Seeing PR differently – the opportunities and returns of a PR campaign
In the increasingly digital age we live in, trust has never been more important for growing a successful business. The internet has made it so easy for us to source product and services quickly and so easily, but it also adds a new dimension to the buying process. Think about the difference between how a 75-year-old looks for new pair of shoes versus a 17-year-old. It can be hard for a customer or prospect to know the true size and professionalism of a company when it’s so easy for people to operate them entirely online.
Why PR matters for businesses of all sizes
PR is an essential tool for building trust in a brand. It’s the approval of a journalist or reviewer for your product or service, or the privilege of being asked for your opinion on current industry news. It’s being included in conversations about topics that directly affect the sectors you operate in or an amazing review of your business. Some business owners write PR off as a vanity project, or something that doesn’t lead to a direct ROI, but I would passionately argue against that point, and here’s why!
Owned versus paid versus earned media
The differences between these three different types of media are key to understanding the value of PR:
- Owned media is any content that you produce and control, so that will include your website copy, blogs, social media posts, eNewsletters and so on.
- Paid media is anything you are buying, so pay per click advertising, social media advertising, sponsorship or influencer marketing.
- Earned media is perhaps harder to pin down, but it is essentially word of mouth marketing, press coverage and online conversations.
PR campaigns fall under the banner of earned media, though it’s worth noting PR is most effective and powerful when the messages sent out are aligned with those in owned and paid channels. Storytelling sits at the heart of all three and if you’ve got a good story to tell and get it out there in the right way, you’ll see engagement and interest.
How can you measure the return on investment in PR?
PR is, like any marketing activity, a cost for your business. Whether that cost is your time working on PR projects in house or the cost of an agency or consultant, you will be interested to see the correlation between investment in PR and sales. The rise of digital channels has made it easier to measure how effective an advertising campaign has been and whether it made a good return on the investment that went into it. Facebook, display, SEO and influencer marketing are all trackable and most platforms deliver in depth reporting.
Measuring the ROI of PR can be a little harder, but it is possible. Here are some ideas:
- Review your sales figures on and after the dates that coverage is published is a good start. If the PR coverage is for a product you might even sell out in the days following publication, which happened to one lucky client of mine!
- Do the same for your website analytics and social media activity – look for peaks and interest in both the brand and specific products.
- Include bespoke landing pages for PR so that you can see who comes to your website directly from a piece of online coverage.
- Track brand mentions, domain authority and social mentions (there are some great online tools for this, such as Moz and Mention) to see when the online chatter about your brand peaks.
See also: Top Five PR Considerations