How to measure the impact of PR

Jan 16, 2023
5 mins

How to measure PR

We get it, C-suite management are asking for how many sales have increased since investing in PR, and now you need something tangible to show them. 

Firstly, let’s address the fact. PR can (and often does) drive sales, but this shouldn’t be the main reason you engage an agency. Why? Because PR won’t drive immediate sales, and you can’t track sales in the same way as other marketing initiatives. 

PR is also much more powerful when it is considered a reputational tool that boosts brand awareness and credibility. 

This may all sound a little vague, so how do you measure PR?

Before you measure PR impact 

There’s no point measuring PR if you don’t have an objective to measure it against. We suggest that you think about your overarching business goals, and consider how comms can help you meet these.This will inform the metrics you’ll require to do just that. 

The focus of PR is top of the funnel marketing

PR broadly sits at the top of the marketing funnel. This means it is primarily based on building brand awareness, educating consumers and acting as an introduction to the business. 

Consumers, at this stage, are scoping out the market. This might be their first interaction with the brand, or their 100th. Either way, if you’re a new product, customers are likely to do a bit of their own research into you and your competitors. How do they do this? Well, they Google it of course. 

Often, your prospective consumers will engage with your brand across lots of different touch points across your digital and traditional marketing, before finally converting and buying into the brand.   

Tracking your PR success falls into two main categories

So, your PR agency has pitched a story, secured the opp and a piece about your business has been published. Congratulations! 

You might have been placed in a national newspaper, such as The Times, or be featured in a more specific industry-based publication. 

This in itself is a great result (assuming the piece is positive) and there are many metrics you can measure to highlight it, such as: 

1. Audience

The type of publication you featured in (have you targeted a specific audience in a niche industry magazine, or have you gained widespread awareness on national morning television)

2. Readership

How many people could potentially see this piece based on the circulation of the magazine/newspaper or monthly users of the site

3. Key messages

How many of the things you wanted to say were included within the piece, and did it include a call to action e.g. a link to your website  

4. Share of voice

Are you getting more coverage than your competitors? 

Impact of the coverage 

So, you got some coverage, it reaches your audience and included all your key messages. Now what? Well, it’s time to think about the impact. 

This is probably something you’ll measure over time to show ROI and measurable business metrics, such as:

1. Engagement

The number of conversations your coverage drives - this could be in the form of sharing the piece on social media, or comments on an article 

2. Traffic

If a link is included, did it drive traffic? If so, how much did it drive over time. 

3. Inbound requests

As you start to position yourself as a thought leader in the media, measure how many people approach you for other requests like speaking opportunities or commentary 

4. Action

How many people acted on your call to action (if included) e.g. downloaded the app, attended your event

So, now you’re equipped to tell your bosses how successful your PR campaign has been, and what these results can mean for your business.