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The 2024 State of the Media Report

Get actionable insight from 3,000+ journalists on what they truly want and need from PR teams.

PR Coverage Report: Essential Insights and Effective Analysis

For many PR professionals and PR agencies, producing coverage reports comes as second nature. But for those who are new to the industry, it might not be immediately obvious what they are or why they are so important.

A great PR report can both illuminate and clearly illustrate how your public relations efforts are impacting your brand's reputation and growth.

For example, bosses at a soda company in Illinois that launched a new marketing campaign over the holiday period will need a PR report to see if it was a success.

Coverage reports give you a better idea of how your PR campaigns are performing, as well as a comprehensive summary of your brand's media presence.

What's more, PR reporting provides valuable insights on how your media outreach activities are perceived by your target audience.

And the benefits don't stop there.

You can use the findings from your reports to compile a coverage book full of useful insights. You can then take this to make data-driven decisions to tweak or maintain your PR initiatives, or identify areas for improvement.

So, that Illinois soda company might realize its PR drive failed to reach its target audience. Time to make some alterations for next time!

How to Produce a Coverage Report

Coverage reports typically list media mentions along with a bit of contextual detail (e.g., source and type of media outlet). They also break down reach, sentiment, and the overall message conveyed.

In order to produce these reports, you have a few options.

If you have a small business with only a few media mentions, you could do a manual search to find all the relevant media mentions and compile these into a document yourself. It's a cheap, easy way and we'll show you what to include below.

For those working within a bigger company with lots of media mentions, it's probably easier to use a media monitoring tool to help you with this task - we'll look at this route below, too.

Of course, you could also use a combination of these two approaches - using a media monitoring tool to compile some of the data and adding your own context and observations.

As you start working on your PR reports, you'll get a feel for what suits your business best.

In this guide, we'll look at what PR reports are and the key metrics they should include.

We'll also look at different methods of producing a PR report, and how PR professionals can analyze the resulting data for better results in their next campaign.

In this article:

  • Understanding PR Reports

  • Analyzing Media Coverage for PR Reports

  • PR Tools and Software for Reporting

  • Including Advanced PR Metrics

  • Final Notes on PR Reports

Understanding PR Reports

Let's start by taking a closer look at what a PR coverage report is and why it's useful, and we'll list the PR metrics that a great report should deliver.

The Role of PR Reports

So, you've worked hard on creating a brilliant PR strategy, and you're starting to see some results.

You also want cold, hard data on how well that strategy is performing. That's where PR Reports come into play.

By understanding how to produce and analyze a robust PR report, you can make informed decisions about your PR strategy and adapt to achieve better results.

PR reporting is like a compass that guides your public relations efforts. It enables you to:

  • Identify areas of success and improvement in specific areas, such as your digital PR campaigns

  • Align your objectives with measurable outcomes

  • Demonstrate the return on investment (ROI) to stakeholders

  • Justify future PR budget allocations

Key Metrics in PR Reporting

To create an effective PR report, you need to focus on several metrics that will really highlight the success (or otherwise) of your efforts in PR.

Breaking Down Important PR Metrics

  1. Media Coverage Metrics: This includes the quality, quantity, and sentiment of coverage in the media. Examples include:

    • Number of feature articles, interviews, and news stories

    • Tone of the coverage (positive, neutral, or negative)

    • Media channel (online, print, broadcast, social media)

  2. Engagement Metrics: These will tell you how well your content is resonating with your target audience. Examples include:

    • Social media engagement (likes, shares, comments, retweets, mentions)

    • Click-through rate (CTR) on links

    • Dwell time (average time spent on your content)

  3. Impact Metrics: This is where we start thinking about the overall impact of your campaign on business goals. Examples include:

    • Website traffic

    • Conversion rates (e.g. newsletter signups, downloads, purchases)

    • Revenue growth

  4. Custom Metrics: You can also create your own metrics that are unique and relevant to your specific PR objectives.

Remember that every campaign is different, so your metrics might look different according to your goals and target audience in each case.

