The PR report is the crown of your PR campaign. It is the best way to present what you did and what results it produced. Many of your clients will decide to either move forward with you or cancel your services simply by looking at your report. So why are many PR people getting it wrong?

Here is how to succeed.

1. What was the goal of your PR campaign?

There are two types of clients we’ve come across while building Mediatoolkit’s new custom charts.

First type: want to include as much data as possible

Second type: minimize the amount of data

For the longest time, I was the first type. I thought that the only way clients would be able to understand the results was if I made an impressive document with 50+ charts and a detailed campaign breakdown. Something which, when printed and binded, looked majestic, almost like a scientific paper.

While we were redoing our Reports section in Mediatoolkit, I even suggested that we include a couple of sentences repeating the numbers on the charts. I was almost shooed out of the meeting. My colleagues said that if you can’t understand a chart from looking at it, it shouldn’t exist.

And they were right.

A client is interested in something that’s straightforward. Long-winded descriptions are the opposite of that.

Imagine that the client judges the success of your campaign from a single chart. What would that chart contain? Would you be wasting their time on convoluted descriptions and dozens of data points?

If not, why are you doing it now?  

Before you start writing your PR report, think about that one essential chart that simply needs to be there.

You’ll oftentimes find that it is tied to business outcomes. For example:

1,000 sales > 1,000,000 impressions

560 pledged voters > 560 articles

200 new subscribers > 5,000 shares

AMEC’s Integrated Evaluation Framework offers particularly useful guidelines in finding your main campaign goal.

Use the “inverted pyramid” strategy

The first page of your PR report should feature a short summary, ideally no longer than 2 paragraphs. The summary should follow the traditional news reporting rule of “inverted pyramid”: communicate the most important information at the beginning, and provide less important information in the details below.

I like to start it with the end result first (see above), and then work my way backwards:

The goal was to achieve X. The campaign achieved Y. This is phenomenal because it is twice as good as what we expected – oh, and also twice as good as what the competitors did. We did it with these 20-30 activities. In the next couple of pages, we’ll go into more detail into what happened and why.

Those interested in learning more can then go on reading, with a clear picture in mind of what they are seeing.

Executives don’t have to. They have all the info right there.

Prune Unnecessary Data From Your PR Report

A good PR report is 90% data collection and analysis and 10% actual writing. 

Say you were running an Instagram campaign for a client, which lasted for a month.

You might feel compelled to include this general sentiment graph:

But does your client actually need this much data, if the campaign ran only on Instagram?

The chart can be replaced with a sentence about Instagram being the client’s second most popular channel after websites.

Opt instead for a chart that focuses on sentiment results from Instagram over time:

PR Report - Sentiment

This chart tells the client everything they need to know: the number of mentions and their sentiment over time.

It is focused on the campaign you were actually doing, which is far more interesting than the data shown in the chart above.

Some people will have questions about your methodology.

They will want to know more about total mentions, tonality, sentiment, reach, engagement and other metrics. 

Go on, include all these graphs.

Just make sure you follow the inverted pyramid rule and put them last, rather than first.

Stop fearing that clients will think you didn’t do any work – in fact, the opposite is probably the truth.

Interested in finding out how your brand performs? Use Mediatoolkit to find out.

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