Updated: Oct 15
If you want an effective PR (public relations) campaign, you must have clear, measurable goals. The proper KPIs (key performance indicators) can make or break your PR efforts in a world focused on data-driven outcomes.
So what are the best ways to measure the campaign’s progress in PR and communications? This post explains the PR measurements you must do to check if your PR campaign is effective or not.
PR Measurement and Its Importance
PR measurement describes measuring the effect of one or more PR campaigns. It usually deals with performance to gauge how a given PR activity does. This means having concrete numbers behind a PR campaign’s performance.
Measuring your PR efforts and connecting your measurements to your business goals is crucial. However, it’s not easy peasy.
For one, you need to ensure your PR investment is justified. You can constantly experiment, scale, and invest for more impact when it's a revenue driver rather than an expense.
At a deeper level, markets are incredibly competitive. Hence, doing just PR isn’t enough. For it to be sustainable, it has to drive something bigger and be measured depending on your market.
For instance, the most successful businesses measure their results against their competitors. Getting market share and building market preference calls for going beyond awareness to build exposure and stand out more than your competitors.
Plus, if your PR efforts contribute to 10% annual growth, but the market grows at 40%, something’s going wrong. Your PR campaigns might be part of the problem (but likely not the only problem).
Many PR executives struggle with needing to be successful. Of course, PR can't always stand by itself, and that’s okay. However, how you talk and think about PR measurement makes all the difference.
7 PR Measurements for Safe and Effective Campaigns
Here are the must-need PR measurements that gauge your campaign’s performance:
1. Brand Mentions
As the name implies, brand mentions happen when someone or the media mentions your brand. Media coverage determines the number of earned media stories that went live. These metrics are crucial because they help you measure brand awareness.
Brand mentions occur on TV news coverage, reviews, blogs, or social media. Some media outlets may tag or give one way links to their sources. Others may not link to your website, so you must look for them through techniques like manual outreach building.
Pro tip: you must read brand mentions and media coverage for context. Remember, you want people to say positive things about your brand. So, you must read brand mentions to understand the value of coverage.
2. Pitch Interactions
Pitches are another crucial PR measurement.
Since it can take longer than expected for an article to go live, you must track the number of pitches you send and respond to. You'll also want to track how many pitch emails open and get clicked.
Tracking pitches can also help you create a funnel for mentions. On top of that, it can help you understand which pitches get the most value and the best ways to scale your techniques.
3. Social Media Engagement
Social media engagement includes many metrics: views, impressions, likes, shares, and comments.
This PR measurement shows brand awareness and engagement among your audience members. It also tells you when you should post and interact with your followers.
4. Site Traffic
Site traffic is a sign of a successful PR campaign. If people hear about your brand through earned media and visit your site, your PR campaigns reach your target audience.
As you run your PR strategy, track your site traffic. Do this after your press releases and other PR efforts go live. Use your site analytics to check your visitors’ sources (how people came to the website) and consider this information when scaling your PR campaigns.
5. SEO Metrics
SEO (search engine optimization) metrics also help measure your PR campaign performance. There are various SEO principles & metrics that’ll help you see whether you’re going in the right direction or not.
For one, domain authority refers to your website’s capability to rank in search engine result pages. It measures how your website compares to your competitors, which goes from 1 to 100 (with 100 being the highest). The higher your domain authority is, the better rankings your site gets in search results.
Domain authority has three main factors: links to your site (backlinks), your content, and the age of your site. While you can’t magically make your website older, you can use a PR campaign to attract backlinks and place internal links in your content.
Here’s another truth about backlinks: they help you find brand mentions. With backlinks, sites that mention your brand make it easy for readers to visit your website.
You won’t just benefit from new traffic when collecting backlinks; you can also see better SEO rankings.
While the volume of new prospects coming directly from your PR campaign isn’t easy to measure, it’s worth it. One way to do this is to observe how leads convert to sales.
First, you can see where your customers came from by asking them how they heard of you. You can also use a tool like Google Analytics to learn about your customers’ purchase behavior (a.k.a. their route to purchase).
While this is an exciting metric to track, don’t feel bad if you don’t see an influx of conversions immediately. Remember, the main goal of public relations is to increase brand awareness. Those visitors can always return and buy in the future now that they know about your brand.
7. Advertising Value Equivalent (AVE)
AVE describes what it would cost to buy an earned media placement. Interestingly, at one point, this was the only KPI for public relations at one pointe PR performance.
Depending on your business type, you may still want to track this KPI. In 2021, 41% of PR professionals used AVE for planning, while 34% used it to set budgets.
How is your PR campaign doing? Do you think it helps your business grow? If you’re unsure about it, use the PR measurements to track your progress.
Do you want help with your PR campaign? Contact us to jumpstart your PR success now!