Analyzing Media Coverage for PR Reports

In this section, we'll look at how to track media mentions in your PR report, and how to evaluate their impact on your media relations.

Evaluating Media Mentions

Tracking the effectiveness of your PR efforts starts with an analysis of your media mentions. This involves tracking where and how often your brand, products, or services are mentioned in the media.

To track all the mentions you could use a free tool like Google Alerts, then take your own notes about things like source and sentiment.

Alternatively, you could use specialized PR software to automate some of this data, which should make the process a lot easier.

When analyzing media mentions, consider the following factors:

  • Source: Assess the credibility and reach of the media outlets mentioning your brand. A mention in a renowned publication will have far more impact than a mention in a small, local blog.

  • Tonality: Determine whether the mentions are positive, negative, or neutral. This will help gauge your brand's reputation and public perception.

  • Frequency: Calculate the number of media mentions over a specific period. This will help you identify trends or patterns in your media coverage.

Media Relations Impact

Next up is measuring the impact of media relations on your PR strategy.

This is crucial in determining how effective your outreach efforts have been, and how your press releases have been translated into media mentions.

Some important metrics to consider include:

  • Message Alignment: Evaluate how well the media coverage aligns with your brand's messaging and objectives. This will help identify areas for improvement in your media pitch and overall PR strategy.

  • Media Engagement: Analyze how the audience has interacted with your coverage, such as through likes, comments, shares, or related inquiries.

  • Lead Generation: Track the number of leads generated through earned media exposure. Leads can come in the form of web traffic, inquiries, or direct customer contact spurred by media mentions.

PR Tools and Software for Reporting

Now let's look at the tools you could use to ease the process of producing a coverage report.

These generally take the form of media monitoring tools that you can then integrate to work with your existing PR software.

Media Monitoring Tools

These tools will make easy work of tracking your campaigns and brand mentions across various media platforms. Popular tools include CisionOne, Hootsuite, and Mention.

Media monitoring tools typically give users access to features such as:

  • Monitoring brand mentions across news, blogs, and social media

  • Sentiment analysis to gauge public perception of your brand

  • Competitive analysis to stay ahead of your rivals

  • Robust reporting for informed decision-making

By making the most of media management tools, you can boost our brand's reputation, address potential issues, and create targeted PR strategies.

Choosing a PR Reporting Tool

When selecting a PR tool for your organization, consider the following factors:

  1. Features: Identify the tools that offer a comprehensive set of features which suit your PR needs. This might look like media monitoring, press release distribution, and influencer outreach.

  2. Ease of use: If you choose software that is user-friendly and intuitive, you'll minimize the learning curve for your team members.

  3. Reliability: Choose a reputable tool with consistent performance, and you'll hopefully safeguard against product issues and the need for customer service help.

  4. Pricing: Look up the pricing plans of various tools and select the one that offers the best value while falling within your organization's budget.

Would you like to trial a PR reporting tool? Speak to an expert today and join thousands of other brands using CisionOne.

Integrating PR Software

Once you've chosen the right PR tool or software, the next step is to seamlessly integrate it into your existing workflow.

Here are some recommendations for successful integration:

  • Provide training to your team members, ensuring they understand the features and functionality of the chosen PR tool

  • Set up customized alerts for real-time monitoring and quicker response times to media mentions

  • Sync your CRM with the PR software to efficiently manage relationships with journalists, influencers, and other media contacts

  • Regularly evaluate the software's performance and gather team feedback to identify areas for improvement and optimization

Reporting and Analysis Techniques

To develop effective reports, you should first identify the goals you want to achieve and select the coverage metrics that best align with those goals.

You can then do what the PR pros do and take a closer look at the data and your key performance indicators (KPIs) to analyze how well you are meeting those goals.

Using Website Analytics Correctly

Website analytics play a crucial role in understanding the impact of your PR coverage. You can use tools such as Google Analytics to dive deeper into your website's performance metrics.

