How Public Relations People Judge Success: One Monumental Secret to Achieving More Success in the Coming Year

By Gerard Braud

Blog-ChristmasPublic relations and communication professionals on a global basis are experts at creativity. One cute, creative holiday letter I received spoke volumes about how public relations people judge success and the urgent need for public relations people to rethink their approach.

The card was a creative spoof of the dreaded “holiday letter” that so many families send out. You’ve probably received one. It brags about the achievement of their daughter in dance class, the son’s success in soccer, the mom’s new workout routine, dad’s job promotion and of course, photos of the family vacations to exotic lands.

The accomplishments in this spoof letter included how many tweets the communications team made, how many Facebook posts, how many “Likes,” the number of videos posted and viewed, the number of publications created, and the number of news releases written.

This is typical of how many public relations people judge success; they judge it based on tasks completed.

What is wrong with this approach?

Ask: What Do I Want These Tasks to Accomplish?

Success should be measured not in the quantity of tasks completed, but by the impact those tasks have on or for your institution and your audience. If you Tweet 1,000 times, post 1,000 times on Facebook and blog 360 times in a year, but you have no followers and no readers then you also have no impact. If you are blessed with followers and readers, you must ask, “Have my communications caused my audiences to behave the way I want them to?” For example, did your customers buy more products? Did you guide your employees to be more productive? At a hospital, did you change the health habits of your community? At an electric company, did you help your customers be more energy efficient?

A new year is always a time to set goals. You should consider setting goals as strategic objectives that are accomplished by the tactical actions you take. Public relations actions without meaningful results equals busy work.

Hence, I would have loved to see that cute, holiday card spoof again next year. Next year I hope it tells me about the successes achieved in terms of end results rather than tasks completed.

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