PR is in a pickle. We have several instances of how a strong public relations strategy has aided in the growth and visibility of a company. However, PR teams are still having a hard time convincing their bosses that PR is important.
While all but one of the 400+ C-suite executives polled indicated they believe exceptional marketing and communications create company value, 96 percent claimed their marketing and PR teams are "unwilling or unable" to prove return on investment, according to a recent Proof Analytics study. Furthermore, 94 percent of executives said they didn't know how tomeasure the value of marketing very well.
Failure to demonstrate value has a direct influence on PR's profitability. According to the same study, 96% of CEOs plan to cut marketing and public relations expenses by at least 10%.
How can you link your public relations efforts to your company's bottom line? PR metrics are essential for putting everyone on the same page when it comes to the importance of PR.
Public relations professionals understand that public relations have enormous clout in any organization. Yet, demands for larger communications spending are met with mistrust by companies that lack a clear grasp of their worth and the capacity to demonstrate it.
This leaves us with one major task: demonstrating the worth of PR beyond a shadow of a doubt. But how do you do it?
Setting objectives for your businessis the first step. Any analytics you obtain are just statistics if you don't have goals in place before you begin your campaign. Set targets to measure against those metrics if you want to identify where you need to improve and what is working.
Investing in strong analytics tools is the second step to efficient PR measurement. It's possible that this is a free application, such as Google Analytics. Check out paid services like AirPR or TrendKite if you want more nuanced analytics capabilities.
The third phase in developing a PR measuring plan is to figure out which metrics are most important for demonstrating your worth. These may differ from industry to industry and from company to company, but there is a handful that is universal regardless of brand.
With this in mind, let's take a look at a few important PR indicators that can aid you in demonstrating the value of PR and assist you in getting a step closer to gaining more funding and recognition for your PR strategy.
Note that the first half of this data is about pitch emails and earned media placements, while the second half is about the website and digital analytics.
Pitch Email & Media Placement Metrics
During a PR campaign, this number relates to the number of individual pitch emails you send. This may seem insignificant, but it's the basis for your PR campaign analytics. Without it, you'll have nothing to compare them against. You may also measure this volume for each team member, depending on the size of your team. This will differ depending on the industry. If your topic or field is very specific, your pitch volume and other indicators will be cut down.
The percentage of your pitches that result in a media placement or mention is known as your placement rate. This relates to your pitch volume and indicates the effectiveness of your pitches.
This is important because it shows how many times you are mentioned in the news and how well you are doing. For example, if your campaign is aimed at a certain manufacturing niche, you may send out 20 pitch emails. When you compare it to ten media placements, you'll see that you have a 50% winning placement rate.
This is the number of days between sending your initial pitch email and receiving your first media placement. This measure may be used to identify whether a pitch is taking an unusually long time to get a placement. If this is the case, you may need to change your campaign plan. Or, as we'll see in the next point, there might be another reason.
Some people are so fixated on news mentions that they overlook the importance of other measures like interest rates. This is the ratio of the number of publications that respond to your pitch email to the total number of pitch emails you've sent.
Perhaps your placement rate is modest, but if you look at your interest rate, you'll discover that many magazines reacted to your pitch email without offering you a placement. This demonstrates that your pitch was both relevant and compelling to journalists, but that they were unable to take the next step due to circumstances beyond your control. Maybe a breaking news story came before. At the very least, it demonstrates that your pitch was accurate.
While tracking the number of responses is vital, you also want to make sure you have a complete view of your campaign's performance. The number of journalists who don't respond to your pitch will help you see the bigger picture.
If you have a high decline rate, it might indicate that you need to improve your pitch approach or that your pitch was just not relevant to the journalists on your list.
How do you know when to call it a day on a campaign that isn't working? This is where total outreach days come into play. It's crucial to keep track of how long it's been since you sent your initial pitch email. After a few campaigns, you'll see how long it takes for a campaign to provide results on average. If your campaign outperforms the average, it might be a hint that your campaign isn't functioning. Consider terminating your campaign so that you can start a new one with better results.
Let's now turn our attention to the measurement of public relations as it relates to your website and digital marketing plan.
New users are individuals that visit your site for the first time. While this figure isn't the be-all and end-all, it is a crucial starting statistic to track over time. This figure should rise as more individuals become aware of your website. If it doesn't, you'll have to change your plan.