These metrics may include page views, unique visitors, bounce rate, and average time spent on each page.

By analyzing these metrics, you can identify which aspects of your PR campaign are successful and which need improvement. For example, if your website traffic is increasing but bounce rate remains high, you might need to revise your website content to better engage visitors.

You might also realize your site is taking too long to load, which is bouncing people away.

Be sure to compare your website analytics with your PR coverage to assess their correlation.

Communicating Results to Stakeholders

Effectively communicating the results of your PR efforts to stakeholders is essential in showcasing the value of your work. You could deliver quarterly reports to help achieve this goal.

The best way to do this is keeping things simple. Charts and graphs really help as they make data easily digestible. Don't forget to highlight key achievements in relation to your coverage metrics and the alignment of these achievements with your PR campaign goals.

Remember, too, to provide context for your presented data and showcase any improvements in your PR campaign over time.

Is It Worth Including Advanced PR Metrics?

There are further details you can add to your report which may help to illustrate to clients and stakeholders just how well your PR campaigns are performing. These may or may not add business value to your reports, so it's important to think about their worth before engaging in advanced metrics.

Below, we'll look at making monetary value assessments and undertaking some competitive analysis.

Monetary Value Assessment and Earned Media Value

Assessing the monetary value of your public relations efforts goes hand in hand with understanding the impact of your earned media coverage.

Including these details in your PR report will help those reading it to understand the worth of your earned media.

Now it's time to dig a little deeper into the data. Once you've tracked your media mentions, you can calculate earned media value (EMV) and add this to your report.

This is a little technical, so we'll give an example. Perhaps a podcast host spontaneously talks about a product they love, making it clear the brand is not a podcast sponsor. However, they make their money through advertising, so you could have paid for an advertising space. In this case, you'll be thinking about how much you would have paid for that mention if you decided to buy an official advertising slot.

Earned media can also be more valuable as it comes across as more genuine to the audience than paid advertising, hopefully increasing its impact.

Calculating EMV can provide insight into the effectiveness of your PR strategy versus your paid media activities.

This is also sometimes referred to as advertising value equivalency (AVE).

To calculate EMV or AVE, consider the following variables:

  1. Media Value: Assign a monetary value to the coverage type (e.g. online article, video, podcast). For example, you could research the advertising rates of the respective media outlets for a specific figure.

  2. Media Multiplier: Apply a multiplier to the media value to account for the credibility and relative impact of earned media compared to paid media (e.g. if earned media is perceived as twice as valuable, the multiplier would be 2).

  3. Total Reach: Estimate the total audience reached by your media mentions. Here you could include metrics such as social media followers, circulation, viewers, listeners, or online traffic.

The formula to calculate Earned Media Value is:

EMV = Σ (Media Value × Media Multiplier × Total Reach)

Comparing PR Outcomes Across Industries

You can also use your PR report to compare your outcomes with those of other industries, and get a meaningful insight into the success of your public relations campaigns.

By doing so, you'll be able to identify areas where your strategies are really taking off or in need of some improvement.

Here are some key considerations for comparing PR outcomes across industries:

  • Comparing EMVs: Compare the Earned Media Values of your campaigns against those of similar-sized companies in other industries.

  • Industry-specific metrics: Some industries might have unique measurement metrics based on the nature of their businesses. Be sure to account for such indicators while comparing outcomes.

  • Contextualize results: While comparing results, consider contextual factors such as the size of the target audience, product type, and geographic location.

Final Say on PR Reports

We hope this guide has left you feeling like a bit of an expert on coverage reports.

Whether your reader is your managing director or your client, you should now be able to produce a coverage book packed full of reports and useful insights.

Make the most of some helpful tools to save time, and the process can be more rewarding than you might think. 

Author Bio
Marcelo Javelly
 SEO and Social Listening Specialist

Marcelo is an SEO and Social listening expert with 8+ years of experience across various industries and joined Cision in 2023. Based in Copenhagen, he is our in-house specialist for all things related to social listening.