Media relations professionals know that the competition for media attention is fiercer than ever before.
There are about five PR pros for every journalist, a ratio that can be discouraging for those struggling to earn a media placement for their client. Additionally, some journalists report that they reject up to 95 percent of the pitches they receive on a weekly basis.
With odds like these, it’s important to measure your pitching efforts and other online work to make sure everything is working properly.
Whether you have a team of 2 people or 30, these metrics will help you stay aligned with your goals and find ways to improve your digital PR team. By tracking your team’s outreach activity, you can establish realistic goals for each team member to reach for each content marketing campaign.
Here are 10 metrics every PR pro should measure:
1. Pitch volume
Pitch volume is the number of individual pitches sent for a single content marketing campaign.
This metric is the precursor to all of the other metrics on this list. If you don’t measure the pitch volume for each campaign, you’ll be unable to determine other key performance indicators.
The benchmark or baseline for this KPI should be determined for each team member based on seniority and campaign type. A content marketing campaign in an extremely niche vertical would have fewer press opportunities and therefore the pitch volume would be lower than for another campaign in a widely covered topic area.
2. Placement rate
Placement rate measures pitch quality. The placement rate will be different for each team member and varies, like pitch volume, based on the topic area of the content marketing campaign.
It is no longer enough to measure “reach” or pitch volume alone as digital PR professionals have done in the past. If you want to track your efforts accurately, you must measure earned press mentions against total pitch volume.
The higher the placement rate, the more effective your pitch is. An extremely low placement rate may indicate something is wrong with your pitch, your targeting or your campaign.
3. Interest rate
Interest rate is the number of interested publisher replies divided by the number of total pitches sent for a content marketing campaign.
This is another indicator of pitch quality. Campaigns with a high ratio of interest from journalists indicate the pitch was compelling and relevant to the writer. When the placement rate is low, but interest rate is high, it usually means that something happened outside of your control, such as getting bumped for breaking news.
4. Decline rate
Conversely, campaigns with a high proportion of declines can show that the email pitch was of a lower quality or the campaign topic wasn’t relevant to the journalist.
5. Days to the first placement
This metric is the number of days between your first pitch sent and your first placement ni a media outlet. When a campaign has been in the pipeline for a long period of time and hasn’t earned its first press mention, consider adjusting your outreach strategy.
6. Days of syndication
How many days are you pushing the story? If a content campaign isn’t allowed sufficient syndication time—or the time between first placement and last pitch—campaigns can only perform so well.
7. Total days of outreach
If a content campaign has been in the pipeline longer than the standard amount of time for a campaign within that vertical, it may no longer have legs. It may be time to close it out and make room for a new campaign in the pitching pipeline.
Placement quality metrics
Earning press mentions on high-authority publishers knocks out two birds with one stone—increasing brand awareness while building a diverse backlink portfolio to a client’s domain.
PR pros know that all placements (press mentions) are not created equal. Total links, total dofollow links, and total DA of links are three important metrics to use to measure campaign success.
8. Total links
Higher backlink counts built from your earned media placements allow you to see how the content naturally syndicated from publisher to publisher and provides insight into the quality of pitch targets for future outreach.
9. Total do-follow links
The do-follow link is the most coveted link type and provides the most SEO value to a domain, and so it can be helpful to measure this specific link type separately.
10. Total domain authority
Though measuring links helps track the number of press mentions, total domain authority allows you to track the quality of those links. The higher the domain authority of a site, the higher the quality of that placement relative to other placements.
You can’t improve what you don’t measure.
When implementing analytics for the first time, it’s important to introduce the idea to your team and facilitate conversations. Emphasize that the reason you want to track individual analytics is to improve the overall performance of the team, not to pit team members against one another. Encourage transparency and let them know they won’t be solely evaluated based on analytics.
The next step is to evaluate analytics on a monthly or quarterly basis and begin establishing fair and realistic baselines for your team to achieve. When you examine historical data, you’ll be able to identify the ranges for each metric. The high end of those ranges will be the basis for new goals your team can strive to achieve in the future.
Additionally, the added value of analyzing team performance data is that you may be able to identify bottlenecks or trends that impact the direct success of a content campaign. Things to look out for that can be the cause for a poorly performing content campaign include:
- Client approval speed and limitations
- Campaign quality
- Design style
- Spammy language used in your pitch
- Poor subject lines
- Data source or data errors
What metrics are you measuring to analyze your pitching strategy?
Domenica D’Ottavio is the brand relationship manager at Fractl.