Pay attention to where your new traffic is coming from as part of this statistic. Do you get a lot of traffic from social media? What is organic search? Campaigns involving influencers? Is there a recent public relations campaign?
Understanding where people are coming from—and where they aren't coming from—might help you figure out which initiatives are successful and which should be scrapped.
It's thrilling to have a new user interaction with your brand, but it's also crucial to have people return to it. Why? Returning consumers are not only more likely to make a purchase, but the more they return, the more trust the visitor has in your business.
This is also why content marketingis such a crucial component of your public relations approach. When you write new contenton a regular basis, it encourages visitors to come back to your site to see what new information they can find. It also helps build trust in your brand as a source of good information. Measuring how many people come back to your site over time shows how the strategy will work in the long run.
When someone comes to your website and departs without seeing another page, this is known as a "bounce." Your bounce rate indicates the percentage of visitors that leave your site without completing a transaction. This number indicates whether or not people are interested in your website. New and returning users are crucial, but this new piece of data can tell you how engaged they are with your website.
If your bounce rate is high, it means that someone came, looked at it for a second, and then departed. If it's low, it means the visitor looked around for a bit before leaving.
What will you do with this information? Examine your pages with a low bounce rate to understand what keeps users coming back. Is it because of the topic matter? What about the visuals? Is there a report you used? Then apply what you've learned to the rest of your pages.
Determine what could cause users to quit after they've clicked if a page has a high bounce rate. Is your title a misrepresentation of what you're about to say? Are there enough images and bulleted lists in your presentation? Is your writing becoming stale and monotonous? Examine what you can do to enhance the page and its bounce rate in depth.
Social media is an essential component of modern public relations; after all, it is where the majority of your target audience gets their information. It's important to know how many people are interested in your social media efforts in order to figure out how well your PR is working.
The number of individuals that click on your campaigns should be at the top of your list. This is important since it indicates how many people were interested enough in your message to visit your campaign or content.
Second, it's crucial to keep track of your social connections. How many times has your content been shared, liked, and commented on? Even if they didn't click through, this illustrates how much interest there is in your brand overall.
The statistics will show you which social media platforms are most effective for your business. If you're spending moneyon Facebook advertisements but receiving better results from LinkedIn, it's time to rethink your social media budget. If you're spending a lot of time posting on Twitter but getting little to no response, you might want to try a new approach.
The number of mobile phone users is expected to reach 6.68 billion by 2022. Mobile consumers, on the other hand, are often treated as an afterthought in many public relations campaigns. There are a lot of times when people are trying to get people to do something, they don't think about people who use their phones. Why should you keep track of mobile user interactions? Smartphones and tablets are, if not already, the electronics of the future. It's crucial to understand how these gadgets view your brand.
While you track your mobile metrics, ask yourself the following questions:
- People who I want to reach use what kinds of devices, and how do my adslook on them.
- Should I construct my advertisements with a mobile-friendly design in mind?
- Should I incorporate a mobile app into my marketing strategy?
- This information, along with careful research, will help you make effective and interesting ads, no matter where your target audience is.
While knowing how many new and returning users there are is useful information, you ultimately want them to take action. Visitors must become leads and customers, whether they buy your goods or read your new ebook.
It's natural for folks to look at your brand but not take any further action at first. If, on the other hand, a lot of people are clicking on your campaign but only a small percentage of them are converting, figure out what's going on. Is your call to action insufficient? Is your landing page putting you off? You don't have a grabber? Begin fine-tuning your conversion strategies one by one to determine what works and what doesn't.
The importance of effective public relations cannot be overstated. However, without proof, it will be difficult to persuade others or strengthen your advertising. Start tracking your PR efforts so you can prove how your initiatives are affecting your company's bottom line.
Advertising charges are multiplied by the page percentage your placement covers to determine your PR value. The advertising rates from a publication's media kit would be used to create this measurement (likely available on their website).
The infinite value of editorial coverage by a respected media outlet is combined with the ad's rate to create publicity value. They then determine that figure by using advertising rate cards. If an ad is worth three times more than it costs to put it in front of people, then it is worth three times as much to put it in front of people.
Effective public relations can't be understated. Although it may be difficult to persuade others or improve your campaigns without proof, it is possible. Begin tracking your PR efforts and see how your campaigns affect your business' bottom line.