Many founders onboard public relations for their company thinking they can measure its value with the same metrics their marketing team uses. However, traditional metrics such as the number of media placements and coverage you achieved can’t reflect the true impact of PR, as it is non-quantifiable and non-fungible. Is a mention in Bloomberg better than a full feature in a niche industry publication?
The best way to measure PR (Or the least worst)
Public relations isn’t a sprint, but a marathon. PR brings long-term advantages that are hard to predict and aren’t measurable by marketing metrics, such as positioning yourself as an industry expert or gaining speaking experience and credibility, which leads to even bigger media placements. Still, by defining your PR goals, you can better understand where to look for the benefits.
That’s not to say there aren’t metrics available to measure PR success. For one thing, you can look at numbers, such as SimilarWeb’s Monthly Visits to measure the audience size, or Ahref’s Domain Authority to measure the “quality” of the website. There are many tools out there that measure a website’s performance, but they don’t address the issue of specific articles and their direct/indirect impact.
While coverage can translate into immediate results, such as leads or a boost in sales, the indirect impact is impossible to measure or predict. Pitching a story to a journalist, for example, might not result in a published article, but it can keep the company in the journalist’s mind for future stories. The long game eventually works—Deep Optics landed Time’s Best Innovations of 2022 as a direct result of the publication reaching out to us a year after we did a Kickstarter campaign for the company.
The hidden benefits of PR
There are also situations in which a PR rep will work with their client to come up with a thought leadership essay so well-written that the editor decides to not only publish it, but even offer an additional interview or other opportunities.
When our team working with Carbon Credit Technology pitched an op-ed to the World Economic Forum, the editor offered CCT to join the organization’s Crypto Impact and Sustainability Accelerator (CISA) in addition to publishing the piece.
There is even more hidden value in PR activities that don’t produce results. Even if a reporter doesn’t cover your story, that doesn’t mean your pitch offered zero ROI. If your company made the right impression on reporters, they can turn into secret ambassadors, mentioning the company and their story in conversations, which can spark new business leads.
Since you can never know exactly where your PR efforts will lead you, businesses should consider the hidden value of PR, beyond metrics, and take a more holistic approach to measure its impact. Never take PR at face value, because usually it offers more advantages and opportunities than meets the eye.