Seven Ways You Can Prove PR’s Worth via ROI

Adryanna Sutherland, President, Gyro Cincinnati

Today’s PR pro needs to demonstrate direct correlation of PR to lead generation. Thankfully, new tools and tactics are available to gain control of reporting. Here are six mandatory metrics that can help:

Referral Traffic: If people are interested in learning about your brand after seeing it in an article, they’ll probably visit your website. When reporters include a link to your website in articles, you can track how many people used those links by referencing the referral traffic from that publisher’s website.

Not sure how this is assessed on the back end? Work with your analytics team to set up a PR-specific campaign in Google Analytics. Reference the number of visits to calculate your lead conversion rate. [See also Bonus Tip below.]

Leads Generated: Track the number of leads generated (people who submit their information via a form on the brand’s website) based on referral traffic. Some first-time leads are further down the funnel than others. Determine which leads are most important so you can show the direct correlation of your PR effort to increases in that number.

Bonus Tip: To calculate your lead conversion rate, divide the number of leads generated by the number of visits. For example, if you have 50 visits and five leads, your conversion rate is 10%.

Organic Search: If an article doesn’t link to your brand’s website, you can use organic visits to measure impressions and leads. Highlight the spike in organic traffic to the website directly after the launch of your PR campaign and see where it falls off.

Unless other campaigns were running at that time, all signs point to PR as the source. In addition, from that time period, have the sales team ask organic leads how they heard about the company.

Earned and Paid Impressions: Paid media bolsters a successful PR campaign. Imagine your target visits the website after reading about your brand in an article, and then leaves without converting.

A smart retargeting campaign could target those visitors who were referred to your client’s website by one of the specific publisher sites. You could even reference quotes from the article that your target read and get that person to re-visit the site.

When you’re measuring the success of an earned-plus-paid-media campaign, it is likely to be impossible to separate the two, giving you built-in PR metrics.

Social Reach: Pinpoint social amplification. First, check the publisher’s social feeds; most share articles without prompting (if not, enact prompting).

Then, check on any influencers related to the campaign (the reporter, executives quoted). Search for the article’s title on social to find people who tweeted the link directly.

Additional searches for your brand and the key message in the article should turn up even more hits. Demonstrate how many times each article you secured was shared on social, and choose tweets from influencers to highlight.

Message Pull-Through: Before a PR campaign begins, everyone on the team should be aligned on key messages. Every story placement should then be examined to see if it hits on those messages. An article containing your messaging is like gold; such write-ups rank high in searches, offer third-party credibility and serve as tenured marketing material for sales teams, speaking opportunities, investor relations and more.

PR is important to a brand’s success, and thanks to digital tools, it’s easier than ever to prove ROI. Once the value of PR is demonstrated fully, there is no denying its worth.

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 This article originally appeared in the March 7, 2016 issue of PR News. Read more subscriber-only content by becoming a PR News subscriber today.