For many years, the concepts and efforts behind public relations were underestimated due to the inability to determine exact return on investment. It was difficult to attribute specific increases in sales numbers or revenue generation as a result of intangible concepts like reputation building, brand management and community relations. Fortunately, this has grown to be easier and more quantifiable thanks to the advancement of technology in the digital age. As relationships are built between a brand and its audiences through traditional public relations efforts in the digital space, they can be tracked and quantified for summarization and analysis.
Breaking down your digital analytics into the three categories below will make them easier to understand and allow you to identify and target your public relations strengths and weaknesses.
These are measurements that can be determined from utilizing various communication channels, including the media. They include frequency, journalist inquiries and reader contacts. By assessing these numbers, you can draw conclusions about how valuable your content is to the audiences of these communication channels. For example, was a particular article that you pitched about subject “XYZ” read and shared over various platforms to multiple readers? How many media outlets contacted you about doing a follow-up story? If your answer included large numbers to all of those questions, then you had a strong return on investment from that news story.
Measure outcomes by assessing the effects of your public relations efforts among your targeted audiences. The results of these efforts would be changes in knowledge or awareness of your brand, product or service or in the opinions and attitudes toward your brand, product or service among your key audiences. This is normally assessed through surveys about brand association or product use.
Business results are the most straightforward assessment of the successful public relations efforts. If you see a positive correlation between increased numbers, such as revenue, market share or stock price, and increased public relations efforts, such as brand messaging, media relations or internal communications, then you can determine the percentage of value added through your PR efforts by comparing your increased figures to what they were prior to those efforts.
After gathering the numbers for your efforts across these three categories, identify where you excel and where you should consider placing more focus for different results. Every situation is different, but identifying these strengths and opportunities will allow you to better plan and execute a well-rounded public relations strategy.