Whenever organizations run a PR campaign, they invest considerable time, money and effort. Therefore, it becomes essential to measure the success of the plan. Also, keep in mind that measuring the impact and effectiveness of a PR campaign helps organizations to identify what strategies are working and those that are not. Any aspect of the plan that is not working can be adjusted for improvement as well as help determine what direction to take for future campaigns. This is why PR firms regularly review reports on current strategies and campaigns with the brands they represent and make any adjustments as necessary.
Before technological advancements, it was often difficult to adequately or accurately quantify the return on PR investments, but those days are gone. Here are some metrics all brands should take into account while measuring the success and impact of their PR campaigns.
1. Media Placements
The primary role of a public relations firm is reaching out to the media to communicate an organization’s message effectively. Therefore, counting media placements is one of the best ways to measure the ROI. These numbers vary immensely depending on the outlet or publication due to their unique readership and website visitors, but know that media placements can be a substantial contingent on the outlet and number of placements overall. However, this metric can be deceiving when used as the sole measure of PR success. It is important to keep in mind the audience of each media placement to ensure that the organization’s message is reaching the appropriate audience.
2. Website Traffic
Another great way to measure the success of PR investments is through generated website traffic, which involves measuring the amount of traffic that the organization’s website receives both before and after the launch of their PR campaign. Keep in mind that when more individuals are exposed to a brand’s products and messaging, the more likely they are to trust them with a purchase. Sales leads usually come from calls-to-action (CTAs) that are listed on an organization’s website, so analyzing surges in website traffic may help answer whether a PR initiative is working or not.
3. Viral Impact
There is no denying that online media coverage extends to multiple social media networks, with many readers frequently sharing news updates, responses, reactions, retweets or post likes. There are many ways to measure reader reactions beyond just the number of mentions. Brands must also consider the number of influencers that mention their brand, the tone of voice on social media, as well as the sentiment of the message. Public relations agencies can help an organization determine where to look and highlight these important metrics.
4. Market Surveys
Public relations firms know that research is vital when it comes to tracking a PR campaign’s impact and success. So before launching a PR campaign, an organization should survey their markets to determine if they have heard about the brand and its offerings. After regularly following a comprehensive PR plan for a set amount of time, a second survey of the markets should be performed once again to determine whether awareness statistics are improving.
5. Cost Savings
PR campaigns might even result in considerable cost savings. For instance, it could produce fewer customer complaints, or declining opposition or criticism and aversion of a media crisis (that would damage a brand’s reputation and result in fewer sales, etc.).