Why success has to be specific

Winning a new client is undoubtedly an exciting time for any PR agency but it’s vital to define success from the outset.

Success can mean many things to different people and sometimes, your client may not even know what success looks like. It’s our job as a PR agency to guide them towards defining their success and the best way to do this is by setting a series of clear outcomes.

The more specific you can be, the better. On paper, “50 items of coverage” sounds like a great idea – but it doesn’t specify what type of coverage and where. Your client probably won’t be happy with 50 media clippings mentioning the word ‘scandal’ in the Daily Mail.

So what are some better examples?

  1. We want a total of three feature length articles this year in these titles: Fishing Monthly, Total Fishing, Fisherman’s Journal, Fishing World, Fish Life
  2. We want to see a 20% increase in visitors to the blog page on our website in 2020.
  3. We want to double the number of sales in the East Midlands region this year with at least 50% of sales originating via our website.

Remember being told at school the goals you set for yourself should be S.M.A.R.T? As a reminder, that’s Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic and Timed. When setting PR outcomes with your client, it’s a good idea to make sure they’re S.M.A.R.T.

Taking the time to work out your client’s objectives for the year ahead is always worth the effort. That way, both agency and client are on the same page. There’s nothing worse than sitting down at the end of the year with an angry client blaming you for their sales being down this year.

Yet it’s no use to agree a series of outcomes in January and ignore them until November. Meeting regularly with your client to review your agreed outcomes helps them to see that you share the same goals and that those goals matter to you as much as they do to them.

If you’re not going to be able to meet one of the goals, say so – your client is much more likely to want to set an alternative, more achievable target rather than completely fail to meet a goal at all.

So next time you’re about to meet with a new client for the first time, be prepared to set some S.M.A.R.T. objectives from the outset!

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