In today’s competitive business environment, the role of public relations needs to expand beyond simply creating brand awareness. Organizations are looking for communications partners who can help drive sales, increase profitability and promote business growth.

Here are three ways for communications leaders to create campaigns that will demonstrate a clear connection to sales, profitability and growth metrics.

1. Understand the business objectives before creating a strategy, scope or schedule of work. These can include financial objectives like revenue or growth, customer-centric objectives like market share and even internal objectives such as employee retention. Each company has unique needs, and it takes a collaborative effort to identify and hone in on specific goals. Hosting a discovery session to clarify any questions, analyzing existing data or researching competitor activity can help you get there.

By taking these steps, communications professionals can position themselves as valuable business partners and highlight an ability to drive tangible results through marketing and PR programs.

2. Be specific with your KPIs. Key performance indicators (KPIs) are essential for measuring the success of a campaign because they provide concrete data that shows the impact of the work. Benchmarks should be outlined at the beginning of the planning process and referenced throughout the campaign. Additionally, KPIs should align with the previously mentioned business objectives.

For example, measuring the success of an email marketing campaign by the sales generated using a unique campaign code vs. by open rates or clicks allows you to illustrate how your work impacted the bottom line.

3. Create measurement reports that can be turned into case studies for future reference. The end of a project or campaign offers an opportunity to report out against each KPI. This analysis should include what worked well and what didn't, as well as what could be improved upon in the future. By identifying areas of improvement, you can adjust or remove KPIs and tactics that weren’t effective and build on those that were.

Case studies are a great reporting method because they showcase strategic thinking, creativity, the tactical execution against the strategy, and the results, all in a narrative format. Recap presentations, on the other hand, often summarize the campaign’s key wins in a visually appealing snapshot. Both approaches provide a digestible overview of campaign performance, making it easier for stakeholders to understand the impact of the project. For more ideas, check out our blog post: Four Best Practices for Results Storytelling.

As the business landscape evolves, so do the expectations of company leaders for their communications teams and partners. Tracking and reporting PR results against business goals and KPIs that ladder up to them will help to demonstrate the value of your work, and also help you continuously improve your performance.