Using PR Measurement effectively

Our PR services ensure that every Polymedia campaign has a clear PR strategy and responds directly to commercial objectives. This may be an increase in sales, the launch of a new service or product, or a change in the business itself – e,g. growth into new markets. But to know what’s working and what to improve you will need to report on your PR campaigns. PR Measurement ultimately comes down to the type of campaign you are creating and what you want to gain from it.

Much of PR’s impact isn’t always tangible or immediate – often it’s about building a picture, seeing a trend and then being able to draw a line between that and communications activity. That said, there are some ways you can get an idea of impact, for instance:

Quality coverage

Once you distribute a press release, it will hopefully be published in print, online, and broadcast outlets that share your target audience.

This form of PR measurement is tracking the amount of outlets that pick up your press release, but also looking into where they are covered to tell you how effectively you are reaching your target audience. For example, if your news story was placed in a widely distributed magazine dedicated to your industry alone, it is more likely to reach your target audience than if it was placed on an unknown blog.

You can also learn which journalist published your news, and then work to create a good relationship with them. If they were interested in publishing your story once, chances are higher they will be interested in doing so again.

7 PR Measurement Tools

Aside from the coverage itself there are a number of Public Relations metrics you can look at to understand the value of each media placement or company mention.

Circulation or reach is the average number of people who see your announcement in a media outlet. Whether it’s print, digital or broadcast, each media outlet has a circulation, viewership or unique visitor number. Circulation is the average number of people that a publication is distributed to (print or online) and when it comes to it; obviously the bigger the audience, the better for your brand.

1. Coverage Book

Coverage Book is a PR measurement tool that pulls together all of these media hits into one package. They are realistic rather than just being based on overall readership figures. It will predict how many people could see the specific article you are mentioned on. Without this PR metric you’d end up showing the entire site-wide readership of a publication which isn’t realistic.

2. Google Alerts

An easy way you can start tracking PR metrics is to set up Google Alerts. This will help you track placements when you send your press release to journalists or track stories journalists have published about your news without actually publishing your release. This is done with key words.

PR Measurement techniques

3. Mention

Mention is another tool that allows you to track both who mentions your brand and any keywords you set it to track. For example, if you issue a press release that announces a new product launch, you can ask Mention to track the name of your new product and alert you when people talk about it on social media channels.

If the main goal of your campaign is to raise awareness, a PR metric to keep an eye on is the volume of mentions.

4. Learn Google Analytics

It’s always worth looking at your Google analytics around the time of press releases or social media activity – that’s another way of drawing a line between activity and impact.

Using tracking links can reveal how much traffic media coverage drove to your website. From there, you can also analyse who visited the site and how much time they spent on it so you can determine if a spike in traffic correlates to an increase in sales (or whatever your end goal is).

All these numbers and insights can be used to help improve and sell in future PR efforts. We just have to know how to access them.

5. Backlinks from press releases

Backlinks are a useful PR Measurement tool that are often forgotten. These are links that are placed in articles on other websites that point back to your website. For example, if someone publishes your press release or article on their website and includes a link within it to your website for readers to learn more, that link is considered a backlink.

If journalists link to your website in their own articles, this also helps with SEO. A backlink will help Google see your website as valuable. The more this happens, the more it will list your content in search results for readers to access when they search for topics written about on your website.

6. Social media mentions

Social media is arguably one of the most important forms of PR measurement. If you’re active on social media channels, you can examine the number of likes, comments and shares under your posts.

Mentions on Linkedin, Twitter or Instagram will help you gauge awareness around your brand. The more people talk about and share your news, the more likely you are to reach additional members of your target audience. Shares and mentions can help your brand rank better in search engines, creating even more brand awareness.

7. Enquiries

It may sound simple, but when you get enquiries from potential clients or anyone for that matter, it’s always worth asking people how they heard about you. This can help build a picture of where they are getting their information from - they may say LinkedIn, or another website. This will help you to find out what works well for your business and the platforms you should be utilising to get the word out about your brand.

Unfortunately for PR Measurement some things will always be difficult to measure. Things like building good journalist relationships or stopping bad press cannot be measured in numbers. These certainly have value and a huge amount of impact in the long run. It’s best to use tools available to you to constantly evaluate whether your PR efforts are aligning with your goals. This is what you should be looking for from your Public Relations metrics.