Not Seeing ROI from PR? Here Are 5 Mistakes You Could Be Making



It doesn’t matter how small or large your company is; we all want to trim the fat where we can. And because public relations isn’t an industry that all leaders (or at least leaders in finance) understand at an intimate level, B2B marketers constantly have to explain the value they bring and highlight the business they’re responsible for.

If you’re coming close to the end of a quarter and racking your brain on how to show a greater return on investment or an improvement in marketing spend, you need not worry. There are five mistakes that even the veterans make, and they won’t cost you a thing to repair. 

So, if you’re being told to “keep it scrappy” — and show results — here are solutions to 5 common mistakes which will get you the ROI you need to succeed.

You’re not building credibility as a brand 

Question for you. Let’s say you need to find a new pet groomer for your dog because you recently moved and don’t have a favorite yet in town. How do you acquire a great recommendation? (Insert Jeopardy music.) Yeah, you’re going to sites like Yelp or Google to look at reviews and see what verified users are saying. And you’re part of an overwhelming majority, 84% to be exact. So you want to know that the business or service you’re investing in has — ding, ding, ding — credibility.

That said, how are you ensuring your brand is first, building credibility, and second, showcasing it to the public? To pivot our example to a B2B company, let’s say you’re a start-up company competing with the likes of Zoom and Skype. How are you messaging your competitive advantage and backing it up? 

Here are things you could be doing: 

  • Asking for consumer or client feedback and build a testimonial landing page
  • Securing an interview in a trusted publication dedicated to your field 
  • Showing up on “top ten” lists in articles related to your industry 

You aren’t connected to your community or consumers

Your issue may have less to do with PR spin and more to do with the consumer experience. Whether D2C, B2C, or B2B, we’re all competing for attention and loyalty. Say the words “Apple,” “Casper,” or “Function of Beauty,” and guarantee you’ll think of the experience you receive or feel when interacting with the brand over the service or product itself. 

How are you surprising and delighting those who touch your brand? Do your followers receive:

  • Free, valuable advice on social media?
  • Connection over interactive mediums like Clubhouse or Instagram Live?
  • Free samples or free upgrades when trying your service or product? 

What are you doing that’s worthy of being front-page news?

No resources are going toward SEO and visibility 

If you’re at a loss for why you do not see a return on investment, you don’t have to look much further than SEO. We’re all fighting for a piece of the Google algorithm pie, and very few tactics can outwork a thoughtful, strategic SEO plan. You can churn the midnight oil, but if you’re not hitting the first page of Google, you’re leaving business on the table — business to the tune of 3.5 billion opportunities.


Here’s how SEO has a big impact on your ROI: 

  • High-performing articles or exposure can help educate your audience and build credibility.
  • Optimize your press releases and media coverage with SEO to ensure your landing page or featured stories are being seen by curious minds. Someone searching for “sites like Skype” should have visibility into your latest stories featured in publications. Further, if a journalist is searching for a newsworthy story, SEO can lead them to you.
  • Still hoping for an article to go viral? (Who isn’t, right?) Amplification and resharing come with best SEO practices.

Related: A 24-Point PR Checklist Proven to Maximize Your B2B Public Relations Strategy

You aren’t building relationships with journalists or media outlets

In a world of “fake news” and clickbait, it can be easy to underestimate the power and ethics of journalism and media. And if you’ve had any type of poor experience with a media professional, you could be jaded and cold toward building external relationships. 

But here’s the truth: journalists need publicists, and publicists need journalists. Each party has stock in follower count, trust with the community, and a story around the corner that’s sure to make headlines. And as with any industry, talent knows talent. Meaning the entry-level media coordinator at the local news station is linked to an executive at a major national news network. 

If you want to see more ROI on published content or even have it picked up by a bigger, more reputable news stations, you need to build relationships with journalists and scratch their backs the way you need them to scratch yours.

You don’t measure your ROI appropriately — or at all

We hate to make the assumption, but sometimes, the simplest answer is the correct one. Unfortunately, far too often, you don’t see the best or more favorable results because you’re not measuring the appropriate variables or setting the right expectations. 

Here’s a quick “PR math problem.” Two PR agencies have stories hit the front page of Forbes in the same month — amazing! Now, Agency #1 reached 1 million unique users; 50,000 went to their client’s website; 3 of the visitors set up consultations; 0 signed with the client. Now, we have Agency #2. Agency #2 reached a modest 30,000 unique users; 10,000 went to the client’s website; 10 of the visitors set up consultations; 5 signed year-long contracts with the client. So if you measure media impressions, Agency #1 “won.” But if you measure conversions, Agency #2 won by a landslide. 

Math problems aside, you could be focusing on the wrong return. While we may all want to go viral, we need to build relationships and convert visitors into buyers. 

Driving results is key for any successful campaign. But we can’t take shots in the dark and expect optimal outcomes. If you want to make every PR dollar count; ensure that your team builds credibility, maximizes relationships, and measures ROI correctly. Or, contact us for help.


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