Measuring the Value of PR (Part I)

How many national media placements did your team secure for us this quarter? There was a time when PR pros could satisfy their clients with a simple answer, such as “five TV segments, three magazines and two online articles.” No more.

What Has Changed?

Without a clear connection between your PR efforts and either franchise development, customer sales or consumer engagement, you won’t have hard data to refer to when you’re making those critical marketing budget decisions. Modern PR has evolved along many of the same lines as advertising and marketing, meaning digital channels and tools have made it a lot easier to effectively track and measure the impact of your efforts.

Think about it: Social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest have become irreplaceable resources for franchise brands as they work to connect with both consumers and potential franchisees. At the same time, almost all publications have a digital version. Meanwhile, a plethora of media, including video, blogs, infographics and visual content, is published online through various channels, helping franchise brands reach a huge number of potential consumers and investors.

These days, in addition to counting the number of placements, you should be looking at the impact those placements are having on your business objectives to effectively measure the true value of your PR efforts.

Metrics for PR Effectiveness

Depending on your objectives, there are numerous ways to measure whether a PR program is working. For the purposes of this post, let’s look at franchise sales as the objective for a hypthetical PR campaign. Here are a few metrics you would use:

  • Visits or traffic to your franchise opportunity website
    With online hits, there should be significant growth in the number of people visiting your franchise sales website. It’s important to measure traffic in the days and week following the hit. This includes shares in the coming weeks because these will impact traffic, so look beyond the initial day when the hit occurs.
  • Downloads of content, including eBooks and white papers, from your franchise opportunity site
    Your PR team can pitch blogs and other online media outlets that target your prospects. If they secure a hit that includes a reference – by means of a link – to the e-book or white paper, that will drive leads to a dedicated landing page and could directly correlate to downloads—and ultimately franchise leads or sales.
  • Number of high-quality, sales-ready leads
    When you’re running a strategic PR campaign for franchise sales, the goal is to target your ideal franchisee candidate. For example, if you are targeting women between the ages of 40 – 55 with a certain income level, then, ideally, a media placement with the right messaging in a magazine like “More” should bring you a candidate that fits your profile.

What’s the Next Step?

How do you go from realizing that you need to develop a plan to track PR performance to putting a system in place? The first step is recognizing that the resources are already there – both freestanding analytics platforms like Google Analytics, as well as tools that are built into the social networks you leverage to carry out your PR strategy. Then, you need to understand which ones will best serve your purposes.

In the next post in this series, we’ll delve into the role social analytics plays in measuring PR’s value.

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