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  • Tag Archive: PR metrics

    1. The Most Powerful PR Metrics According to 5 PR Influencers

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      PR Metrics Power

      While there isn’t a surefire answer to how to inspire world peace or peel a hard boiled egg in just one sweep, there are a few things I think we can all agree on: when it comes to measuring the success of a PR campaign, it’s all about them numbahs!

      We could talk for days about the PR metrics we at AirPR find most useful (and we have). Instead, we’ve asked a handful of data-driven PR professionals the following question:

      What is the most powerful PR metric you use to gauge campaign success?

      1. Sales

      “I know some people consider me a snake oil salesman because I advocate for PR-generated revenue, but the fact is if we aren’t contributing to the P&L of our organizations, we aren’t doing our jobs. Sure, there are things that cannot be directly attributed to dollars, such as brand awareness. But we know that inherently does increase sales. To that end, the most powerful PR metric we use to gauge success is how much revenue we drive through our efforts, both for ourselves and our clients.”

      Gini Dietrich

      Founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich


      2. Source traffic

      “There are many (PR) metrics to consider, but the one I count on the most is source traffic. We’ve moved past impressions and hits. I’m sure I don’t have to remind everyone what HITS stands for (how idiots track success, according to PR expert and measurement queen Katie Paine).

      Source traffic reveals how your PR outreach to the media, influencers, customers, and other stakeholders can be tracked. Every time you run an awareness campaign, launch a product, hold a media tour, or fundraise, you can track whether or not people visit your website for more information and how they take action. It’s the top of the sales funnel, but it’s a very important starting point.”

      Deirdre Breakenridge

      CEO of Pure Performance Communications


      3. Metrics tied to specific business outcomes

      “Honestly, there is no PR metric I can’t live without. At the end of the day, I want to see business outcomes, so it’s the related social PR outcomes I focus on; whether those are number of downloads, signups, attendees to a webinar I’m teaching, etc. Those numbers show engagement, interest, and action — and you can’t reach desired outcomes without action.”

      Shonali Burke

      President and CEO of Shonali Burke Consulting


      4. Stories in “goal outlets”

      “The single most vital PR metric I use to gauge success right now is the number of placements per month in my clients’ top 10 most important outlets. How to determine which outlets those are? The ones with the most prestige and credibility with their key audiences. What? A lame “small-data” metric? Yes. 🙂  Social engagements and page views can give granularity. Opt-ins and conversions obviously drive business. But the people who come to me are looking specifically to boost their credibility, so we start with finding ways to share their message with the third parties deemed most credible by the people who give them money.”

      Michael Smart  

      Principal at MichaelSMARTPR


      5. A mixture of metrics, depending on the content

      Metric such as unique views per month for media outlets and impressions are not accurate they are a part of an old-school approach to measurement. To measure PR success accurately, I take many things into consideration. I always have my clients track their Google Analytics to see where their website traffic is coming from. If there’s significant traffic coming from articles I’ve placed, that’s hard evidence that I’m helping create awareness for a client. Also, if I get a thought leadership piece placed and it is shared a significant number of times, then we know the article was a success. In short, I use a mixture of formulas based on the project or campaign.”

      Kristen Grossi

      Co-founder and CEO of talkTECH


    2. The Funnel Approach to PR Measurement

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      For years, the PR industry has struggled with how to effectively measure PR in any sort of standardized manner.

      Unlike advertising where a few key metrics clearly define success, PR’s complex, relationship-based structure makes identifying metrics for widespread adoption far more challenging.

      Because “you can’t manage what you can’t measure,” metrics are crucial to PR pros’ success. How can PR pros solve the industry’s problem and quantify efforts that have historically been difficult to measure?

      For starters, we have to begin with the right question: What are the metrics that matter to those who matter?

      Because PR has the ability to “touch” so many aspects of the customer journey, we can’t look at measurement through a one-to-one transactional lens. PR professionals should not be forced to define success or failure based on one element only such as impressions or site traffic.

      The goal of measuring PR needs to be about putting a series of metrics in place that accounts for all the places where PR can impact the customer journey. PR is no longer just a top of the funnel contributor, so its performance metrics must adjust to reflect the influence PR has along every touch point in the funnel.

