How to Measure the ROI of Public Relations

Public relations is often seen as one of the most affordable marketing tactics a business can utilize.

Public relations is often seen as one of the most affordable marketing tactics a business can utilize. Although PR is inexpensive upfront, it can be hard to determine how it is impacting your bottom line.

While ROI can be a complicated number to nail down exactly, the amount of digital data that we have at our fingertips allows us to tell a deeper story about the impact of earned media on brand sentiment and share of voice. This starts by ensuring the public relations team has full access to its clients’ Google Analytics accounts.

Referral Traffic

With insights into the referral traffic to a client’s website, the public relations team can drill down even deeper into who the target market is, what they’re interested in, how they’re being driven to the website and what they do when they get there.

For instance, you can see that the big story you landed in the local newspaper was a big traffic driver to the site and resulted in 35 conversions, which is worth $17,500 to the client. Great news! But did you know that those who converted the most from that outlet are shopaholics and TV lovers? Or that of the shopaholics, those that brought the most revenue to the brand are between 35 and 54? Providing data like this to your clients not only helps them improve their internal efforts but also gives you a better idea on how and where to reach the ideal audience when securing client coverage.

Measuring Engagement

Engagement analytics is another important layer of data to include in reporting, and can most easily be gleaned from clients’ various social media platforms. The major networks that your client might be on, such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube, have robust analytics that goes beyond demographics to determine the most shared article, most engaging content and real-time comments and questions from the social audience. By monitoring social postings and guiding community management, the brand continues to earn new customers and positive word-of-mouth response through natural one-to-one brand interactions.

Earned Media Content

A final way to showcase ROI from public relations efforts is through the curation of earned content when allowed by the publisher. From targeted social media ads or inclusion in a nurture email campaign to leveraging the content in paid native advertising, showcasing to your client that you can save them time and money on content creation demonstrates, even more, the value in the services your agency provides.

While impressions, reach, media relationships, crisis communications and overall share of voice are always important aspects of public relations efforts to report on, taking it an extra mile through data insights provides the client an even deeper ROI. Whenever taking on a new client, or revisiting a strategy for a current client, ensure that the goals of your efforts are clearly defined and request access to their analytics platforms to contribute even more to your clients’ marketing efforts.