10 Successful Methods to Measure Public Relations Success

With the right tools you can track campaign performance

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Do you need to measure public relations success? While it may seem impossible with modern tools you can gain insights and prove campaign performance value. Reaching the target audience and calling them to action will work best for any PR campaign. PR professionals must utilize proven metrics that illustrate the effect of a particular PR strategy. By doing so, they will have a clear understanding of what works and what doesn’t.

The key point is to gauge how best an organization can create a campaign and what degree of effectiveness it can achieve with the same. Since money and time are PR investments that a company has to account for, the strategies employed must demonstrate results. The results will show whether the PR professionals engaged in a well-executed PR campaign or not.

What Are PR Metrics?

PR metrics are PR measurement tools that indicate the effectiveness of a marketing or PR campaign. Also called earned media value, PR metrics are able to give concrete numbers behind any campaign. They typically show the success or failure of an initiative.

Ways to measure public relations success

PR strategy is designed to deliver a positive brand image in the eyes of the public. Hence, there are ways that a PR team can make that vision come to life but again the same team must look into the effectiveness of their methods.

There are certain measurement techniques that can help organizations rate their campaign’s success. From an increase in sales and customer interaction to keyword ranking, a company cannot go wrong if it follows approved PR strategies. It would help if an organization tracks these PR metrics before and after initiating a PR campaign. The following are surefire methods of how to measure PR efforts.

Sales data

One of the measurement methods of campaign success is keeping track of the number of sales. Although sales will not increase abruptly, a successful PR campaign will exhibit an increase in sales over time.

Sales is the single most significant PR measurement for a product-based company. When a company engages in a PR program, one of its notable business goals is to increase the number of sales by acquiring new customers. Sales clearly exhibit the business performance of an organization.

Lead generation

When prospective clients express interest in the offerings of an organization, the company relies on that and engages in PR work. The essence of lead generation is to convert prospective clients into customers.

Also referred to as lead sourcing, this process is automated and can include leads from PR activities like email marketing. As a key metric in PR outreach, lead sourcing deals with clients that require the services and products that the company has to offer.

Media coverage

A well-executed PR campaign gets the organization’s name and its offerings out to the public through the use of different media channels. The goal is to make sure that the company’s content appears in media outlets that prospective clients view. A campaign will be more effective if it reaches its target audience. The media outlets can include magazines, websites, social media, and even mainstream media. One important factor that will work with press coverage is when a PR team creates media relations prior to any campaigns. Media outreach will give the company’s public relations strategy a head start.

News reporters on set discuss a story.
The best tool to measure public relations success is to understand what is being measured. Tools can track media interviews both as brand awareness and capture share of voice.

Press releases also work wonders when carefully and cleverly timed. For an organization to achieve media success, it must ensure that its press releases are outstanding. PR work gears toward stimulating and maintaining a conversation. Press releases are great for announcing upcoming campaigns and should be straightforward, visually appealing, and shareable to increase coverage.

Press clippings are key performance indicators when it comes to media coverage because the organization can track where its brand mentions are consistent. An organization can identify its target audiences by looking at the media outlets where the campaign performed well. By tracking such information, the company will know where to direct future PR campaigns for maximum impact.

Media impressions

A media impression is the number of times that particular content is consumed. Whether it is a Facebook post, a blog post, or even a newspaper article, the question remains of how many times that content was viewed. Media impressions differ from media reach in that impressions deal with the number of times the content is viewed while reach displays the number of people who viewed the content.

Media impressions can come from earned media or paid media. Earned media implies that an organization does not rely on advertisements but on promotional efforts. Paid media on the other hand means that an organization has to pay for advertising value.

Website traffic

Website visitors from campaign links is a great way to measure public relations success
Tracking the number of website visitors before and after a PR campaign will give accurate results.

Positive PR results are achievable through engaging content that an organization posts on its website. Before launching any PR campaigns, it is important for an organization to look at the flow of its website traffic. The primary tool for visitor traffic and engagement is Google Analytics.

After the launch, the organization must track the number of visitors to the site and compare it with the numbers before the launch. Market surveys will help any organization put the numbers into perspective.

An increase in number will mean the campaign was successful. If the number remains stagnant, that points towards PR work that is not effective hence no results to show for it. An organization can drive traffic to its website by posting optimized content making it readily available to prospects who search by relevant keywords or brand names.

