How do you measure ROI in public relations?
From paying attention to the amount of leads coming in to sticking with an excellent customer service mindset, here are 11 answers to the question, “Can you share your best practices for measuring ROI in public relations?”
- Look at the Number of New Leads
- Check Multi-Touch Attribution
- Track Media Placements
- Take Advantage of Tracking Software
- Set Aside the Numbers
- Monitor Your SEO Efforts
- Use Flat Fees per Placement
- Establish Clear and Measurable Objectives
- Focus on Quality
- Don’t Underestimate What You Can’t Measure
- Have a Good Customer Service Mindset
Look at the Number of New Leads
One of the best ways to measure the return on investment (ROI) of your public relations efforts is to look at the number of new leads that you’re getting because of your efforts. If you’re doing a good job of building relationships with potential customers, they’ll be more likely to engage with your business and become customers. By measuring the number of new leads that you’re getting, you can see how your PR efforts are paying off.
Check Multi-Touch Attribution
The multi-touch attribution means verifying all the touchpoints along the consumer journey and assigning credit to each, rather than attributing the sale to a single event or interaction.
As a result, marketers or PR professionals can see how much influence each action has on a return from investment. Suppose the brand has launched a new product and uses PR activities to promote it. The PR strategy covers press releases, social media posts, influencer marketing campaigns, or paid ads.
Multi-touch attribution allows attributing a fraction of a sale to each PR activity on the consumer journey. As a result, a company can see that, e.g., press releases contributed to 10% of the sale, while influencer marketing campaigns contributed to 40% of the sale. By attributing a portion of the sale to each PR touchpoint, a company gets a more accurate picture of the impact of PR efforts.
Track Media Placements
One of the best practices when measuring ROI in public relations is to track the number of media placements that your organization receives. Tracking the number of placements will give you a sign of how successful your PR efforts are.
Additionally, it is important to measure the sentiment of the placements, as this will give you insight into how the public is perceiving your organization. You should also track the number of social media shares and comments related to your PR efforts, as this will show how successful your message is in reaching and engaging your audience.
Finally, measure the number of sales generated from the PR campaign, as this imparts a clearer understanding of the ROI of your efforts.
Take Advantage of Tracking Software
Tracking software can easily measure and track the impressions your outreach efforts are generating, so you can quickly see how effective it has been at engaging your target audience.
These tools often allow you to segment different parts of the campaign and use more tangible metrics, such as likes or comments over time. This more targeted approach not only gives you information about how successful the overall campaign was, but it can provide you with an even clearer idea of ROI overall.
Set Aside the Numbers
When measuring ROI after a public relations campaign, too many businesses focus on quantity: how many clicks, how many backlinks, how many leads. I’ve made this mistake myself—there’s something mesmerizing about watching those numbers spike up.
But as a small business owner, I’ve learned that quality trumps quantity in nearly every situation; and that can be a trickier thing to measure. My tip? Set aside the numbers.
Instead, focus on the value of new traffic or business with a qualitative post-PR survey: one that skips the ranking system and allows customers and clients to evaluate your business in their own words. Exploring the lived experiences of those involved will give you a better idea of where you’re at.
Monitor Your SEO Efforts
Though Google does not explain how it quantifies its search engine rankings, the more references you have in articles, the greater the impact. Therefore, look at your SEO to measure your ROI on public relations.
Having your or your business’s name referenced not only provides recognition but also showcases you as an authority in your industry to be trusted. A healthy search engine ranking means that your public relations outreach, whether it be directly to reporters, through press releases, or in blogs and information-rich content sources, is having a positive effect.
In addition, many of these resources cost very little, meaning that they can boost your ROI. By monitoring your SEO efforts, you can clearly see whether you are having an impact and delineate which public relations method gave you the best ROI.
Use Flat Fees per Placement
Many ways to measure PR effectiveness, such as share of voice, apply to large businesses with a large brand presence, but cannot translate to smaller businesses that don’t have wide brand recognition. In these cases, it may make sense for these businesses to pay for performance, using a metric such as PR placements secured.
For example, some PR firms, rather than charging a traditional retainer, charge a flat fee per placement. These firms, called “performance PR” firms, don’t charge fees until a placement is secured, or they offer a money-back guarantee on placements. This way, PR clients know what they’re getting and what they’re paying for it.
Establish Clear and Measurable Objectives
Establish clear and measurable objectives before launching any PR campaign. This includes identifying specific goals, such as increasing brand awareness or driving website traffic, and the KPIs that will measure progress toward those goals.
Once the PR campaign is underway, it’s essential to track and measure the performance of the campaign using the established KPIs and to regularly analyze the data to identify areas where the campaign is succeeding and where it may fall short.
To get a complete picture of the ROI of PR efforts, you also need to consider both quantitative and qualitative metrics, such as media coverage, social commentary, and customer feedback.
Cynthia Wakeford, Head of Content, Brand, and PR, GoodTime
Focus on Quality
It’s easiest to measure ROI in public relations by quantifying things like earned media, backlinks, or social media engagement. But more isn’t always better. The accurate measure of success is in the quality of your PR.
Quality PR, like high-domain backlinks or mentions in reputable industry publications, will help reach decision-makers rather than the masses. Align your PR strategy with your overall business goals to identify what would be a high-quality mention. Getting in front of the right audience will help build brand awareness and credibility, and ultimately lead to new business, new leads, and long-term growth.
Don’t Underestimate What You Can’t Measure
Even with meticulous coordination, sometimes things don’t go as planned and seemingly no return on investment (ROI) is realized, at least not what you can measure right away. This is especially true in media relations, when the news of the day can shift in an instant.
Imagine you’ve confirmed a network TV news crew and a reporter from your daily newspaper to capture the major announcements your keynote speaker will share at an event. Instead, their focus is stolen by a famous athlete who’s in town for a tournament and has wrapped his car around a tree at 90 mph.
No news coverage, however, this can become an opportunity for you to deepen your relationship with these reporters. Follow up with them in a fresh news cycle and offer a new time to interview your spokesperson for a feature story, or even an exclusive.
Have a Good Customer Service Mindset
As a public relations specialist for over 15 years, I strive to be creative, yet I feel my craft gets distracted by the need to produce nuanced content and aggregate metrics composed of convincing graphics, hashtags, and word hits, which is not the only way to measure ROI.
I strive to measure ROI through a client-centric approach and a focused customer service strategy. Directly engaging and understanding clients allows me to create interesting and targeted campaigns that translate into positive reviews and referrals. Personally, I track and measure customer comments, but the goal is not simply to measure audience engagement; it is to achieve client satisfaction.
Developing a menu of customized services to offer my constituencies based upon their needs is of immeasurable value, but almost always leads to mutually received happiness and greater success.
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