How to monitor, measure, and report PR results – no fancy tools required!

So, you’ve spent hours researching, writing, and reaching out to journalists with your pitches and press releases. What now – sit and wait for the phone to ring? Think again! A PR strategy that doesn’t involve a plan for monitoring and measurement is not a genuine PR strategy. How will you know who picked up your story, where you’ve been successful, what could be improved, and where your best bets lie for future relationships and opportunities if you don’t track your progress? 

Here’s how to monitor your mentions, measure the impact, and report the success of your international PR campaigns like a pro. Bonus prize: You’ll impress internal stakeholders along the way, and you won’t even need to invest in expensive tools!

Eyes on the prize – keep your goals in sight

Before embarking on any PR campaign, defining clear objectives that align with your organization’s overall business goals is essential. What are you specifically trying to achieve? Increased brand awareness in a specific market, a greater share of voice than a competitor, improved reputation? By establishing clear and measurable goals, you’ll have a solid foundation for monitoring and measuring your achievements by having a benchmark to refer back to when you report your results.

Setting the first key results scale is tricky; you have no barometer for success with nothing to compare against. Always align the key results with the overall objective, and tie it to the overarching business goals. The outcomes that will push you towards achieving that objective are the things you should monitor and measure. Also, remember to aim high; you can always re-evaluate your key results later down the line if you’ve overstated expectations

Monitor your mentions

The simplest metric to track is the number of ‘media hits’ – articles that mention your news. While media monitoring tools can simplify the process of unearthing coverage, they’re not the only option to help you track the outlets you’ve been featured in and the journalists that have written about you. Good old-fashioned search engines still go a long way to helping you find your online coverage. What’s more, they’re an awful lot easier to use, and best of all, they don’t cost a dime!

Be sure to cross-check media hits against your media list and mark the contacts that engaged with your announcement, either by publishing an article or giving a positive response. This will help you keep track of who to reach out to with future announcements and foster those all-important relationships with the journalists that have expressed interest in your stories.

As ongoing media monitoring activity, remember to regularly review newspapers, magazines, industry publications, online news platforms, blogs, and social media channels relevant to your target audiences. Monitor for mentions of your brand, key spokespersons, and relevant industry topics. Maintain a detailed record of these mentions, including the date, source, and sentiment.


Measure the metrics that matter

To measure the impact of your PR efforts, focus on tracking the key metrics that align with your objectives. These may include media reach, website traffic, sentiment analysis, share of voice, and audience demographics. Next, establish benchmarks and compare results over time to identify trends, patterns, and areas for improvement. While media monitoring tools can automate this process, it is possible to gather data manually. A simple spreadsheet will suffice without breaking the bank.

Unlike other marketing areas, where it’s possible to measure success through direct sales, placing a monetary value on a brand’s increased credibility from a full-page magazine feature is not so easy. 
One common way to attach a financial value to your PR results is to determine the advertising equivalent value (AVE) of media coverage. This simple calculation compares your earned coverage to the cost of purchasing equivalent advertising space or airtime. Calculating the AVE helps stakeholders outside of the PR loop to understand the impact of your efforts in monetary terms, even without the aid of media monitoring tools.

In addition to recording the number of media hits, attributes such as domain authority and number of backlinks will help you assess the impact of your coverage. Aiming for quality over quantity is almost always the best strategy for building credible awareness. With this in mind, you should aim your outreach to the media outlets that are the most trusted news sources to the target audiences you want to reach. When you’re covered by these outlets, you’re winning at PR!

Reporting done right

Once you’ve monitored and measured your PR prowess, you’ll need an effective means of demonstrating the campaign’s outcomes. The metrics you report and how you convey them could be crucial to convincing key stakeholders and decision-makers in your organization of the impacts of your efforts. This could unlock additional resources and budgeting to bolster your future PR activities, allowing you to reap the rewards of more frequent and consistent campaigns. 

The best PR reports are trimmed to include an overview of achievements, with clear and concise outcomes that highlight key metrics, trends, and impact in relation to your initial objectives. Executive summaries, infographics, and visual representations of data all help keep your report both attractive and understandable. As a pro tip, if several different stakeholders see your reports, consider tailoring the content to each one, focusing on the metrics that matter most to them.

PR results and reports can be great tools for your marketing and sales teams. Remember to collect press clippings of your best media coverage and leverage these internally and externally. Finally, resist the temptation to report vanity metrics! Of course, you want to make your efforts look successful, but be objective: Reporting meaningless metrics because they make you look good might give you the warm and fuzzy feeling of a short-term win, but this false sense of security will prevent you from improving your efforts and achieving your full PR potential in the long term.

Ready to go pro with your PR?

Download our International PR Guidebook and level up your earned media mentions today!

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