How to Quantify and Measure the Value of PR

A successful PR campaign isn’t as straightforward as an advertising campaign, but contrary to what many people believe, you can measure the ROI of a PR campaign. Public relations isn’t as analytics-driven as advertising, but you can still value its effectiveness.

Here are four ways to measure the success of your PR campaign:

Media Placements

Not all media outlets are created equal, so you don’t want to count the sheer number of placements. The Wall Street Journal is way more valuable than the Arcadia Newspaper.

However, don’t assume the biggest is always the best. If you’re pushing a story in a targeted neighborhood, like say Arcadia, you will want to target the community outlet. It’s more likely to drive sales than any story in the WSJ. Similar Web is a great source for measuring reach if you want to gauge overall  reach.

Brand Exposure

If you’re thinking about buying an expensive product or service, most consumers will do their homework and look for reviews. Positive online reviews in the media are one of the most effective tools for sales. 

My PR agency ran the digital campaign for the nutrition program, Lifesum. In 2020, the editor of PR Mag called Lifesum her favorite app for staying in shape. That’s an endorsement you can’t buy. It was instant brand exposure lined with credibility.

Consumer surveys conducted by my PR firm have found Millennials and Gen Z are swayed by positive reviews more than older generations. So if you’re selling to them, focus that PR outreach on reviews to enhance your ROI.

Web Analytics

Every entrepreneur should identify the primary sources behind their sales traffic. But with PR, it’s not always as easy to identify the traffic without a hyperlink. 

Many news organizations are getting stingier with their backlinks, and the traffic is not always directly linked to the news story. 

One of my team’s strategic approaches is to create content that supplements the story and embed it on your website. If the news organization is not able to include the additional information, you will have more success getting a back link to the supplemental material.

Search Engine Rankings

Google doesn’t reveal much about its search algorithm, but it’s clear that quality content and news articles play a large role in deciding what gets on the front page. If the Washington Post, CNN, CNBC and local TV are all writing about your brand, Google spyders will likely recognize the attention and give your website a higher emphasis with search rankings.

In 2018, Google named our client – Noom – one of the top searches for weight loss and diet programs. The publicity from our media campaign had a direct link with that increased seach traffic.

You might not immediately measure SEO with your PR campaign, but over time, you will see an improvement with traffic from search engines.

About Mark Macias

Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with NBC, Senior Producer with CBS, and frequent contributor to Forbes, CNBC and Entrepreneur. City & State Magazine named him to their PR Power 50 list in New York. MACIAS PR has led B2B and B2C media campaigns for brands across healthcare, tech, politics and nonprofits.