PR Word of the Week #21: ROI

One of the buzz words in PR and communications I have heard a lot in 2011 was “ROI” or “return on investment”.

As a business, before you invest a significant amount of money in to something – such as PR or communications – you need to make sure you are going to get something in return, which, in most cases, means profit. And as communications professionals, we are always trying to convince upper management of the value and importance of PR and communications, we are just not using the right words.

PR and communications professionals have to stop using words like “X journalist wrote about you in their column”. Great. What does that mean to a business professional?

What they need to know is the ROI.

ROI – Return on investment

(riˈtərn än inˈves’mənt)

According to Investopedia, ROI is:

A performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or to compare the efficiency of a number of different investments.


Therefore, instead of saying “X journalist wrote about you in their column”, say “X journalist, with a following of 12,345, wrote a positive article about your new product and suggested to his followers where they can get your new product”. Now the business man is interested. He or she hears “12,345 potential customers”.

The business professional now sees the value in keeping you around, because you are assisting in bringing in more potential customers/consumers.

To impress the business professional even more, do periodic analysis of the companies profit in relation to the work you have done. If there is an increase in profit since you have been around, they will really want to keep you around.

Remember, business and communications professionals speak a different language, as the communicators, it is our duty to learn their language.

I would love to hear from you? Please share your opinion on my definition of ROI. Leave a comment below.

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