How to Measure an Effective PR Campaign

By Mark Macias

How do you measure the performance of an effective PR firm? It’s a question I hear a lot from potential clients. There are several traditional ways to evaluate the performance of your PR agency, and you can read more on that with this blog on How to Measure the ROI of PR. If you’re short on time, the CliffsNotes are below:

  • Number of Media Placements
  • Demographics and Reader base for those Media Outlets
  • Increased Credibility, which Helps Close Sales;
  • Actual Sales, which can be measured through links published in news stories or through Analytics.
  • Improved SEO – since search engines use news stories and blogger stories to measure the value of a website.

But there is another way to measure the ROI of PR that is frequently overlooked. It’s more difficult to quantify than any Google Analytics Report but according to researchers out of Motista – a consumer intelligence analytics firm – it’s actually more persuasive and leads to higher revenue for brands. This is where the art of PR contrasts with the science of data.

How PR Influences Consumers via Emotional Motivators

Motista researchers published a report in the Harvard Business Review that took a closer look at the science behind customer decision-making. Their data scientists wanted to know what is it that drives consumers to buy a product versus skip over it. It’s information and insight that can help every business owner, including this top-rated tech PR firm.

Their researchers discovered behavior actions – called “emotional motivators” – that continually drive consumer action. Those behaviors include: 1) a desire to stand out from the crowd (or fit in); 2) a need to feel secure, 3) the desire to succeed in life, 4) the need for freedom and other patterns.

The Sixth Sense for Measuring an Effective PR Campaign

You might not realize it, but “emotional motivators” are also a subconscious factor in the ROI of PR. For example, if you are a financial advisor, you need to continually find new investors. If a prominent news story details how your financial firm outperformed the markets – and grew your clients’ assets, you are achieving an “emotional motivator.” That news story told investors they can achieve freedom, success and feel secure by going with your firm. It’s a reason to drive their action.

Likewise, if you’re a tech startup in need of credibility or downloads, a story in TechCrunch can lend credibility to potential investors who want the emotional motivator to “succeed in life.” Or, it might persuade a consumer to download your mobile app if they’re looking to engage in a different emotional motivator.

From a strategic perspective, this approach can help your startup better position itself against a larger, more establised competitor. Let’s say you’re a newer online retail startup, like, taking on a behemoth Amazon. Your media campaign might leverage the “emotional motivator” that connects with consumers who want to be different. Your PR firm can engage this “emotional motivator” by pushing news stories that reinforce how sells more fashion forward products than Amazon.

ROI of PR – Big Data Analysis

This ROI might sound nebulous to the analytics driven CMO, but Motista actually used big data in identifying how “emotional motivators” lead to higher revenue. Their report cited a credit card company that used “emotional motivators” to connect with Millennials for a new credit card launch. New card sales grew by 40 percent and usage increased by 70 percent with those consumers.

As a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York, I suspect that HBR story on Motista was placed by a publicist. If so, Motista got a high ROI from that PR campaign. It not only raised the awareness of the brand to me – but it also raised the awareness of their brand to you. That’s the direct power of PR.

Think about it. We talk about what we read, and if you target the right audience, it will get you into the conversation.

Marketing peers named MACIAS PR the 2017 and 2018 Strategic PR Firm of the Year. In 2015, 2016 and 2017, Finance Monthly named MACIAS PR the Financial PR Firm of the Year. The founder – Mark Macias – is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. He’s also a contributor with CNBC and author of the books, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media and the Tao of PR.