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4 Metrics to Measure ROI of your PR efforts

The PR industry is growing at a fast pace, and by 2020, it is expected to surpass a value of 93 billion dollars. With such promising statistics, it comes as no surprise that so many startups and scale-ups are turning to PR as a tool to scale their business. 

 

But how can you comprehend the benefits of PR and measure the success of your PR efforts? Understanding the ROI of PR on your business can be challenging as the impact of campaigns is not always tangible, nor immediate. For example, if a PR agency landed you an interview in a big outlet, the favorable impression might not be reflected instantly but could influence your audience’s buying decision months later. dd

 

As the PR industry is evolving, so is the range of services PR agencies offer. From media relations to events management, the variety of tasks poses another obstacle to measuring the success of your PR efforts. Despite these difficulties, one basic thing that will help measure the ROI of PR is to set clear goals. What exactly do you want to achieve with PR? Is it to share specific news to your niche audience, land an interview in a renowned publication, or increase the number of visits to your site? As PR can improve so many different aspects of your business, the only way to efficiently measure ROI is to set specific objectives right from the start. To help you get a better grasp of the topic, we have gathered the four most common metrics to measure the ROI of PR: 

Number of mentions and coverage

Mentions are a frequent measurement used by PR agencies. This usually refers to the number of times you receive a mention by a media outlet, journalists, freelancers, bloggers, customers, and others on social and digital media. Mentions are a useful tool to help you understand how many people talk about your brand, and what their impressions are. 

When examining the success of mentions, an efficient way to do is to count up media impressions. The latter indicates the number of times a piece of content is consumed, and usually includes the number of unique visitors from the outlet, broadcast audience, or print circulation. When analyzing the results, one should be aware of 3 types of mentions: 

  1. Unbranded mentions: the number of times a keyword related to you or your product/service is mentioned. This will help you recognize relevant publications that might be interested in publishing your content 
  2. Branded mentions: the number of times your company is mentioned. This will help raise awareness about your brand and potentially bring leads 
  3. Specific target audience: the number of times your audience mentions your company, product or service. This will help you get a better understanding of the attitude towards your brand  

One thing to keep in mind when looking at the publications that mentioned you are that bigger outlets and more mentions does not necessarily mean more success. If, for instance, you have a great article about sustainability in engineering, this content would work better in a niche engineering magazine, rather than a general outlet with high domain authority. 

The same thing goes for the amount of coverage you receive. Sometimes, it just makes more sense to have 10 journalists writing about your product to the right audience, instead of having 50 articles that are placed in the wrong outlets. The total number of mentions you receive is relevant as long as you know how exactly it contributes to your PR goals. Indeed, you could be securing coverage after coverage, but it does not bring any leads nor a positive tone, the benefits are not great. 

Increased website traffic and backlinks

Online mentions, if landed at the right publication, will bring traffic to your website and are a prominent way of measuring the ROI of your PR efforts. Keeping track of the number of visitors from the start of the campaign, until the end, can also give you a good overview of how successful your PR efforts were. 

When analyzing web traffic, one must take into account not only the number of visitors but also the bounce rate. Hence, if a visitor does click on your site, but only spends five seconds on it, you do need to rethink how to improve the length of the sessions. Besides time spent on your site, you should also look at what page exactly the visitors are interested in. If you used PR to promote a specific product, and its page is also receiving most content, the traffic is likely to have come from your PR efforts. 

Increased traffic also often comes from backlinks that direct traffic back to your site. Although brands should welcome both quality and quantity links, in this case, landing a backlink in a publication with high Domain Authority (DA) will bring you the most engagement. If you get a backlink at Forbes which has a 95 domain authority, the search engine will automatically see your site more valuable, ranking you higher and boosting your SEO. 

Social media performance

Aside from measuring the engagement on your website, looking at the performance of your social media platforms can be a good indicator of the effect of your PR campaign, as people almost always tend to check a brand’s social account. Since you can directly track your analytics from social media networks, you can easily establish benchmarks and track the progress. 

Once more, you need to critically analyze the traffic you’re getting. What is the sentiment present among your audience that mentions your brand? How many people initiate the conversation with your brand, and who are they? What happens as a result of your social media engagement? These are all some questions that can help you clarify your goals, and identify the right measurements

Common KPIs of a social media performance are the amount of engagement, reach, leads, and conversions. If, for example, you have a large reach, but with low engagement, that clearly shows you’re targeting the wrong people. To measure the latter, look at the likes, comments, and shares, but also carefully listen to what people are saying about your brand. An organic audience that might be small, but engaged, can usually generate more quality leads. Hence, if you keep putting content out there, but are not achieving any significant results, you are either using the wrong platform, or posting content that does not resonate with your buyer persona. 

Qualified leads coming from PR

Many companies are often overwhelmed with diverse tasks and fail to investigate where their new leads come from. The simple, but efficient question of asking ‘ How did you find out about our company?’, will easily help you track the ROI of your PR efforts

By conducting market surveys before and after a PR campaign and setting up tracking links, you can understand better where your leads come from. However, keep in mind that your customer might not always be aware of the moment your brand first resonated with them. To prevent this, try to be very precise with your survey. 

So far, we have looked into the tangible, quantitative ways one can measure the ROI of their PR efforts. Nonetheless, successful PR is much more than simply numbers. It is about building a positive brand image, getting your name out there, and building strong relationships that might eventually turn into leads. In today’s competitive world, with a plethora of companies fighting for spotlight and a single mistake ruining your brand reputation, the role of PR agencies has outgrown purely tangible results. PR agencies are the ones that form relationships for your brand, help you emphasize your advantages, and keep your competition out of the spotlight. 

Are you interested to understand better how to set measurable goals to reach your PR efforts? You can schedule a free consultation with Matias Rodsevich, a PR expert and founder of PRLab. 

 

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