How to Measure PR Results

Business benchmark measurement, KPI, key performance indicator to evaluate success, improvement or business growth concept.

By Ana Cahuas

In the dynamic realm of public relations, success is not just about achieving positive media placements and executing campaigns, but also measuring their impact. Before understanding how to measure results in PR, it is important first to understand the key goal of PR and communications: building a company’s long-term reputation. Unlike marketing and sales, which have direct and measurable KPIs, “reputation” is not a tangible result. However, with the right tools and strategies, you’ll be able to analyze results for PR. 

Here are our top four tips for measuring success and results in PR:

  1. Monitor the media: Stay on top of what is being said about your brand by keeping track of media mentions. Use tools such as Muck Rack to search for keywords and set up Google Alerts to receive media hits in your inbox based on keywords. In addition to keeping track of the number of media placements, take note of the kinds of stories being told. Is it a national or local outlet? Is it a feature story about your brand, or is your product included in a roundup of other recommended products? Are backlinks to your website included? These details will help illustrate the narrative around your brand. 
  2. Capture media impressions & engagement: Online media outlets track unique monthly visitors, and print magazines and newspapers have a certain circulation. These numbers can be used as KPIs to quantify the reach of your brand’s message. You can find an outlet’s unique monthly visitors or print circulation with tools such as Muck Rack and SimilarWeb, or by searching for an outlet’s media kit which can sometimes be found on the outlet’s website. For social media, in addition to capturing the number of followers, additional metrics to use include engagement rate, number of likes, comments, saves, shares, and % increase in followers over a timeframe. 
  3. Analyze message pull-through: Often what’s more important than reaching a wide audience is delivering the right message to the right people. If your goal is to be known as an industry leader, you’ll want your message to appear in outlets and influencer profiles that narrow in on trade and business. If you’re trying to drive foot traffic to your storefront, you’ll want to be known by local outlets and influencers. When you’re mentioned in the media, keep track of the key messages that are included. Success in PR includes aligning your brand’s key messages with the stories being told in the media. 
  4. Be patient: PR is a long-term investment since it takes time to build a reputation. We explain more about why PR takes so long in our recent POV. With this understanding, you can build momentum over time. Capturing and comparing the total number of media impressions Year over Year can help illustrate how your message is amplifying over time. With a consistent PR strategy and investment, you might be surprised at the Year over Year growth in PR results. 

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