How to Measure PR


In einer mehrteiligen Serie widmet sich Shift Communications der Kontrolle von PR-Massnahmen.

Introduction and Sales Metrics

Our focus in this series is to look at connecting the dots of PR, marketing, and sales into a coherent story of how PR can move the needle for your business. Start at the end: What is it that someone is supposed to do that will have an impact, and how will you measure or track that information? The most important next steps to take is to connect metrics to this end goal, since there are usually steps that people take between becoming aware of you (audience) and becoming customers (sales).

Marketing Metrics

Lead generation is the direct connection between audience member (which is PR’s primary output) and new customer, which is sales’ primary output. We should see a correlation between public relations activity and lead generation. If your public relations program is working for you, you should see your lead scores increase with the audience you already have.

Social Media

Social media itself can be measured in three broad categories, from audience growth to engagement to conversion. Audience Growth: Effective PR should be reflected in the number of people who follow you, Like your Facebook page, circle you on Google+, etc. While these numbers aren’t an end result, they are important diagnostics. Audience Engagement: If you do a great job representing your company and brand, not only will you grow awareness, you’ll also grow trust, likability, and authority. We measure that with commonly provided social metrics that revolve around actions people take. Conversion: Using Google’s Multi-Channel Funnels to capture interactions on social as part of the overall conversion process, we can see the impact that our social media efforts have both in last-touch conversions and in assisted conversions where social was part of the process.

Search Marketing

If earned media is about actively seeking attention, then search marketing is the complement – being there when people are looking for you. If public relations does its job right, then the members of the audience who are interested should seek out the brand and learn more about it. Your search rankings should improve. Another more obvious effect that PR can deliver is the amount of web traffic that comes from search marketing.

Paid Advertising

Advertising and PR fulfill the same function, to generate new audiences. For the purposes of measuring PR, we’re going to confine our paid advertising efforts to digital advertising that can provide concrete conversion data. If public relations’ goal is to build new audiences by creating trust through earned media, then it stands to reason that the trust generated by PR should also apply to other media channels. If PR has done its job of creating trust and interest, it provides a boost to our advertising efforts.

Primary Research

In the world of public relations, primary research is the direct, firsthand gathering of information, primarily through tools like surveying. It tends to be costly and time-intensive. However, when other forms of measurement are either delivering unclear results or are not applicable to your business model, primary research may be your best option.

Standard media metrics

These are the reliable standbys that the public relations world has used for years: Mentions, audiences and impressions. Mentions is a simple raw number that showcases how many times you’ve been mentioned in a given time period. Audiences: Any audience number that requires interaction or commitment is a number that you should add to your diagnostics of PR, from email list subscribers to Facebook Likes. One of the most reliable audience measures is website traffic. There are other audience measures, such as numbers of followers, fans, and friends in social media or circulation numbers in print media, but website traffic is more useful as it requires additional action on the part of the audience members to get to your site. Impressions: An impression is no guarantee of even awareness of your brand, and thus while they are included in many PR reports, their value is questionable.

Analysis and conclusion

One of the hidden traps of these 7 kinds of metrics is treating them as though each were an independent silo when we know, in fact, that the opposite is true. Many of them are not only related, but contain a degree of what’s called endogeneity, where they are dependent on each other. These synergies are only detectable if you use the right tools and the right analysis methods to find them.



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