In this series, we’re going to look critically at the ways PR has traditionally been measured and the ways we’re measuring PR today. Measuring PR and earned media has always been something of a challenge in the past, but thanks to digital marketing and metrics tools, it’s easier today to find the impact of PR, even with businesses that have significant offline components.
In order for us to effectively measure PR, we have to understand what the end goal of the PR efforts is. In many cases, the end goal is to create audience that marketing then converts into leads, which in turn sales converts into customers and revenue. There are secondary goals, of course, such as building brand equity, increasing trust, and a variety of intangible but important effects, but most executives we’ve talked with have wanted to see tangible impacts of PR on the bottom line. Thus, our focus in this series is to look at connecting the dots of PR, marketing, and sales into a coherent story of how PR can move the needle for your business.
Start at the end.
If you don’t have a clearly defined, measurable goal, then all of your attempts to measure PR will be miserable failures. Ultimately, what does an audience member need to do in order to have an impact on your organization? Do they need to buy something? Do they need to vote for you? Do they need to give you something or sign up for something? What is it that someone is supposed to do that will have an impact, and how will you measure or track that information?
That’s the starting point. One of the most important next steps to take is to connect metrics to this end goal, since there are usually steps that people take between becoming aware of you (audience) and becoming customers (sales). That’s the realm of marketing metrics, and that’s what we’ll use to connect your PR to your bottom line.
From here, we’ll look at the following ways to measure PR:
Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology