Choosing the right PR agency

3 ways to measure PR success and ROI – and tell your boss about it 

In a world where numbers are gods, PR pros struggle to find metrics to match the toolkit of their marketing cousins. Measuring PR success just isn’t as straightforward as tracking leads created, website traffic, or interactions on social media. Still, there are ways to measure PR success in a way that not only shows your progress but also makes it easier to show return on investment to upper management. Here are three ways to measure PR success.

Strategically track website traffic

Yes, this sounds like a marketing metric, but it’s slightly different. When we help our clients execute PR campaigns, we always include links to websites, reports, or other key assets, which makes it easier for people who have read the final article to get to your website. It’s also a natural next step when reading about an interesting, new company to want to check it out in more detail.
Looking at website traffic spikes in the wake of a recent campaign sendout and tracking these spikes over time is a great way to present results in a way number-oriented people understand. This campaign was needed because it made more people check us out. If you do PR towards industry media and have researched what your target audiences read, you can also assume that the people reading your articles are part of the group you are trying to reach. Many of our clients double their website traffic after campaigns. Awareness is built in the right place!
Measuring reach through domain authority

Measuring PR success by the number of media articles achieved is pretty old-fashioned. Still, the number of hits combined with the average Domain Authority (DA) gives a good indication of how far you have reached. Domain Authority checkers score websites between 1-100, measuring total traffic, number of backlinks, and more. Anything above 50 is good, and for very niche industry media, even 40 is a good indication of broad reach within a specific target group. 
It all depends on your overall goals, but when measuring PR success and reporting it, tracking DA over time shows how your campaigns perform over time and how your media relationship management is going. 
You might get TechCrunch on your first go, but most of the time, it requires consistent pitching of good stories to the top-tier media to get their attention. Where domain authority can be low and hits industry-focused in the beginning, tracking DA as you keep doing PR gives a good indication of the progress you’re making in your awareness building.

Measuring the debate through social media shares

Another marketing metric with a slightly different angle works well for PR. Tracking the number of times an article about your company is shared on social media tells you something about the engagement you are creating. Don’t focus on your own shares; focus on those outside your organization and the interactions with those posts. That way, instead of tracking internal sharing, you’re focusing on how your PR efforts are sparking debate online, whether LinkedIn or Twitter/X.
Presenting these numbers together with website traffic and average domain authority and highlighting key publications are ways to measure PR in ways that non-PR professionals understand. These metrics also show marketing key insights into what works with what audiences and help them target their work better. As a bonus, showing upper management and board members how they are getting returns on their investment in PR is much easier. On the flip side, underperforming campaigns give you steering points as to what works and what does not, helping you tweak your efforts. 
There are many ways to measure PR, but these are three great ways to get going. From there, you can add to your toolkit with things like share of voice, or dig deeper into earned media value research. But with these steps, you make sure you’ll hit the ground running.

Measuring PR isn’t easy, but we’ve made a guide to help you along! Download it here.

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