There is no universal way to measure PR activities. Therefore, in Profeina, we have created a set of possible indicators that – depending on the scope of work entrusted to the PR agency – can be used in reporting. For is not true that PR activities cannot be measured.
First, two important explanations. The following text concerns the measures of the effectiveness of media relations activities (cooperation with the media) and the long-term situation – i.e. a minimum of half a year of methodical cooperation of PR agencies with the brand.
At the beginning, it is necessary to determine from what point do we actually start PR activities. To build “brand awareness” or “increase brand recognition” and be able to track the progress of these processes – you need to know at what level of awareness or recognition we are taking over the brand. For this purpose, it is best to study the brand’s target groups. However, usually only large entities can afford it.
If the brand does not have budget for brand awareness research or starts from scratch – because it is a startup or a company at an early stage of development – such a survey is unnecessary, but tracking progress absolutely is.
Most often, PR activity reports are based on the number of publications, their reach or the so-called “opinion-forming” power of a title or station that mentioned the brand. But the topic of measuring the effectiveness of PR agencies can be approached in different ways.
At Profeina, we divide the measurement of PR effectiveness into five elements, depending on the current brand recognition and the goal we – together with the client – set. They are in turn:
- Brand awareness,
- Brand reputation,
- Social impact,
- SEO impact,
- Sales support
Who writes about the brand, are they quality publications, do these publications reach the right people?
Does information about the brand appear in the media at the initiative of journalists themselves? Do brand experts receive media queries for comments? Are they invited to speeches and lectures? Do other entities refer to our data, reports?
Shareability, social impact
Is the given press material about the company interesting enough to live a little longer, i.e. is it reproduced on social media?
Of course, the level of “shareability” is not fully dependent on the activities of the PR agency – it results, for example, from the quality of the text written by a journalist or the coverage of a given medium – but it can be supported (by consistently sharing the most interesting articles in social media on brand channels).
SEO impact / SEO PR
The PR agency can support brand positioning, mainly by acquiring quality links to the brand’s website (PR as a link building tactic). It is worth remembering, however, that not all media are ready to link to external sites in free materials, and only if the given material (e.g. report, analysis) is of high quality for a given medium.
PR is used to build brand recognition and reputation. The truth is, however, that companies, especially the rapidly developing ones – operating in accordance with the “Excel must be right” principle – are about sales. It is good if such expectations are clear to both parties from the very beginning of cooperation.
PR activities may to some extent support sales. To measure this, however, close collaboration between the agency and the client is required. The client must analyze internal data in detail and be ready to share it with a PR agency. Of course, there is never 100 percent certainty whether a given client came directly from being influenced by some publication. Our experience shows that the best effects are achieved by combining marketing (including SEO) and PR activities.
And finally, an explanation – reporting all of the above indicators would take a lot of time, both from the PR agency and the client. That is why it is worth considering which KPIs are a must-have at a given stage and which are nice-to-have. For now, it is impossible to automate everything with the help of tools, but certainly you can save a lot of time thanks to them.
by Zuzanna Szybisty