For many companies, there’s no better feeling than seeing positive media coverage about your brand. Not only is it a powerful way to build credibility and raise awareness, but it’s also a great way to further your business objectives. That is, if you know which elements you should value and measure.
While some PR agencies use publicity value as the be-all, end-all factor in determining the value of PR, we try to stay away from this as much as possible. Why? There are two main reasons. For one, the way that agencies arrive at this number is nebulous at best. Secondly, we’re much more concerned with the actual business results driven by PR versus an ambiguous publicity value that doesn’t tell us any key sales metrics, such as the number of leads produced or sales closed as a result of the media placement.
With this in mind, here are four factors you should always consider when measuring the effectiveness of your PR campaign.
Calculate share of voice beyond just your competitors
We measure results not only by the volume of media coverage, but also through the share of voice relative to both competitors and keywords. Understanding how often your brand is mentioned compared to your competitors is important to track over time in order to gauge the success of your PR efforts. Keyword share of voice shows how your brand has (or has not) earned its place among a certain set of keywords or topics relevant to their product.
Evaluate the quality of media placements
Another metric that can be taken into account for PR measurement is the quality of a media placement. When gauging the quality of each story, we look at a variety of factors, including whether a brand spokesman is quoted, if a link to the website is provided, if the story is a more in-depth profile versus a brief mention in a story, whether the sentiment is positive, negative or neutral, and if the outlet has shared the story on social media.
Is it influencing business results?
We also evaluate which types of media placements drive the best business results for our clients. Especially for b-to-b companies, there are many instances when a placement in a specialized trade publication can be far more impactful than a top-tier national media outlet. By analyzing our clients’ Google Analytics, we can determine which media placements drive the most qualified sales leads.
In fact, when recently doing just that for a b-to-c client, we discovered that the top referral source to its website was not The Today Show, Good Morning America or one of the other top national media hits we obtained for them. Instead, it was a very niche website with a much smaller audience that generated the most traffic to their website. Sure, the bigger marquee pieces of media coverage are phenomenal to have from an exposure and credibility standpoint, but ultimately the smaller, more targeted media outlets may result in better business outcomes.
When evaluating the traffic our PR efforts are driving for clients, we’re also looking to Google Analytics to determine if it’s high quality traffic. If our PR is effective, we should be seeing the bounce rate decrease, while pages per session and time spent on the website increase.
Track the behavior of sales prospects
Website user behavior also offers a trove of information for measuring PR efforts. For example, you can track behaviors such as how many people downloaded a content item (such as a whitepaper) and how many of these downloads turn into a sale. This tells you if the leads that you’re bringing to your brand’s website using a PR tactic are qualified leads that have a substantial impact on the bottom line.
Above all else, we stress to clients that PR is a sales function – rather than an extension of marketing. We’re distributing content and information about their brand that needs to have a measurable sales impact, not just regurgitate marketing messaging.
Would you like us to conduct an audit of your current PR results? If you’d like help in determining the effectiveness of your current PR campaign, give us a shout here.