How to measure PR: Indicators of quality

Keeping tabs on the quantity of impressions and readers you have isn’t a bad thing, but you’ve got to add some qualitative measures to the mix.

I got my start in PR during what I’ll call a cusp.

Seasoned folks still followed “tried and true” methods, but warmed up to new ideas, emerging technologies, and, generally, the nontraditional. A few years later, they’d call it the “digital disruption,” but back then—it was an unnamed, but profound, change in business.

It influenced PR strategy, tactics, goals, and objectives—but to me, the biggest impact was its effect on PR measurement. We moved away from the old metrics (ad value equivalencies, impressions, circulation numbers) and explored new ones, better ones—we embraced a barometer that paired indicators of quality with metrics of quantity.

The old metrics aren’t archaic and useless, but they’re only half the equation. Enhance quality with quantity, and you’ve got measurement that matters.

Performance indicators include:

Branding significance: How many times (and in what ways) do your results feature branding? Does media coverage include the full name of the brand? The logo? The website?

Web analytics: If you’ve got access to Google Analytics, use it. It’s your indicator of how PR affects website traffic, and you can align spikes of traffic with PR activities. Say, for example, you land major media coverage on Oct. 12, and your website traffic spikes from Oct. 13–15, and even better, you can identify the major referring sites. Showcase those results as a direct impact of PR efforts.

Message cohesion: Are your message points being relayed in PR results? Does media coverage reflect the messaging of the brand? Keep track of how much (and how well) messages are retained in results.

Social retention: As with everything else, social media should naturally integrate with PR. When you land a major media coverage hit or speaking opportunity, monitor how it tracks and performs on social media.

Tone: Do the results of your PR efforts reflect a positive tone? A neutral one? A negative one? Capture the public emotion attached to your brand awareness and monitor it.

There are so many more, but I tend to use these the most. How do you measure PR results?

Bana Jobe is an account manager at Marketwave, a full-service PR and marketing hybrid based in Addison, Texas. A version of this story originally appeared on the agency’s blog.


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