5 Tips to Create PR Reports Based on What Brands Really Care About

As communication professionals we are tasked with trying to maximize exposure across multiple forms of media, while actively listening to audience feedback and mining for emerging trends and conversations we can capitalize to keep our clients top of mind (and our jobs secure!).

While the standard reporting (reach, likes, engagement) is important, how you report on your progress and wins is often as important as what you are reporting on. In fact, reporting is often one of the more overlooked parts of our industry, as the “what’s next,” mantra pushes us to continue our trajectory with only a short window of time to look back.

Over the years, we’ve refined an effective process to ensure clients are kept up-to-date on account progress, here’s what we’ve learned.

1. Provide insights based on client goals

Frame reporting in terms of client goals and priorities by taking a look back at your original  client questionnaires, notes from kickoff meetings and feedback sessions and make sure you are showing results in terms of how they are impacting your client. This means that while you may be overjoyed that influencer X posted Y, but if the client’s articulated goal was print coverage, they are likely not to share your desire to break out the bubbly. Remember, it is up to you to frame results in a way that clients can see how you are driving their priorities forward, the placement is not enough.

2. Agree on KPIs

In keeping with reporting on what matters most to your client, decide ahead of time on your priority key performance indicators (KPIs). You might need certain data to come in from an in-house web team, like traffic or referral sites, for example, and it will be helpful to ensure this information is being passed through to you if you don’t have access. With both parties in agreement on what KPIs are going to be tracked and reporting upon, you’ll be in a better position to ensure you are delivering in alignment with expectations.

Reporting is often one of the more overlooked parts of our industry, as the “what’s next,” mantra pushes us to continue our trajectory with only a short window of time to look back.

3. Make Reporting Visual

It might be a general stereotype, but creative business owners rarely jump out of their seats for spreadsheets. Don’t make your clients have to work hard to process the results you’ve worked so hard to achieve, instead provide visually appealing. co-branded reports that display data in an easy-to-digest format. Oftentimes your reports are circulated to other decision-makers at a company, so a summary of wins and impact is useful leave-behind for your client.

4. Don’t undersell progress

We know that media relations is often a circuitous process. Bring your client into the loop by addressing any movement – from a request for more information, to a quick pitch over happy hour.  Make sure everything – from a positive comment on an Instagram photo, editor feedback on a collection, or a request for information via an online press kit form, get included in your report. Activities like these help clients understand how you are spending your time and can see the momentum building. . Be specific on what the opportunities are, what the steps you’ve taken have, and what your next steps will be to follow up and secure coverage.

5. Provide recommendations

Take advantage of your regular reporting and compile specific feedback from outlets that you’re pitching and meeting with (without naming particular members of the media), particularly after special events and product launches. However, as experts, it is our job to not only convey media feedback, but to provide out own. Carve out a spot in your report to provide your own recommendations and ideas on how to adjust for better results. Is the current collection to similar to the last, is the price point off? Not enough styles? Do you need more of a newsworthy angle? Your meeting to review your reporting is a huge opportunity to discuss what you need from your client to be more successful. Consider leaving ample time during the meeting to brainstorm new efforts based on feedback.

As publicists we’re constantly faced with crafting cohesive, exciting, on-brand messaging to the masses and ensuring media placements. Don’t make reporting an afterthought; establish an internal process and consistently review and revise how you report on activity for clients. 

About This Author

Liz got her start in the corporate public relations department at Coach, where she oversaw regional press and events. In time, Liz segued into the fast-paced agency world, moving to a boutique firm specializing in fashion accessories. In early 2009, with her passion, talent and eye for irresistibly chic and stylish designs, Liz set out on her own. She founded her fashion PR firm, Mariposa Communications, to provide unparalleled services to a selection of designers, whether established or on the rise