Saying PR can improve the awareness and authority of your brand sounds great, but how do you back this up? This article will explain the key metrics you need to know about to prove the power of PR, giving you the tools you need to perfect your PR campaign.
There has always been a lot of debate over the measurability of public relations. It’s a subtle art, communicating values and altering perceptions of your brand without wanting to make a direct sales pitch to your audiences. The efforts of PR are focused on building not only awareness of your brand, but also authority, two metrics that are difficult to measure directly given this long-term focus.
However, there are ways to correlate results in PR these days, especially given the convergence of PR and other marketing strategies that we here at PRLab use in our integrated approach. We will go over a variety of metrics that can be used to measure the success of your PR campaigns. Understanding these metrics will not only help you measure success, but will give you insights into how you should develop your strategy.
The first metric we’ll go over is website traffic. If you’re paying close attention to your website’s analytics, you should be able to see if any increases in your traffic correspond to your active PR campaigns. If you’ve just secured a press release in a top tier publication, your traffic should increase as people read about your brand.
You can break down your traffic further in Google Analytics, which provides a distinction between returning visitors and new visitors. A high number of returning visitors is a great sign of success and can be used to measure the engagement and authority of your site. Content such as blogs, articles, videos & any other educational or engaging content.
On the other hand, new visitors can be used to measure how PR efforts have affected the awareness of your brand, an influx in visitors means that more people are checking you out. It’s also common to use this metric to measure SEO efforts, with a good SEO strategy crucial to perform well on search engines and give your website more reach, authority and thus traffic. You can learn more about our SEO services here.
It’s also important to look at how many mobile visitors you get, as this tells you a lot about your audience. You can also find this information in Google Analytics, and if you see you are getting a lot of traffic from mobile phones, you need to ensure your content is optimized for this; with good functionality and digestible information suited to people reading on the move.
Another metric used to measure how the perception of your brand changes over time is to track your mentions. Mentions are frequently used by PR agencies and refer to the number of times you are mentioned 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. While there is media monitoring software out there can extensively track your mentions as well as anything related to your brand, Google Alerts is a good place to start tracking specific keywords and topics. When analyzing the results, one should be aware of the different types of mentions:
Branded can be very easy to track yourself whereas unbranded requires more research and knowledge of the relevant keywords and topics that your audience is talking about. Tracking these mentions is very useful for your PR efforts, as you get a feel for what public sentiment is about your brand, if PR has increased activity, or if you need to respond to any negative associations that you might pick up on.
You can use the number of mentions as a metric for PR campaigns, particularly mentions from publications. You can look at the reputation and potential readership of these publications as a sign of how many people are reading about your brand. However, it is important to note that bigger outlets are not necessarily better if no one from your target audience is reading about you.
Be sure to research the most relevant publications when it comes to PR, as it’s better to have 10 mentions with the right audience than 30 in irrelevant blogs. Tracking mentions in itself helps monitor this and in combination with other metrics, will show you where you’re efforts are best made.
Mentions within the media are good visibility for your brand, and can provide additional insight about consumer perception and trending thoughts about your brand.
As you can see, despite the myth that PR can’t be measured there are actually many metrics you can use to see the effectiveness of a campaign.
These metrics should provide you with some useful tools for both planning and measuring the success of your PR strategies. The good news is you can start measuring these with free software, although for extensive data you’ll need to invest in some analytical software. Unlocking the full potential of these metrics is something that requires a lot of time and experience, so if you need help with a PR campaign or strategy with proven results, you can contact us at PRLab today.