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14 KPIs to measure Public Relations success or failure

14 KPIs to measure Public Relations success or failure

How to precisely measure public relations success has remained one of the most debated topics in the PR and marketing communications business.

Public relations failures are easy to identify but measuring the degree of failure can also be a challenge. The question about how to measure PR success and failure becomes easier when you have Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to work with.

Here are 14 must-have KPIs to help clients and agencies track public relations success and failure:

  1. Active coverage

The amount of coverage secured is often the favourite KPI of most public relations professionals. There is however room to go deeper.

You may want to create a subset of this KPI specifically focused on top-tier publications for your industry and audience.

  1. Potential reach

Sum of viewership for publications and websites in which your coverage is featured.

  1. Share of voice

14 KPIs to measure Public Relations success or failure

This is the percentage of coverage received —for your brand, products, or high-profile executive(s)—compared to your competitors.

It’s important to note that the public relations share of voice can be tracked by volume or reach. For instance, your competitor may have a higher volume in terms of mentions, but you might be in higher-reach publications. An article in a tier-1 publication is probably more impactful than 10 mentions in low impact publications.

  1. Social engagement

In public relations terms, this is how many shares and comments that generated PR coverage receives.

  1. Sentiment and tone

Sentiment refers to the tone of the articles that mention your brand. In public relations, a sentiment can be positive, neutral or negative.

This metric can provide insights on the success of the public relations campaigns, and can also be used to demonstrate brand impact and gauge the quality of media mentions.

  1. Media monitoring

Back in the old days, media monitoring was a tedious task. PR pros combed newspapers and magazines and physically cut out articles and pasted them into clipbooks. Today, technology—and tools like Google Alerts, Talkwalker alerts and Muck Rack’s earned media software—makes media monitoring a whole lot easier in public relations.

Media monitoring includes: Online news, Print news, Broadcast, Podcasts, Newsletters and Social media.

  1. Media outreach

The number of press releases and pitches you are sending out and how they are performing. Along with the amount of coverage they generate, you can also measure your progress in building relationships with journalists (a good distribution tool provides metrics on open rates and even internal links clicked).

  1. Coverage position

The placement of your brand mention (headline, body) and its prominence in the article’s content also matter. This is another important public relations KPI.

  1. Geographical presence

14 KPIs to measure Public Relations success or failure

This public relations KPI is the volume of coverage based on location. Assess your success at targeting key geographical demographics.

  1. Key message penetration

Break your coverage down by key themes and measure how strongly you are associated with each one. You can also measure which ones your competitors are associated with and compare your results.

This public relations KPI goes deeper than the general media monitoring.

  1. Overall media presence

This public relations KPI combines share of voice and sentiment to get a snapshot of your competitive landscape.

  1. Earned traffic

The number of visitors that were driven to your website as a result of your earned coverage and link placement is how this public relations KPI comes into play.

  1. Domain authority

A metric created by SEO software company Moz to predict how well a website will rank on search engines, using a logarithmic, 100-point scale.

By securing link placement on third-party sites, PR can have a big impact on your site’s domain authority and SEO. Though this public relations KPI seems technical, it can help to set your PR campaign apart.

  1. Buzz and word of mouth

14 KPIs to measure Public Relations success or failure

The capability to create a buzz and generate a presence among a brand’s competitors is determined through this fresh public relations KPI called the buzz effect.

Press releases, editorial mentions, awards won, speaking opportunities, blog posts, public relations stunts and seizing marketing moments all add up to help your brands create buzz and likability in the marketplace.

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