By: Gina Mason

Bill Gates once said, “If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on public relations.” From this statement, it is clear that even “Billionaire Bill” finds great value in public relations and would go as far as investing his very last dollar on the practice. Why? It is because he knows that public relations will show great returns on his investment.

When it comes to return on investment or ROI in public relations, it is hard to precisely quantify the value of it strictly in dollar amounts. Sure, we can measure things such as media impressions, reach, analytics and social media interaction. However, the real value in PR comes from brand building and generating awareness. If you are able to establish those elements than you will be able to double, maybe even triple your investment over a period of time.

There is a common misconception that getting media hits in publications like The New York Times will result in direct dollar for dollar sales. While getting media hits can in fact, result in a large number of sales, there is an intangible value that makes the ROI much greater. As stated above, some of intangible elements that add value are brand awareness, credibility and brand recognition. These elements should not be overlooked because they are all essential for a brand or company’s success even though they are difficult to measure.

So how can you tell if you PR firm is actually building your brand and returning your investment? I recently read a fantastic article in Forbes about ROI and PR and I found that the author, Ilya Pozin brought up some poignant questions that brands and company should consider next time they speak with their PR firms. Instead of trying to crunch numbers, ask the questions below:

“Are You Keeping Your Competition Out of the Media?”
“Every placement you get, every article written about your company, and every positive mention you receive is chipping away at your competition.”

If people are talking about your brand or company that means they are ignoring your competition and that your PR team is doing their job. A great media hit can give you a competitive edge and it is very likely that it will also lead to more sales.

Is Your PR Team Forming Valuable Relationships?
“A great public relations team, however, will build lasting relationships by working as a bridge between your needs and the needs of the media.”

Relationships are everything in public relations and developing mutually beneficial relationships can be incredibly valuable in the long run. In addition, those relationships will not only help you grow your business, but can also assist with establishing credibility.

Is Your Team Building Your Brand?
“Building up a recognizable brand identity is perhaps one of the most essential reasons to utilize public relations professionals.”

Brand building is what public relations is all about and getting your brand out to the correct audience is half the battle. Just remember, that brands aren’t built overnight and take some time to develop in order to be successful. Once your brand is established, you can see some huge returns on your investment.

There is so much more that goes into investing in PR and it can be extremely valuable to a company who is doing great work. Although, it may take some time to see the fruits of your PR strategy, all of the intangible elements that PR can bring to your brand are priceless.

As always, I welcome your comments and if you like that you read be social and share.

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