Part Two: How to measure PR // Rate & calculate

Whether it’s traditional media (TV, radio, newspapers), digital media (websites, blogs) or social media coverage that mentions, features or tags your brand, the big question we hear most in the PR world is – how do I know it’s working?

In this two-part post, we look at how to value PR, how to know what’s really going to work, and what to look for to see if it’s working. Part One covered how we currently value PR, and how to know if a piece of PR is going to work for your brand.

This instalment covers how you can rate PR coverage to see if it’s hitting the mark, and a more accurate way to measure the impacts on your business.

 

RATE YOUR PR COVERAGE

It’s generally agreed that you need to take two things into consideration when measuring the outputs of your PR campaigns:

1. Reach How many people saw it? (circulation, readership, unique views, followers)

2. Appropriateness – How good was it really?

Appropriateness means getting real about:

  • Whether the media outlet is on brand
  • Will it be read by your target audience
  • What is the tone of the piece? Good, bad, luxe, budget – is it a fit?
  • How much of this piece is actually about your brand
  • How visible is it?
  • How much of your key message (your WHAT) was included
  • Did it include a call to action?  

A really simple way to do this is to add a number 1-5 next to each of these – 1 being the lowest/least value and 5 the highest/most value, and adding them up and dividing by 7 to get an average. This is your appropriateness score for this piece of editorial.

Looking at the figures for reach and appropriateness can tell you whether the PR is pointing people in the right direction and how many of them.

You can now rate every piece of traditional, digital and social press for reach and appropriateness, look at averages per month and season, and see directly if your PR is hitting the mark.

 

I CAN’T SEE SAKES SPIKE? HOW DO I KNOW PR IS WORKING?

If you want to see a PR person wince, ask them to create a strategy that will directly drive sales. No PR can guarantee this, and if they do – RUN.   

Can PR help to drive sales? Absolutely. But of course, it’s not as simple as that!

Here’s what PR CAN do:

  • Drive awareness of your brand and product offering
  • Increase knowledge and share your key messages
  • Create preference towards your brand and elevate positioning
  • Generate action amongst your target audience – lead generation, increase customer loyalty, and establish, protect and grow market share 

If you were solely looking for spikes in sales, you wouldn’t see how your PR is effectively creating an environment for your business to flourish now and in future.

 

MEASURE YOUR OUTCOMES

So here are the outcomes that you CAN and SHOULD measure during a PR campaign –

  • Website traffic – can you see spikes in your traffic following specific placements or an increase after a period of PR?
  • Lead generation – a well-executed campaign can generate sales leads, but it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly if it was just one piece of coverage that triggered the sale – more likely it’s a much more complicated journey to making the decision from awareness, to the right attitude, to the decision to purchase now
  • Social media following – rises or dips in your following can show changing awareness and attitude towards your brand (which can be a result of PR in conjunction with your content and publishing schedule)
  • Social media mentions – often increase with well-executed PR, but they can also increase during times of controversy – so this measurement needs to be combined with appropriateness. Use services like Meltwater to measure social mentions.
  • Market surveys – PR related questions included in your market research and surveys will help you understand if your target audience is seeing placements and if they are beneficial, neutral, or detrimental to your brand

 

THE WRAP UP

While measurable results are incredibly important, there are so many more ways your PR is adding value to your business.

Your PR is building your brand identity, keeping your competitors out of the spotlight, and forming valuable relationships and attitudes towards your brand that will have lasting impacts on your future success.

By analysing the results of your PR efforts for reach and appropriateness, and monitoring the outcomes within your business, you’ll be much closer to seeing the true value and best of all – able to laser-focus your communications – like a boss!

 

Missed Part One? Read it here.

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Words by Adriana Glass – Founder of Talk Division, a consultancy specialising in strategic PR, media and communications for lifestyle, fashion and wellbeing brands. 

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Banner image: Lucia Giacani for Vogue Italia