Use the Right Data to Measure the Value of PR
By Cara Sloman, executive vice president, Nadel Phelan, Inc.
As the number of channels and platforms increases in the quest to reach key audiences, being able to measure the efficacy of PR is critical. Fortunately, there are now multiple, effective ways to determine whether PR is achieving its goals for the business. And these methods make it much easier than in times past.
As the media landscape has become more digitally focused and tied to business outcomes, measurement tools and methodologies are becoming more sophisticated. At Nadel Phelan, we use these tools to discover to what extent digital marketing efforts are supporting business objectives.
Decide What to Measure
An effective PR program can significantly help create the visibility and credibility needed to meet specific business objectives. Measuring the success of PR begins with developing key performance indicators, or KPIs, that align with the goals of the business. What’s your goal: to encourage partnership or investment, increase sales, gain the attention of investors or establish industry leadership?
It used to be that Advertising Value Equivalents (AVE) were a primary measure used when evaluating PR efforts. But AVEs cannot measure the messages delivered, capture the outcome of a PR campaign or reveal the value of keeping a client out of the media spotlight in a challenging situation. That’s not to mention that the Internet has completely changed the way advertising works. To be certain your PR program is making progress, key results must be quantitative and measurable.
Using Web Analytics to Determine PR Performance
Analyzing web traffic is essential. We use Google Analytics for our clients because it’s a powerful instrument to track, fine-tune and demonstrate the impact of PR successes on website activity.
Common metrics for websites include traffic sources, referral traffic numbers, session activity and goal conversion rates. A goal conversion measures when someone goes to your website and performs one of the high-value actions intended by the campaign. We use these analytics to find out which articles drive people to your website, whether they stay to learn more and if they then engage with your site further.
With this data, we can not only gauge effectiveness but also, optimize our PR efforts. For instance, if the goal is to increase qualified sales leads, identifying the traffic sources, publications and topics that produce the highest number of “visits” will serve to fine-tune efforts.
Integrated analytics tools are a necessity. These tools actively track mentions of your company and competitor across the web, provide insightful metrics and generate reports. Marketers can analyze measurements, including statistics on new visitors, session numbers and goal completions. Metrics like these can prove the effectiveness of PR strategies. In addition, the tools we use can measure established PR goals and client business objectives—such as total coverage, competitive share of voice and sentiment.
Without quantitative measurement, there’s no way to tell whether the needle is moving in the right direction. Taking advantage of what today’s tools can do means we can optimize our strategy and demonstrate the ROI of your investment.
Need help creating a successful PR strategy that’s grounded in reliable metrics? Find out how Nadel Phelan can support your company.
About the author
Ms. Sloman has helped shape Nadel Phelan’s brand, services and reputation for quality and results.