How to measure your ROI from PR

Tracey Barrett, Director, BlueSky PR reports.

All recruitment firms recognise the importance of building their list of contacts - whether they be clients or candidates - but some are less aware of the significance of strategic goals and measurement.

Generating content and coverage takes time – so how do you measure the ROI you’re getting out of it?

ROI is often measured in different ways depending on your position within the business. But that shouldn’t be the case. You might have a different set of goals as a Recruitment Marketer than you would as a Recruitment Director but they all contribute to the overall company goals. The overall goal might be to increase placements but the steps to achieving this, such as increasing brand awareness, and the different methods of doing so should each be measured to get a real understanding of their ROI.

Ask yourself a simple question, have the number of leads you’re getting and the fees you’re making gone up? What’s changed? You started doing PR. If you stop PR, if you stop marketing, you’ll quickly see a drop in placements, but it is harder to see the immediate effects of each activity as a combined drip feed approach is often the most effective.

Whatever PR and content strategy you employ, you need to understand that it will take a real investment of time before you begin to see any measureable return. You need to build a following, by creating content and testing it before you know what does and doesn’t work for your market. Aiming your messages at the right audience is important, as is setting objectives and goals – ask yourself what are you looking to achieve? Candidate attraction? Client acquisition? Increased brand awareness? The key to success is to look at each of your distribution channels and strategically segment your audiences. That way your content will be hitting the correct targets and you will be measuring your success in regards to specific engagement goal.

Tracking in recruitment is always tricky. You have to ask the right questions to see the full picture and understand your true ROI. A candidate could be following you on Twitter, which could be their first point of contact, then see an ad on a job board, but the source for the fee is only tracked as the job board. Engagement strategies are designed to demonstrate your standing as an expert within the market and to encourage your targets to engage with your company – but it may take seeing your brand on multiple occasions, on multiple platforms, to achieve a conversion. Tracking only the last point before contact doesn’t give you the full story and provides an inaccurate representation of the performance of your engagement channels. This can be rectified by asking more questions of placed candidates – and new clients - (as well as monitoring followers and click throughs where possible) did they follow you on Twitter? Did they like your Facebook page? Did they read about you in your sector trade press? Simply tracking the application or contact method is not always – if ever – the best option.

I regularly run a workshop for recruitment marketers, with Lisa from Barclay Jones, the next one will take place on 20th September, and one of the key things we look at is how you can measure the success of each of your marketing and PR activities in order to demonstrate the return on investment you deliver. Feedback from one of our previous attendees:

“The creativity and ‘inside knowledge’ that Tracey and Lisa displayed at the PR and Content workshop and was extremely helpful. Using a practical approach they covered a range of topics from how best to engage with influencers to looking at the best ways to spin daily news stories to be appropriated for a specific audience. Having since taken the workshop I have repurposed content and developed a content strategy plan to coincide with some of the topics covered off in the workshop,” Faye Lewis, Marketing Manager Montreal Associates

Marketers rarely jump to take the credit for sales that they deserve – if in fact they have been able to track and prove their success. They are often too busy supporting people within the business that they forget their own goals such as demonstrating the value they add to the business by highlighting (on the CRM) the number of candidates they have delivered into the talent pool. Pinpointing where someone first encountered the brand will allow you to collect more meaningful data on engagement strategies – giving you some real metrics that start demonstrating ROI.

And don’t forget to count the engagement that lead to a warm lead, which was nurtured over time to finally result in a sale. Or the collateral that was used for business development. These also count towards your ROI.

In summary, when it comes to measuring the ROI of your PR: set objectives. have a plan, include consultants, use your PR, and track everything.

Tracey Barrett, Director, BlueSky PR – The specialist boutique communications consultancy for the recruitment, HR and talent management sectors.