We recently participated in the Visit North Carolina Travel Conference in beautiful Asheville. One of the sessions for travel professions, and in our case, publications covering travel, was a session on the importance of a good strategy in pubic relations (PR) and an introduction to the Barcelona Principles. Big thanks to J Public Relations and Destinations International for the excellent presentation.

In the realm of PR, the Barcelona Principles have become a gold standard for establishing effective and ethical PR measurement practices. First introduced in 2010 and updated in 2015, these principles have played a pivotal role in advancing the field of PR and providing professionals with a framework for evaluating the success of their campaigns. Despite its comprehensive nature, the Barcelona Principles seem to be missing a crucial step: encouraging clients to link back to online articles after they have been published.

The Barcelona Principles consist of seven guidelines that PR practitioners should follow in order to evaluate the effectiveness of their campaigns. These principles include:

The Barcelona Principles: A Brief Overview

  1. Importance of goal setting and measurement
  2. Measuring communication outcomes, not just outputs
  3. The effect on organizational performance should be measured whenever possible
  4. Measurement and evaluation require both qualitative and quantitative methods
  5. AVEs (Advertising Value Equivalents) are not the value of public relations
  6. Social media should be measured consistently with other media channels
  7. Measurement and evaluation should be transparent, consistent, and valid

These principles have significantly contributed to the development of a more strategic and ethical approach to PR measurement. However, there is one key aspect that needs to be added to this list: the importance of clients linking back to online articles.

The Missing Step: Linking Back to Online Articles

In the digital age, online articles have become a critical component of PR campaigns. By providing valuable information and generating conversations, these articles contribute to brand awareness, reputation management, and audience engagement. Linking back to such articles from your website after they have been published is a simple yet powerful step that can amplify the impact of PR efforts. Social media is great, but search engines need web links to provide great experiences to their users.

Why Linking Back Matters

  1. Enhanced credibility: When clients link back to online articles, it adds credibility to both the content and the brand. This helps to build trust among audiences and enhances the brand’s reputation.
  2. Improved search engine rankings: Linking back to online articles can contribute to better search engine optimization (SEO). This can lead to increased visibility, higher organic search rankings, and ultimately more website traffic.
  3. Audience engagement: Linking back to articles encourages audiences to engage with the content, fostering conversations and sparking interest in the brand or product.
  4. Longevity of content: By linking back to articles, clients ensure that their content remains relevant and accessible over time. This can increase the longevity of PR efforts and allow campaigns to continue generating value long after they have been launched.

Everyone wins. Cost: $0.

Adding the Missing Step to the Barcelona Principles

While the Barcelona Principles have been instrumental in shaping the PR industry, the addition of the missing step—the need for clients to link back to online articles—can further enhance the effectiveness of PR measurement. By emphasizing the importance of linking back, PR professionals can encourage clients to maximize the impact of their campaigns and demonstrate the true value of PR.

In conclusion, the Barcelona Principles have been an invaluable tool for PR professionals. However, incorporating the missing step of explaining the importance and encouraging your clients to link back to online articles will only strengthen the framework and improve the overall efficacy of PR campaigns. It is time for the industry to acknowledge and adopt this crucial aspect of PR measurement to stay relevant in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

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Jay Graves

Jay is Chief Operating Officer at Blueprint.Inc (https://blueprint.inc) based in Nashville, TN (better known as the home of StyleBlueprint.com). He manages financial, technical, and process management, supporting small business clients around the South. He has over 20 years of experience in technology management, software development, strategic business development, and bootstrapped startup companies.