Any PR professional knows the pain of trying to prove their value or success of a campaign.
Mounds of coverage and a healthy number of headlines are great, but what exactly has that done for a business?
As the media and PR becomes more digital, online measurement and tools like Google Analytics are making it much easier to demonstrate exactly what your efforts are doing to boost a business’ visibility, search rankings and reputation.
Back in the day, PR relied on a now extinct (at least it should be) measurement known as Advertising Value Equivalent. Essentially success was measured on how much advertising space your business would have to buy to match the equivalent space your coverage had taken up.
If your PR consultancy mentions this archaic and useless ‘measurement’ technique during a pitch, just run.
Similarly, using ABC figures (readership figures) to judge how many people have seen your story based on the number of copies a paper sells is just as useless because you can’t, and will never be able to, see how many people have actually seen the story your brand or business appears in.
If anybody tells you that ABC figures can be relied on to judge success they are not being honest with you and should be avoided.
Google Analytics however, allows your consultancy to measure how much traffic your website is generating, and where that traffic is coming from by measuring the number of referral visits you get from particular websites – like news sites or authoritative blogs.
Gaining a diverse number of links from these websites will also help your business climb those Google rankings and be found more easily by prospective customers.
This has always been the hardest thing to prove for PR but is also the thing CEOs or managers want to know when it comes to board reviews and budget allocation – how much money are these PR campaigns generating?
In the past, a prospect may have seen your business in a news story, visited your website, gone away to have a think or do more research and then come back. But who gets the credit here?
Likely, not your PR campaign.
By setting goals on Google Analytics and tracking conversions you can now claim some of the credit for a sale if it started with a click through a link in a piece of earned coverage.
Even if the prospect clicks through and comes back later to make a purchase you can still measure assisted conversions to prove the initial engagement came from your PR efforts.
As well as measuring how many web visitors your PR coverage is generating, Google Analytics can also inform the overall performance of your website.
For instance, if your PR coverage is driving thousands of visitors to your site every month, but each visitor is leaving after reading one page, it could suggest your website is not set up correctly to manage the lead nurturing process your PR consultancy is fuelling.
Being able to measure what users do on your site (what pages they visit, how long they spend on a page, whether they fill out a form or download a piece of content) can help inform your wider marketing efforts by highlighting weak spots in your conversion funnel.