Public relations is outcomes, not outputs

Saw something a week or two ago from a-shall-not-be-named PR person on Twitter that made me smile.

The person in question is much more senior than me (granted, wouldn’t be too difficult) and their tweet went a little something like this:

“Just seen this in the paper http://atwitpichere – now my husband’s generating his own PR…”

So I clicked through and it would seem one of “the husband’s” tweets had been grabbed and published in the paper’s “tweet of the week” roundup. If I can remember correctly, the tweet was about something completely inane and unrelated to her husband; his past, present or future.

He didn’t generate his own PR – he got some column inches because he made a joke or said something vaguely interesting… or something.

Lots of comms people seem to see all and every media citation as “PR”, when surely PR is about outcomes – attitude change, sales, opinion drivers, persuasion, sharing, message cut-through etc etc.

You’ll never be able to measure or source “outcomes” without “outputs”, but if PR people started concentrating / attributing value on resulting action as opposed to what’s yielded, then maybe, just maybe, we’d be taken more seriously at board level.

It’s really not (as) difficult (anymore) thanks to social.

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One thought on “Public relations is outcomes, not outputs

  1. Hi Anthony,

    Good post.

    ”Outcomes” really are the low-hanging fruit of PR measurement. They’re easy to measure, but don’t come anywhere close to showing PR in its true and most impactful light.

    In my experience, a lot of consumer PR teams have been quick to focus on ”Outcomes”, but they should be considered the first, contextual step of measurement, not the only one.

    I too, recently penned a post on PR measurement that mirrors some of your frustrations: http://socialwebthing.com/2012/09/measuring-outputs-outtakes-outcomes/

    Thanks,

    Ben

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