Best Methods for Measuring Success of PR Programs

By: Grace Decicco, 1903 Public Relations

Public Relations (PR) is a powerful tool that, if leveraged correctly, can amplify the work of any type of organization and accelerate their efforts. While PR can do a lot, it’s important to remember that PR is not an overnight solution, but a journey that requires nurturing and consistency. Sometimes it can be difficult to quantify what success looks like, being able to recognize the wins along the way is vital to gauge impact. Analyzing key performance indicators (KPIs) in any PR campaign can help drive realistic goals, improve strategies, and show return on investment (ROI).

PR is not a linear process; it builds relationships, shapes perception, and drives brand awareness. With so many tools in the market to collect metrics there are endless possibilities to determine if your efforts are on the right track. Here are a few methods to keep in mind when looking to measure PR efforts:

Media Coverage Measurements

Assessing the impact of coverage can be done in a number of ways: the quality of the publication, who it reaches, number of articles secured, and overall message-pull through. We emphasize that PR is a journey because building a brand takes time. Media traction builds on itself the longer PR efforts are made. 

Platforms like Meltwater and Cision provide comprehensive data and analytics capabilities to evaluate KPIs of your media efforts. These software platforms can track metrics like: 

  • Share of Voice: Measures the amount of coverage your organization receives compared to competitors. The amount of attention that is received can shape perception amongst potential customers and partners. It demonstrates confidence amongst reporters influential in the space lending credibility to executives as experts.
  • AVE (Advertising Value Equivalency): This indicates the dollar equivalence that would be required to secure a placement of the same size and scope as a PR result, if the opportunity was paid for. It provides perspective that can help validate the cost of the project or ongoing retainer. For trade/vertical publications a sponsored post can range anywhere between $3,000 – $20,000, while national publications like Forbes can charge upwards of a high six-figure amount. 
  • Sentiment: Analyzing the tone of a media mention helps us understand how your brand is being portrayed. PR will help build a regular pattern of positive mentions in the media, building your reputation and helping to ride out any negative news waves.

Monitoring website traffic after a major announcement or product launch, checking your website’s traffic can demonstrate the reach of its PR campaign. How many  people are visiting your page compared to usual patterns? Is there an increase in subscriptions or sign up downloads? Tracking these can indicate how much success your announcement or launch has had. Seeing an increase in these areas indicates your PR messaging is working.

It also helps to see where you are tracking in comparison to your competitors. How are you being perceived against others in the market? Understanding your competitors, your position in the market can help you understand where your efforts need to be focused to remain relevant in the minds’ of your customers. 

Tracking Social Media 

Social media offers a unique perspective on brand perception. Measuring KPIs on social media can include monitoring likes, shares, comments, retposts and follower growth across social platforms.From running your accounts to providing supportive guidance, your PR partner can deliver a roadmap toward growth.

Analyzing feedback and tracking mentions, otherwise known as social listening, can play an integral part in indicating where your company needs to focus or refocus efforts. Be aware that social media platforms frequently update algorithms, impacting the effectiveness of your strategy. Responding accordingly and tailoring your approach is imperative to stay ahead of the curve. For instance, changes to brands like Twitter, now known as X, can influence the tactics that help tweets gain views and interactions. Knowing how to use social media to your advantage is key to extending your reach and impact in the digital world.

To get an accurate idea of the success of your PR program, you may want to combine several of these metrics. By using the tools and techniques mentioned above, you can gain a comprehensive understanding of how your strategies are playing out in the market. Your road to success will involve adjusting and refining your methods to keep on track with your short and long-term goals. 

Schedule a Meeting Today