Insight February 20, 2017

What PR Can Do for Brands – and How to Measure it


PR measurement

By Anna Condon, Junior Copywriter

In the world of public relations, analytics are key. To keep clients happy, you need to be able to clearly and effectively communicate exactly what your efforts are accomplishing for their business and back it up with both qualitative and quantitative evidence.

We’ve talked about using web analytics to fine tune your marketing efforts, but these metrics often leave out an important part of the PR puzzle. The information from Google Analytics can help you understand if your web traffic has increased, and if media campaigns are providing ROI — but how can you measure the brand awareness and visibility achieved through media outreach?

Anyone can buy ad space in the local paper, but you can’t pay a journalist to write about your product. The product (or service) needs to catch the writer’s attention, and they have to want to share it with their readers. This type of coverage builds brand awareness, but it also lends credibility. People trust that the product or service is good because they trust the author.

This works on the same principle of personal recommendations. You might not rush out to visit the newest Thai restaurant after you see their ad in the paper; however, if your best friend raves about how you’ll absolutely love the massaman curry, you’re more likely to make a reservation. Social influence and word of mouth are powerful things, and it’s something analytics tools have a hard time tracking.

When it comes to PR, there are several options that can help you communicate the success of your work, as well as manage client expectations:

  • Total mentions ­– In the old days, before web 2.0, press clippings was the bread and butter of marketers across the globe. Keeping track of press mentions is still one of the primary ways PR pros demonstrate the value of their work. A large number of press mentions in target media outlets equates to successfully increasing your brand visibility.
  • Impressions ­– With media outreach, there’s not really hard and fast data of how many people saw your ad, per se. However, you can track media impressions by multiplying the number of press clippings by the total circulation of the publication giving you a sense of how many people you potentially reached.
  • Social amplification – Measuring social media mentions before and after launching a PR campaign can provide valuable insight. Focus on conversations around your brand and social influencers who have amplified your message to determine whether your efforts have paid off.
  • Ad equivalency value – Makeup companies can buy a slew of full page ads in beauty magazines, but making it into the editors “Top Beauty Picks of 2017” list can often be a lot more lucrative — without the cost of ad placement.

Too often, clients misunderstand the purpose of media outreach. The true value of PR is that it’s earned, not bought.