Measuring PR Campaign Success

  The quality and quantity of press hits are a good place to start in measuring PR campaign success. Tracking these metrics can tell you a lot about your campaign.

How do we measure success for PR campaigns? I’m Dave Gerzof Richard, president and founder of Big Fish PR. There’s a lot of different ways to measure PR campaign success, but the most common is press hits: the quality and quantity of press hits.

Measuring the Quality & Quantity of Press Hits

So let’s start actually with quantity: how many press hits you get in a month is a good starting point to look at in terms of measuring success. But we can go deeper into this: but look at the quality of those press hits. How did those new stories treat your brand or your company? How much play within the story do you get? What percentage of the story is about your brand versus someone else’s brand? What is the sentiment around your brand: is it good, is it bad? These are all important factors that are measurable, and this is where we start.

Reaching A Wider Audience

Another factor that you can measure is audience reach. This is something that is very easy to find out, because most of these media outlets that are carrying your story are also selling advertisements. Because of that, they’re very good at tracking who reads their publications, who watches their broadcasts, who tunes into their radio station, and who clicks on the links to their website. All that information is available, and if you work backwards you can see how many people did your message reach on this particular story, and then you can sum it up for all of those media hits over the course of an entire month.

Measuring Social Engagement

Engagement is a term that we’re all starting to become familiar with because of the social web. Engagement is the act of an individual touching and interacting with your story. It could be a like, it could be a share, it could be a click; all of this is measurable and it can go to the bottom line when you’re looking at the ROI for your PR campaign. So make sure when you’re measuring success for PR campaign that you are looking at social engagement.

Tracking Conversions

Conversions is another way to look at what the impact a PR campaign is having. Conversions are things like sales, or downloads, or clicks. All of these again are measurable, and at the end of the day if you’re trying to sell a product and you are seeing that the PR campaign is driving traffic to your website, and people are converting – buying your product – that’s a good thing, and it’s measurable.

How Far Does Your Influence Reach?

Influence is another measure of success for a PR campaign. It used to be that you would have to spend lots and lots of money with focus groups to understand true influence. That’s not necessarily the case anymore, because you can understand influence with your data: specifically, website data. Things like referral links, clicks on your website, search engine rank, where you will end up landing on the first page of Google search results; all of these things change and are impacted by a PR campaign which means that they’re measurable.

Raising Awareness For Your Brand

Awareness is another key factor in determining the success of a PR campaign. It used to be really expensive to actually measure awareness because it had to be done through either focus groups or surveys. That’s now no longer the case – you can do surveys online for much cheaper, but beyond that you can look at things like branded search – that’s when someone is searching specifically for your company name – versus versus the category of your product or your company.

By picking and choosing the right factors you’ll be able to put together the right success measurements to understand what your ROI is for PR and understand how successful your PR campaign is.

About David Richard

David Gerzof Richard is the founder and president of BIGfish Communications, an award-winning public relations agency that works with disruptive innovation and technology brands. Over the past 16 years, David has successfully developed and executed numerous PR, marketing, and social influence campaigns across a broad range of industries. In 2003 David was appointed a professor at Emerson College where he currently teaches a range of marketing and public relations courses. He also lectures regularly at Harvard University and contributes to a variety of national online, print and broadcast business news outlets. David can be found on Twitter @DavidGerzof and on the web at