This blog was originally published in April 2019 and has been updated for accuracy and relevancy purposes.
Sooner or later in your PR career, it will become apparent that the purpose of a PR campaign isn’t to generate coverage. Instead, the reason for (and therefore, the purpose of) a PR campaign is to address a business challenge.
That means that the success of a PR campaign needs to be measured by more than just the amount of coverage that it got. These measurements will, of course, be specific to the objective.
As an award-winning B2B PR agency, we’ve helped many clients create PR campaigns for many different reasons. We’ve put together a list of the most common PR objective examples, with details on how to measure them. And if you’d like to become a digital PR expert, why not sign up for our best-selling online course: The Ultimate Public Relations Masterclass?
To launch a product or company to a specific audience – this is mostly measured by leads, sales, awareness and social engagement with the product or company by the audience.
To encourage trials of a product or service – this one’s fairly straightforward – you’ll need to keep count of the number of trials/demos requested before and then during a PR campaign.
To increase customer lifetime value and retention rate – measure customer lifetime value and retention rates before and then during/after a PR campaign.
To drive sales of a product – again, pretty self-explanatory. You’ll need to keep count of the number of sales generated by the campaign.
To increase newsletter opens – measure open rate before and then during a PR campaign.
To reposition a brand – brand perception surveys will be crucial for this, and you’ll need to carry them out before and after the campaign so that you can make a comparison.
To differentiate a brand from competitors – this also requires a brand perception survey before and after the campaign, as well as competitor media analysis. Incredibly important in an age of online businesses often all look similar.
To help a brand gain market share – this one requires an analysis of market share and share of voice before and after a campaign.
To raise awareness of a problem – one of the more common PR objective examples, this requires an awareness survey before and after the campaign.
To create a brand association with a key term – the best way to measure this is to track the number of mentions of the key term alongside the brand during the campaign period in media and social media. Make sure to compare this to a benchmark number from before the campaign started.
To position a company and its spokespeople as thought leaders on a key issue – this one can be measured by counting the number of mentions of the company alongside the issue over the campaign period as well as audience perception surveys.
To increase direct website traffic – another straightforward one. Just use your analytics to measure direct website traffic over the campaign period vs the same time period the previous year.
To generate followed links to support a brand’s SEO strategy – count the number of relevant followed links ’earnt’.
To drive buzz or conversation around a brand – this is measured by social listening and media analysis. Try to use a tool that shows you who is talking about the brand as a result of the campaign.
To build a community – using the brand’s social platforms and/or native platform, measure the size and engagement of the community.
To reduce a behaviour – this one is very specific to the behaviour and the target audience. e.g. if the behaviour is smoking, you would need to measure levels before and after the campaign amongst the demographic. This could be done through surveys or other measures such as analysing sales of cigarettes.
To educate an audience on how to handle a certain situation – this is best measured by audience research before and after the campaign has ended.
To drive visitors to an event – another one of the more common PR objective examples, this is a case of counting the number of people who signed up for and attended the event thanks to the PR campaign.
To become the go-to organisation for media comment on an issue – this is certainly a long-term PR objective and can best be measured by the number of inbound media enquiries for comment or opinion on the issue.
To get employees to commit to an initiative – this one is nice and straightforward and just requires a count of the number of employees who signed up to and committed to the initiative.
To support a funding round – what was the round estimated to be worth before the PR campaign?
To generate brand mentions to support a brand’s SEO strategy – taking into account relevant high authority editorial sites, this requires counting the number of brand mentions as a result of the campaign.
To drive independent specialist reviews of a product – measured by the number of specialist reviews in vertical and/or trade media.
To increase PPC click through rate – if more prospects recognise and trust your brand name, more will click on your ads. Measure CTR before and then during a PR campaign.
To increase organic search click through rate – if more prospects recognise and trust your brand name, more will click on your organic search results. Measure branded CTR in Google Search Console before and then during a PR campaign.
To drive and influence general public reviews of a brand – measured by the number of positive reviews on third party portals e.g. Google Business Profile, Trustpilot etc.
To drive positive reviews on Google Business Profile specifically – if focusing more specifically on Google My Business, you’ll want to measure the average star rating and the business’ position in the map deck for a relevant keyword (reviews influence this ranking).
To generate a Wikipedia entry for your founder or company – you need to be ‘notable’ to warrant a Wiki article – a topic is presumed to be suitable for a stand-alone article if it has ‘significant coverage’ that addresses the topic directly and in detail.
To change the search engine autocomplete results – companies and individuals naturally become synonymous with certain topics. Google uses these to suggests searches when you start entering a query. Use PR to change these suggestions – not an overnight fix.
To change the answers to the ‘People also ask’ Q&A deck in Google – replace existing answers with high profile earned coverage engineered to answer the questions returned in the ‘People also ask’ Q&A deck.
To influence internal reviews of a brand – if you want to improve/increase reviews from employees, you’ll want to focus mainly on Glassdoor and employee NPS scores in terms of measurement.
To increase telesales call success and conversion rate – this is most easily done by measuring the number of cold prospects who have heard of the brand before and after the campaign.
To improve analyst perception – most common for companies wanting to move their brand from bottom left of an analyst house’s quadrant to top right, or include ‘repositioning with analysts’ as a separate objective. This can be measured by the number of briefings that take place over a certain period of time and results in future analyst reports.
To raise awareness of an existing brand – this is best measured by an awareness survey among the target audience and by number of branded searches in Search Console measured before and then during a PR campaign.
To attract talent to the brand – best measured by the increase in applications for vacancies or acceptance of vacancies.
To raise awareness of a significant company change – in B2B PR, this is usually an acquisition or merger. This is best measured by media coverage and community engagement.
To mitigate a challenge or crisis – PR campaigns could be used to change perceptions following a crisis over a longer period of time. Success can be measured by considering brand sentiment in earned coverage, social media mentions and influencer engagement.
We’re experts in creating measurable PR campaigns for our clients. If you’re interested in learning more about using PR to achieve your business objectives, get in touch. Or learn more about the fascinating world of PR by taking our best-selling online course: The Ultimate Public Relations Masterclass.
Written by: Luke Budka, director of PR, content and SEO at Definition.