Measure PR Goals that Drive Real Business Results

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The only way a PESO model can give PR pros a seat at the executive table is to measure, measure, measure. Even though we tend to be right-brainers who don’t like numbers, there is absolutely no running away from metrics.

Without measuring your PESO activities’ effectiveness, you don’t know where to focus.

  • Which topics are truly engaging your audience?
  • Which channels drive the most traffic?

  • What publications are bombing with our audience?

These are all answers only data can give you.

I get it. Many communicators claim to have chosen this industry because they hate math. But if you want PR to be seen as a relevant, valuable partner in driving business results—instead of a fluffy nice-to-have budget expense item, you have to get over that. Sharing business results—such as how many leads your PR programs drove—increases the esteem your colleagues have for the work you do. In time, you may even come to find it to be invigorating and inspiring to be able to see how that work is driving business results.

Get Over Analysis Paralysis

Once you have the PESO model working well for you and driving your content and other PR activities, it’s time to determine the PR metrics that will help you be certain it’s working.

For each of the four media types, there are different metrics to track. Here’s a starting point for your measurement activities.

Paid Media

  • Social media marketing ad conversions, using data from Facebook, Twitter, and LInkedIn, and Google AdWords.

  • Landing page form completions.

  • Increases in the qualified leads in your email marketing database.

  • New fans or followers who come from reading your sponsored content.

  • Leads and conversions.

Earned Media

  • Influencer scoring: Does an influencer with 10,000 followers have the same score as someone with 1,000 followers? It could very well be that the person with 1,000 followers can incentivize purchase with 10 percent of his followers, while the person with 10,000 followers can incentivize purchase with only 1 percent.

  • How much Web traffic comes from a story about your organization? See if those news outlets and blogs are sending visitors to your site, and if so, what they are doing once they arrive.

  • An increase in new audiences.

Shared Media

You have to track the number of fans and followers because sharp declines—or a trend of decreasing followers—will tell you something is wrong. But an increase in these metrics, week after week, doesn’t count as business results. The following metrics do:

  • Are you using brand ambassadors to help spread the word about your product or service? If you are, track their effectiveness.

  • Assign points to things such as likes, retweets, shares, and comments. This gives you numerical data on whether something works.

  • Use unique URLs, coupons, discount codes, or even telephone numbers only in your social media efforts. This will tell you whether you’re getting results from these efforts.

Owned Media

Pay attention to unique visitors, time spent on the site and bounce rate. Those things, such as an increase (or decrease) in social media followers, can indicate success or failure.

  • If you have a formalized owned media plan, you’re likely distributing content through email marketing. When you integrate your content with this paid media tactic, you can track things such as downloads and shares. Do people download the content? Do they read or watch or listen to it once it’s been downloaded? Is it so good they can’t help but share it with their communities?

  • Are people sharing your content? This is important to know because it provides proof to a new reader that you know what you’re doing.

  • Track the effectiveness of a community (people who comment on and share your content) by whether they’re referring business to you.

  • Is it driving sales?

Start Your Measurement Activities Today with Google Analytics

To track these metrics, you don’t need to invest in a fancy measurement dashboard tool or data visualization app. However, you will need to spend quality time with Google Analytics to identify:

  • Bounce rate. Is your content attracting the right people to your site? Or are they coming for the piece of content they saw linked to from somewhere then clicking away as fast as they can?

  • Goal completion. Set up goals that map to your email subscription thank you page, your contact us form, and other lead-submission pages as goals. This allows Google Analytics to track your conversion rates.

  • Your page rank for keywords leading to your content. Although you no longer get the depth of search data from Google Analytics, you can get some of it with Google Webmaster Tools. This will also help you with identifying the right keywords to focus on. Then, monitor your search results ranking for these keywords over time.

  • Pages per session. Are your visitors exploring your site? When you’ve created targeted, compelling content for your audience, you can expect them to stay and read more content on your site after their initial click.

  • Referrals. Where are your new visitors coming from? Which media outlets send you the most relevant prospects, as measured by goal completion?

To track these metrics, you have a few options. Depending on your audience:

  • A spreadsheet. This works well for giving you a historical look over time at your results.

  • A PowerPoint. You can use the data from your spreadsheet to create easy-to-consume graphs and charts for sharing your results with your leadership team.

  • An analytics reporting solution.

Only if you measure the right metrics will you be able to show how PR is a significant business driver, and not marketing fluff.

Get over your fear of numbers and find out what’s really working for your brand, and use that knowledge to transform your plan for an even more successful second half of the year.