Whether it is a year-end reflection or mid-campaign results, reporting the results of your efforts is essential for every area of business. In fact, the results of these reports often determine budget allocations, program efficacy, and even messaging strategy.
However, when it comes to public relations, there is often a gap in reporting PR metrics compared to other areas of marketing and communications that leave serious room for error. Thankfully, the way PR reports its metrics is changing to bring about more insights from media outreach and other efforts.
Measurement in PR is a simple numbers game. But it may not be the numbers you think. Public relations professionals have traditionally relied on KPIs such as engagement, reach, impressions, and share of voice to report the results of their efforts. Unfortunately, these metrics don’t often translate to C-suite executives and stakeholders when advertising departments use metrics such as Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM) to provide a clear value to their efforts.
This has led PR to use metrics such as the Advertising Value Equivalence to compare the visibility and engagement of media and social coverage to the cost it would have been for a paid placement. Today, the AVE is considered an “invalid metric” and is pushing the PR industry to seek out better alternatives for reporting.
Master the process of providing insights to your data to impress any boardroom and showcase the power of public relations.
Marketing, Sales, and Advertising departments rely on website analytics to track the progress of their campaigns. But PR can also use website analytics to see results from their efforts. During campaign periods, referral sources and organic traffic can show you which backlinks and media-driven conversations are driving traffic to your business website.
Since public relations depends heavily on influencing the conversations and opinions of audiences and stakeholders, the ability to monitor opinions, emotions, and attitudes can show you the impact of your outreach efforts. These insights can also show stakeholders the difference in sentiment across different platforms. Audience sentiment on social media may report differently than journalist sentiment in traditional media outlets.
One of the more traditional metrics stakeholders look for is media mentions. While the total number of media mentions may matter more to some, the quality and diversity of these media mentions give your business greater insights into their visibility and reach. Break down your total media mentions into where these mentions are published. Beyond your digital footprint, look at print, TV, and radio media mentions. This can also show you which platforms work best for your business and where your audience is most active.
Building on tracking your media mentions, understanding the authority of the publications shows stakeholders the value of these mentions across the internet. According to Moz, Domain Authority (DA) is a ranking system that determines a website’s relevance for a specific subject or industry. The higher the DA, the higher the visibility for your backlink or mention.
Similar to how advertising measures impressions, Estimated Coverage Views predicts how many times your coverage on a specific page may have been viewed. It is nearly impossible to accurately calculate the number of views or impressions for a specific post or mention without getting these analytics directly from the publication or social media account holder. PR measurement tools like CoverageBook have created algorithms to help PR professionals produce accurate estimations and predictions of this coverage. Using Estimated Coverage Views allows PR to report values comparable to their advertising and marketing counterparts.
Whether you are aggregating data on your own or using a tool such as CoverageBook, remember to focus on the insights of this data and use metrics that provide a value equivalency for marketing and communications department leaders. Because better PR metrics mean better business - it’s that simple.