May 10, 2018 / by Lacey Miller

Now you’re heads-up on earned media’s place in the PESO model, it’s time to get scientific about the PR process. Why? Because the path to PR success is no longer set. It’s not about doing the same old things and accepting the results. It’s about finding out what activities actually drive desired results — and doing more of what works.


Consider this: Let’s say you invent a recipe and cook it for friends and family without measuring ingredients. If they love it and want you to cook it again, you won’t know how to repeat your success.


If your PR recipe includes measurement, you’ll be prepared to intake any feedback, or outcome — positive or negative. You’ll be empowered to draw conclusions so you can repeat or improve any performance.


In the digital world, there is actionable data associated with every article, blog, and social post. This data offers a new way to discover what is successful, act on learnings, and stay on the path of success.


To plan more certainty into PR, you must first agree on what success is and how it will be quantified. Then, take action and measure to see how much success was achieved. Finally, your use findings to inform next steps. We call this the PR Intelligence Loop. Let’s break it down.




1 ) Align. Does the business care how many pitches you put out, or how many people become customers? Probably the latter. Make sure you understand business goals — both short term and long term — so you can make a positive impact with PR programs.


2) Define. Sales may not be the only success measure. Build a list of high-value actions, or goal completions, including website visits, newsletter sign ups, demo requests, and more. Anything that converts a person from “unknown prospect” to “potential customer” should be considered and assigned a value. Finally, know how these actions are tracked, or put tracking in place.

Pro Tip: Think of conversion as a “change in status.” When you browse Amazon, you’re a prospect. When you make a purchase, you’ve changed — or been “converted” — into a customer.


3) Operate. Pursue PR the strategies that will drive more people to take those high value actions. In other words, apply your expertise: pitch the right stories to the right content creators to get press in publications of the highest possible value and relevance to your audiences and more. But it doesn’t stop there …


4) Amplify. Be sure to maximize the value of the earned media you win. Share worthy articles on social platforms to pump up attention. Consider paid strategies to drive more traffic to great articles. Offer content creators who’ve written about you new angles or ideas so they will write more. Use the placements you’ve won to intrigue new authors.


5) Quantify. Evaluate outcomes according to your defined success metrics. Communicate findings in a language executives understand — dollars, cents, and return on investment. Don’t be shy. Remember: a more successful PR strategy can be derived from the data, positive or negative!


6) Analyze. Looking at the results you achieved, probe deeper. Why was a pitch picked up by one content creator and ignored by another? What made a certain story take off and who found it appealing? Draw conclusions about what worked, what didn’t, and why — so you can do more of the good stuff next time around the loop.


The goal is to operate your loop over and over, constantly measuring and using your findings to inform the next PR program. Benchmark so you can show executives how a repeatable PR process delivers more value over time. When your process includes performance measurement, execs will value your PR reports.


Gone are the days when PR might talk to the C-Suite on a quarterly or yearly basis. Today, success can be tracked monthly, weekly, daily — even hourly. Of course, you need to use metrics that matter. We’ll talk more about what they are in upcoming posts!

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About Lacey Miller

Passionate about public relations and empowering practitioners, Lacey Miller found her dream job at TrendKite, where she carries the crown of 'word nerd'. With a background in public relations and technology, she's a great fit with her desire to innovate the industry! You can find her most days writing for PR Forward, PRSA, and other marketing trade publications.