.

Ragan Communications, Inc., a leading publisher of corporate communications, public relations and leadership development newsletters, recently produced a video underscoring the importance of evaluating results and outlined tactics for avoiding the most common measurement mistakes:

1. Not having a measurement strategy. The first mistake many professionals make is not having a plan at the outset of the program. It is hard to measure anything effectively if you don’t first identify what it is you want to achieve. With more and more competitors in the marketplace, it’s no longer good enough to just have a presence in the media. Implementing an integrated communications strategy (media relations, marketing, social media) is increasingly necessary for full brand impact. Even so, without a measurement strategy it is difficult to verify if what you’re doing has a lasting impact on your target audience.  Metrics are needed to show why a campaign is important for business and what is going to deem it successful.

Before jumping into a public relations campaign, we always suggest our clients establish their goals and objectives at the front, whether it is increasing web traffic, improving lead volumes, etc. These goals are centered on three things: outputs, outcomes and business results. Outputs are the impact one has on media channels—did you reach the right people? Outcomes focus on the awareness and comprehension of your message—did readers’ attitudes change? Finally, the business results center on any increased revenue or turn over the company experiences—were any new contracts closed?

2. Not architecting the program from the outset to measure KPIs. It is very hard to reverse-engineer a program. It is much easier to track improvements over time, and this is made possible by structuring a campaign around your identified goal. If you know that there are certain key performance indicators (KPIs) for success, they need to be built into the program. For example, if a goal is to increase web traffic, tools such as tracking links, Google analytics and SEO need to be considered in advance so they can be built in and measured on an ongoing basis from the moment the campaign is launched.

3. Measuring the wrong thing. Often times a tracking platform can offer units of measure, but if they don’t map back to what’s important to your business, they are generally useless. A good example here would be with social media strategy. Measurement with social media typically falls on quantity rather than quality. The focus tends to be on the number of likes and followers, but the engagement of your followers is much more important. Do you see any conversations happening between your followers? Are you doing anything to initiate this exchange? This open dialogue creates more of an impact and awareness with potential customers, changing their opinions and attitudes, in turn adding to business value.

The full video on the most common healthcare public relations measurement mistakes can be viewed here.