How to measure the effectiveness of PR

PR & Comms | 4 minute read

When it comes to analysing the success of PR activity as a way to help build a brand, there are several metrics to consider. In this article, we’ll uncover the most common ways of assessing PR value. You’ll discover how the long-term approach can help to shape how people see your company, build trust, and set your business up for sustainable growth.

Coverage quantity

PR isn’t a ‘one hit wonder’. It’s about playing the long game and ensuring that your brand is always getting a high quantity of consistent coverage to maintain momentum, rather than cyclical highs and lows.

Getting coverage in the right publications that your target audience reads gives you the best chance of being noticed. It can also help to prop up brand awareness if customers repeatedly see your business mentioned.

There are numerous ways that you can monitor and track the success of your PR programme. This could be output and reach based, such as coverage quantity, including print media circulation, digital page views, social media analytics, and download numbers (if available).

However, using this approach alone could drive you into a focus of quantity, rather than quality. To get the best possible outcome for your brand, there are additional metrics we can track, too.

Percentage of coverage in top-tier publications

The definition of ‘top tier’ publications will vary depending on your market sector. The key is to focus on the publications that your audience is actively reading so it’s vital that you take the time to set and agree your most valuable publications. You can check which publications are being read by your target audience by analysing the media kit shared by the publication. Look at the types of people re-sharing or commenting on the publication’s content and talk to them directly.

A flurry of coverage in low-value publications has less value than one piece of coverage in a top-tier publication. So, as the old adage often says, your aim is to reach the right people by targeting the right publications with the right message, at the right time.

Share of voice against competitors

Share of voice is the metric used to determine how visible your brand is across multiple media outlets compared to your competitors. Tracking metrics such as website traffic and the number and reach of your online mentions helps you understand your brand’s market position.

As well as giving you an indication of how you measure up against your competitors, understanding your current market share helps you set a target for where you want to be, which you can track the success of over time.

Over time is the key phrase here. Share of voice should be analysed over time and you must consider time-specific factors that may temporarily skew the results, such as a competitor’s product launch which could cause a temporary spike in their share of voice.

Coverage sentiment

While it’s important to measure coverage quantity, you should also analyse the quality. For example, how does your brand come across in the coverage? Is it positive (‘Brand X is fantastic!’), neutral (‘Brand X is here’), or negative (‘Brand X is awful’)?

Whether it’s an article, social post, or review, analysing the meaning behind the message allows you to track the sentiment towards your brand and react accordingly when it’s negative. This will also give you a good indication of your brand’s general perception in the market. If your coverage is consistently negative, you know you have some work to do.

Appreciate any positive coverage but remain cautious that this could turn at any moment, and it’ll have an impact on the perception your target audience has of you.

Message pull-through

Let’s say you’ve sent out a press release, which a journalist has used as the basis for their article. Analysing the message pull-through gives you an understanding of how much of your key messaging was understood by the journalist and has resonated with them, as they articulate it in their own words in the finished article.

Rating it as high, medium, or low helps you to quantify how effectively you are executing your brand’s messaging and values and can inform how to best shape future campaigns.

Want to ensure that measuring your PR effectiveness is more than counting leads? Check out our PR & Communications page to see how we can help your brand stand out.

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