Share of voice

Every business should strive to be better than its competitors. But how can a company ensure that it outperforms its counterparts? The simple answer is to look at which company the media is mentioning a lot. An organization has to compare the frequency of its brand mentions and those of its competitors. Intensive media coverage emphasizes brand reputation and authority. An effective PR program will ensure an organization is a leader in its industry.

How to calculate the share of voice percentage

A PR team can calculate the SoV percentage by tracking the number of a company’s brand mentions divided by the total number of all brand mentions in the industry. The resulting number will then be divided by 100.

For example, if an organization has 120 mentions out of all industry brands mentions of 1500. Then the calculation will be (120/1500) x 100, and hence the percentage will be 8%.

Engagement in social media and social shares

The moment a company invests in posting on social media platforms, there is always the hope of clients giving feedback. Customers might want to know what products or services the company offers. In other instances, the clients might have tailored requirements regarding what the company offers. Bottom line is, that the organization and clients are interacting. Communication is being passed back and forth and that clearly shows the PR campaigns have been working.

Any PR professional knows that digital marketing is the way to reach as many clients as possible. When online users start to circulate a brand’s content, it raises awareness among more customers and that action might lead to more clients seeking an organization’s offerings.

Social media reach

Social media is one-way organizations measure PR efforts by looking at the unique number of people that the campaign reaches. Although initially, reach involved the use of magazines and newspapers, now it includes internet traffic and social media channels. Reach can either be organic or paid.

Organic reach

Organic reach implies that a business has users that the company did not pay for. The users view the company’s content without being paid to do so.

Payable reach

On the other hand, reach is payable either through paid media which includes promotions or advertisements. A lot of people might not know about a certain business and hence the company opts for advertising techniques to make people aware of the products and services available.

Relevant backlinks and keyword rankings

The number of relevant backlinks leading back to an organization can make or break the efforts of a PR program if not properly executed. Professionals in the PR industry use PR measurement tools like Google Analytics to examine the number of unique visitors on a website and the bounce rate of the same.

Bounce rate refers to the length of time a visitor spends on a webpage. A bounce rate of below 40 percent is ideal and hence, the lower the better. In case the bounce rate is high, it might mean two things, either the client finds what they need quickly or they don’t find it at all.

A good remedy for fixing a high bounce rate is using keywords that are relevant and will help visitors stay on a webpage and explore further. There are good tools like Ahrefs which can help organizations come up with optimized content.

Sentiment analysis

Sentiment analysis is another PR metric that most PR professionals use to measure PR. Public perception determines whether a PR strategy has worked or not. Sentiments indicate the general feeling that the public has about the reputation of a particular brand.

Categories of sentiments

  • Positive
  • Negative
  • Neutral

In the event that a crisis occurs and the organization launches a campaign, the outcome of that campaign will fall in one of the three categories above. If the public appreciates the PR efforts of the company, then there will be a positive sentiment but if the public does not agree with the company, then the sentiments will be negative. Neutral sentiments indicate no increase or decrease in choice-making actions.

Why any organization needs to engage in measuring PR results

The PR team of any organization is responsible for helping supervisors and clients in understanding PR efforts. They do so by using the integrated evaluation framework which is a wholesome process of any PR campaign from start to finish.

Another reason why organizations need to engage in PR measurement is to modify future PR strategies for better outcomes. PR campaigns help marketing departments try out different methods of increasing PR value.

When should a company measure PR success?

There is no single company without business goals. Any company from the starting point spells its measurable objectives and mission clearly. Usually, the organization has to make PR investments if its business objectives are to get to the intended target audiences.

A company should measure PR success before and after the launch of a PR program. By doing so, data comparison will be easier, especially after the launch of the campaign. From that data, an organization will gauge whether the campaign was successful or not.

In need of PR measurement metrics?

There comes a time when an organization needs proper guidance to ensure its PR efforts will not go unnoticed. For a company to get its return on investment in PR value it is important to employ the help of professionals to engage in PR work. A public relations firm like Murnahan Public Relations can help any organization keep a track of the numbers and efforts put into any PR program. Armed with guidance on how to engage in PR measurement, business executives can comfortably understand PR efforts and the investments put in any campaign.

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