Although decision-makers need assurances that their brands’ PR investments will generate a good ROI, measuring PR results can be challenging. To quantify PR impact, there are several ways to measure the effectiveness and impact of PR campaigns:
1. Press Clippings. One way to gauge success is to track the amount of press clippings that mention your company or products and services. The caveat is that articles and mentions should appear in publications viewed by your prospects. When you receive a large number of mentions in target media outlets, your PR program is successfully raising awareness for your business.
2. Media Impressions. Another method of assessing your PR efforts is to calculate the number of media impressions for a given period. Multiply the number of press clippings by the total circulation of the publication in which it appeared. For example, if The Wall Street Journal mentioned your company and it has a total circulation of two million, you achieved two million media impressions.
3. Content Analysis. In addition to the quantity of articles and impressions, companies evaluating the impact of their PR programs should monitor the content of the articles that are published. Quality matters – did the reporter mention your brand’s key messages? Is your company being portrayed in a positive light? To answer the question “does PR work?” you have to assess whether your press coverage is resulting in valuable content.
4. Website Traffic. Another way to determine the effectiveness of your PR investments is to measure the amount of traffic your website receives before and after launching your campaign. Sales leads often come from calls-to-actions listed on your website, so analyzing spikes in site traffic can help answer whether your PR efforts are working.
5. Lead Sourcing. A well-executed PR campaign directly contributes to sales leads, but it’s difficult to determine when press coverage triggers sales. To learn if your PR efforts influence your clients’ decision-making, simply ask new customers how they heard about your company and its offerings.
6. Market Surveys. Research is paramount to tracking a PR campaign’s success. Before starting your PR campaign, survey your markets to see if they’ve heard of your brand and offerings. After launching your PR strategy, survey your markets again to check whether awareness statistics are trending up.
7. Social Media Mentions. Yet another metric for measuring the impact of a PR campaign is social media mentions. Social media measurements should also focus on conversations about your brand, as well as social communities in your industry. If social media mentions of your brand increase after launching your PR program, you can stop wondering “does PR work?”
This 7 point plan was devised by US-based firm Walker Sands, experts at integrating PR and digital marketing in a way which enables them to quantify the results of their PR efforts for their clients.