Understanding & Measuring the Value of PR

Public relations can be a tricky thing to measure – after all, how do you gauge perception? While other marketing tactics, such as advertising, are directly measurable in dollars and sales, PR is not quite so direct.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s not valuable – on the contrary, PR raises brand recognition and reputation, which can be more valuable than a dollar. It also doesn’t mean that PR isn’t measurable – there are a variety of ways to measure PR success. Here are five of our favorites:

  1. Media Hits: How many stories was your company mentioned in? Earned media is the bread and butter of public relations, but in an increasingly competitive media market, it’s not always easy. By looking at the number of placements your company has in a given time period (quarterly is often a good timeframe to start with), you can begin to understand the value of PR.
  2. Media Type: After you look at the number of media hits, it’s a good idea to look at where those stories ran. Sometimes, a hit in a trade publication will provide more value than a hit in a giant national newspaper. If your messages land in publications your target audience is reading, then you’re on the right track.
  3. Reach: Getting media wins is fantastic, but you want to make sure they’re being seen. Knowing how many people the publication reaches will help determine how many have read your article and are absorbing your messages.
  4. Content Analysis: Numbers matter, but what matters most is the content – having 1,000 bad stories out there about your brand isn’t good, but have 10 great stories is. Public relations is about ensuring that the stories you want told in the media are out there.
  5. Lead Sourcing: While it can be difficult to attribute PR wins to sales, it can be done relatively simply. Ask your new customers how they heard about you. If they mention reading about your business, that’s an excellent sign that your PR efforts are successful.

Public relations is a vital part of any marketing and communications plan, and effectively measuring PR efforts is incredibly important. With accurate measurement, you can continue to optimize your PR plan and increase positive brand recognition – and who doesn’t want that?


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