How to measure the impact of PR on your business


February 5, 2024

At its most basic level, public relations is all about building awareness and trust of your brand in consumers. Most typically, this is executed through media relations and utilising the platforms of trusted news outlets to tell your story. However, it’s not called Media Relations. It’s called Public Relations, and it extends way beyond just talking to the media. Good PR speaks to your audience and reflects your business objectives. Generally, media is just one of the strongest platforms to reach a large, engaged and curious audience. ‍

What goals can PR help me achieve?

The primary thing that your PR should be focused on is building brand awareness. Good media coverage should convey who you are, what you do and what your product or service can offer. Good PR will reflect these messages in the stories and ensure that a target audience – a consumer or another business – can see and understand your value. 

PR can do many things, but here’s what it does best and what you should look for in an effective campaign:

  • Build brand awareness amongst consumers, industry peers, and potential future stakeholders or investors
  • Drive awareness of the launch of new products, services, or events, which can drive sales and attendance
  • Create social proof of your momentum and legitimacy through positioning in key outlets
  • Create content for your website and in your blog or journal. A simple “As Seen In…” section can showcase how others talk about you outside customer reviews
  • Break into new areas outside your traditional industries to raise engagement with new partners and fields
  • Showcase business growth and development to attract investors and partners.

But of course, PR is not only a brand awareness-focused effort. It can still create sales and leads, however, you need to set realistic expectations around what exactly your objectives as a business are.

Is my PR working? 

The hardest part of PR is how you measure the success of your campaign. While metrics around readership and pieces of coverage each month are good indicators that your story, product or service has widespread appeal, the true aim of PR should be aligned with your business goals and this means that you should employ other tactics to measure your PR. 

Numbers are great, but did the story convey your key message? Did the journalist do a good job of highlighting what your products or services offer to customers? Was it a positive story or a negative one? Did the outlet use the right images? You need to work with your PR specialists to determine what is working in your campaign and what isn’t – because the campaign isn’t about their numbers; it’s about yours. 

These metrics must be measured over a realistic  period; you can’t suddenly go from being relatively unknown, to being a household name overnight. Tools like Tracksuit are brilliant for helping you monitor your market awareness and visibility. Or, if you’re just getting started or in the early stages of your organisation's journey, look at the metrics you already have available to gauge how your efforts are being received by your audiences; social media followers, website traffic and engagement across your platforms. 

While attribution modelling can be tricky for PR coverage, there are a few quantifiable metrics to track: 

  • Social media following: Monitor your brands’ owned channels for spikes in visitors and followers after your coverage goes live. This is particularly relevant if a publication tags your brand in a share of the story on social media, as readers have a very clear path to complete this action. 
  • Social media engagement can be useful to note if your announcement concerns a new product or an exciting collaboration. Has your brand experienced greater engagement with a relevant post from outside of your follower base? 
  • Website traffic: Website traffic should be tracked through Google Analytics. Here, you’ll be able to see sessions by source, and notice ebbs and flows in daily traffic. Sometimes (yes, unfortunately only sometimes), a publication will link to your brand’s website. But most of the time, there won’t be an opportunity to provide a UTM-tagged link to attribute this traffic to a particular piece of coverage directly. 

To quantify the impact of coverage, you might look for:

  • Increase in referral traffic (as your traffic source/medium) 
  • Increase in organic search traffic (Google Analytics) or in branded search volume (Google Search Console) 

If you’ve checked all of these avenues and aren’t satisfied with what you see, you may need to change your approach to PR. Maybe you need to re-think your objectives? Or get creative with your messaging? Or alternatively, try another marketing strategy like performance or email marketing.

It’s important to remember that traction won’t necessarily be achieved with one piece coverage. However, you can’t put a value on having your brand name and offering recognised and on-the-minds of people everywhere. 

ready to make IMPACT?