The domain of public relations comes often under scrutiny that it is hard quantify or measure. Contrary to popular belief, there are plenty of metrics to watch out for when monitoring a campaign’s results.
Before going into the details of metrics in public relations, it is important to correctly separate business goals from communication goals. While both of these have an impact on sales, communication goals tend to be more indirect and refer to your audience as a target. Business goals are more direct and target sales and product features.
An example of a business goal would be to increase sales of a specific product by x% over a certain period of time.
Communication goal would consist of measuring sentiment of the online community towards a specific product on different social media channels and target an increase of x% over a certain period of time.
Clearly communication goals are there to transition into business goals. However keeping these as separate targets will help the business focus on important metrics and be able to identify where the efforts are lacking and need to be improved.
Keep in mind that marketing and public relations departments are related but have different functionality. Marketing is focused on promotional material and are measured on returns on investment, while public relations is targeting reputation management and media coverage from third parties.
The multi-faceted public relations domain
- Press Coverage
Press coverage usually comprises public writings in notable magazines or publications. They highlight your brand or product and you have little to no control over this content. Monitoring the sentiment of the content and the frequency of your brand’s appearances, you can understand the public impression of your reputation.
- Social Media
Online presence is a must for any business nowadays. Social platforms enable brands to mold their online reputation through their accounts and the content they post. You can measure reach, impressions and engagement for your brand’s posts, tweets or stories. Reach and impressions refer to the amount of people have seen or been shown your content, while engagement captures the interaction of your audience with your posts. Aim to have high figures for all of them, especially the engagement metric. Platforms now offer plenty of possibilities to manage and monitor these metrics with internal or external tools.
- Website Traffic
The website still remains one of the pillars for online reputation, as public relations campaign will often link to the brand’s website. Therefore always monitor the traffic you receive and understand what kinds of customers are interested in your product and how you can improve their experience. You can use popular tools like Google Analytics to track bounce rate, total views and the customer behaviour on your site. Once you start extracting useful insights from your traffic, you will be able to make changes that will positively impact your metrics and in turn lead to increased sales.