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How to meaningfully measure the impact of PR

Updated: Oct 19, 2022

Now, here’s a question I’m accustomed to getting! Widely discussed, how to quantify PR’s impact is a topic that doesn’t get old. While the actual measurement mix depends on each brand’s specific goals, here’s my take on getting started.

Understand that PR measurement is an integrated world

PR on its own is not enough to win over today’s sharp consumers. Neither is advertising, email marketing, nor social media. The one influences the other, ultimately propelling consumers to do what we want them to. So, rather than looking only at the outputs of PR (the number of placements, impressions, etc.), it’s essential to look at PR’s influence on your marketing efforts in their entirety.

Here are some key metrics to measure PR’s influence.

  • Email marketing performance: With every piece of media coverage (which, as we know, functions as third-party validation) comes the chance to leverage it in newsletters. Here, we’re measuring the click-through rate of media coverage vs. other links.

  • Website traffic: In this instance, we should be looking at overall traffic trends following media campaigns to identify changes in traffic sources. Including a “where did you hear about us” question in webforms with media as an option is an excellent way to (better) calculate these indirect conversions.

  • SEO: Since SEO and PR are becoming more and more intertwined, metrics like backlinks are important to watch and can be a crucial gauge of PR’s impact.

Use the oldies that are still goodies

Again, these will vary depending on business goals and from campaign to campaign, but here are some additional metrics that I always recommend measuring.

  • Media coverage: Targeting here is crucial. Being featured in outlets your target audience(s) aren’t paying attention to does you absolutely no good.

  • Share of voice: The great thing about this metric is that it allows you to benchmark against competitors and helps uncover key differentiators between your brand and theirs.

  • Sentiment: This metric allows you to see if mentions of your brand are creating positive or negative associations within your target audience(s).

  • Key message penetration: Just like with any thought leader, there are key themes you want to be associated with. This metric helps you measure precisely that in comparison to the competition.

  • Media outreach: This refers to the amount of pitching done and how those efforts perform. In addition to the coverage earned, it’s also a great way to see how you’re doing on the media relationship-building front.

  • Event marketing: When it comes to events, it’s always important to look at PR’s role in generating attendance, media coverage, and cultivating relationships with speakers, masterclass instructors, and attendees.

You can’t do everything at once

The fastest way to feel overwhelmed (and not gain anything meaningful from PR metrics) is to attempt to cover all of them simultaneously. My advice is to choose a few that are relevant

to the goals of your PR campaign and take it from there.

The result? You’ll quickly be able to identify the connection between PR efforts and the progress towards company goals, which will make it easier to report on the value of PR in the business.

The measurement tools you choose are important

There’s nothing like the power of Google. Take advantage of Google Analytics to study website traffic and see where you can make changes. I’m also a big fan of Google Alerts and setting it to alert you when keywords (like your brand) are mentioned.

A great tool that combines media relations with advanced media monitoring is Meltwater. With it, you can manage relationships with media contacts and track PR performance. It offers things like a media database to find relevant contacts, filtering options, email pitch distribution, and so on. It also provides information on sentiment, tracks trends, and offers a separate social listening product.

Found this insightful? Then be sure to share it 🙌🏾

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