      If we are clear about what matters to colleagues, executives, and PR teams, we can organize a spectrum of PR metrics into three key areas where measurement is actually possible from a technology standpoint.

      These key areas include:

      1. Baseline metrics

      2. Brand metrics

      3. Business metrics

      Metrics closer to the top of the funnel are more aligned with brand awareness. As one goes down the “metric funnel,” you get closer and closer to metrics that impact your organization’s bottom line.

      All these metrics have validity, but the ones a PR pro chooses to focus on should directly align with the primary end outcome identified from the outset of any campaign.

      So, how can PR pros start to integrate this funnel of metrics into their workflow?

      To identify which metrics might serve you best, consider these three questions in relation to your PR activities:

      1. Content: What format shall I choose based on the audience I’m trying to reach? (Text, image, video, combo, etc.)

      2. Channel: What conduit am I using to deliver my content so I can best reach my target audience? (Earned media, owned media, newswire, direct pitch, etc.)

      3. Measurement: How am I defining success? (Story pick-up, message pull-through, traffic back to site, etc.)

      This simple exercise, when done diligently, can exponentially increase the probability of PR success and makes it clear which metrics in the funnel you should gather data against.

      If the goal of your work is to have as many people as possible encountering your news, you likely should focus on baseline metrics. But if your work is aimed at generating leads or interest via your website, business metrics are likely where you’ll measure success.

      The most important thing is to not feel limited in choosing just one metric from the funnel. Multiple metrics reported in tandem will convey the full story of PR’s impact. Also, be sure to select primary and secondary PR outcomes before selecting metrics.

      It’s only when all these metrics work together that PR pros will be truly empowered to dig into signals that identify relationships worth having, topics worth discussing, messages that resonate, and ultimately how your brand or organization is perceived.

    3. Getting inside the brain of Shonali Burke


      There are PR folks who get it; then there are PR folks who get it. Shonali Burke falls into the latter category.

      As the CEO of a PR business, Shonali is:

      #1 – A self-professed measurement + social media geek and constantly champions PR measurement (no wonder we love her).

      #1 – An educator dropping knowledge on future public relations pros at Johns Hopkins University.

      #2 – A PR conversationalist extraordinaire: as such she hosts the monthly Twitter   chat (on which I will be the featured guest tomorrow from 12-1pm ET #shamelessplug).

      After running into Shonali at nearly every PR Measurement related event in 2014, I figured it was high time to transfer the knowledge from her brain onto digital paper and share accordingly.

      So sit back, relax, and enjoy a peek into the wonderfully informed mind of Shonali Burke.


      Photo by Cade Martin Photography

      Rebekah Iliff: You’ve talked for years about “smart measurement” that is outcome focused. Give us a peek into the Burke brain: What’s an example of a recent objective you and your team identified and how did you work backwards from that goal to identify the associated KPI?

      Shonali Burke: We recently wrapped a project with a client in the education space; they were launching a new online offering. Registrations were the ultimate goal, and they were using campaign tracking in Google Analytics very well. What we did was to ensure the creation of tracking links to the relevant page, so that we could attribute visits and conversions from our efforts – our strategy had a mix of earned, owned and paid media – as accurately as possible.

      Based on traffic and conversion trends, we could see what worked (social and paid) and what didn’t so much (focusing on location too narrowly as opposed to niche and interest). That allowed us to pivot our strategy midway through the campaign and put more muscle behind what *was* working as opposed to what wasn’t… and ultimately reach the goal.

      RI: Love the integrated approach. It is so important for PR peeps (and clients for that matter) to think beyond earned media. Given your propensity for metrics, what’s the one thing every PR pro needs to know about PR measurement as 2014 rolls to a close?

      SB: There is no silver bullet.

      RI: True dat. With that in mind, PR pros need to think carefully about how they measure and quantify their efforts. What are 2 of your favorite tools that assist you in providing your clients with smart measurement?

      SB: I actually have three: Microsoft Excel (or Google Spreadsheets), Google Analytics… and the one thing we all have and should use – a brain.

      RI: Ahhhh, yes. The almighty brain. Since you are constantly talking about PR measurement and metrics, what’s one thing you keep hearing yourself say over and over again that you wish the industry would just “get”?