Public relations

How do you know if your PR campaign is working? 4 ways to measure PR success

- April 18, 2022 3 MIN READ
Interview between two people sitting indoors

Investing in public relations campaigns can be confusing for business owners who don’t really understand how to measure their success. Kathryn Van Kuyk and Anthony Caruana, co-founders of Media-Wize, share four ways to help you determine whether your PR campaign is bringing the return on investment you desire.

There are many methods for measuring the success of your PR investment and engagement with the media. Some of these techniques are qualitative and others quantitative.

It is important if you are investing in PR that you decide ways you will measure success, so you can determine if approaches are working or if you need to make changes.

How small businesses can measure PR success

Here are the top four ways small businesses can gain confidence their PR strategies are working.

Blue and white puzzle with 'public relations' highlighted in the centre

1. You achieved media coverage

This might sound obvious but it can be difficult for small businesses to stand out, cut through and secure independent editorial coverage. If you succeeded in getting a journalist at an Australian media outlet to write about your business on merit because you were topical, newsworthy, offered a unique or relevant perspective, then that is a solid proof point.

You can extend your measurement further by using a tool like Coverage Book to view metrics on the reach and circulation of the publication, how many specific views the piece of coverage secured, and how many people viewed it on social media platforms, liked and endorsed it.

If Coverage Book is outside your budget, you can manually check the media kit for the publication and see its circulation and readership figures – then by monitoring likes and engagement across your social media channels such as Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and the followers of the media outlet, you can gain an indication.

2. Trumping competitors

Chances are if you secured media coverage, then your competitors didn’t!

Many brands invest in PR so they extend their share of voice. Tools like Meltwater can help analyse your share of voice across earned media and social media, and show you where you rank compared to industry benchmarks and similar competitors.

The share of voice analysis can also include sentiment analysis to see who is talking about you and how positive it is.

3. Boost in awareness

If you’re investing in PR and media relations, then you should also measure customer awareness and acquisition. Are more customers visiting your stores and website? Is there more engagement on social media? Are sales improving?

It can be difficult to determine if this is a result of the PR or other marketing and branding efforts. Ask your customers ‘How did you hear about us?’ or ‘Did you read about us in the media?’

At its core, PR is about improving trust with customers, so brand metrics such as NPS (Net Promoter Score) which measure customer loyalty are great tools to use. But remember, building trust is a long game and customers need to hear about you multiple times before they might be influenced to buy.

Take note of your current level of website traffic, social media followers, foot traffic, sales and other indicators before your PR campaign starts, so you can monitor and benchmark over each quarter to determine the uplift.

Sometimes it is obvious. A great media story comes out and there is an instant flood of customer calls and sales and you see the demand spike. But often you’re in for the long haul, trying to raise awareness and continuously remind key stakeholders that you’re here, you’re different and they should feel good about trusting you.

It’s important and greatly beneficial for you to share these metrics with your PR agency or freelancer so they can work with you to determine what strategies are working, or when to pivot to other approaches and techniques.

4. Stronger reputation

An important aspect to focus on is measuring whether your messaging and stories are resonating with the right audience, and not just reaching them.

Examine if your key messages are being picked up in media coverage, and whether are they cutting through and influencing your key stakeholders. Are you driving a behaviour shift? If not, then you might need to work harder on your message and the way it is presented to the media and communicated by spokespeople in interviews.

Undertaking media training can be extremely helpful before you venture out to speak with the media. The training provides you the ability to test and practice in a safe environment first, so that when you do speak to a journalist you are ready with excellent sound bites, a story to tell and insights to offer.


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Now read this:

How using social media effectively can reinforce your PR campaigns

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  • Andrew Caska

    Caska IP Patent Attorneys

    'Flying Solo opened up so many doors for us - I honestly don't know where I'd be without it"