Measuring, tracking and quantifying outcomes is essential for a successful digital PR campaign – if you don’t know what works, what doesn’t and why it’s always a hit-and-miss gamble!

Online PR can be difficult to measure, particularly if your objective is to form positive customer relationships or build brand awareness. How do you quantify whether your audience likes you? How can you gauge the response to a digital PR piece if you hope to bolster your brand reputation and brand image?

The trick is to unpick the actions you’d like your audience to take and analyse how digital PR links into your broader content marketing and SEO strategy – identifying easily traceable metrics that tell you all you need to know.

Seven Ways to Analyse Digital PR Campaign Outcomes

Any promotional quality content you publish should be based on a solid framework of research, market analysis and targets.

Monitoring the response to each digital public relations campaign ensures you can see what response you get – and make tweaks as you go to emphasise those aspects that produce the greatest engagement.

Let’s look at ten ways Brand News determines how an online press release project is going and how we interpret the results in the digital age.

1. Track Web Traffic

Website traffic is the simplest indicator that your digital PR is gaining traction! It is a positive sign if is you are getting more traffic to your site, people are staying longer on site, and engaging in your content.

You can also dive into those analytics to get a better understanding by evaluating the following:

    • Traffic sources
    • Numbers of unique vs repeat visitors
    • Conversion rates

Keeping tabs on those figures allows you to plot statistics, quantify improvements, and capitalise on digital PR campaign work producing the best results. For example, if you have published a guest blog responsible for a 20% uptick in referral traffic from that site, you can repeat that exercise or cross-post the digital content.

2. Monitor Social Media Engagement

As social media has become a pivotal tool in business communications and online marketing, it has also become interlinked with digital PR.

You might leverage your social media marketing presence to:

    • Cross-post online press releases or press features
    • Generate leads with creative content campaigns
    • Promote your brand story or new launches
    • Advertise events or sales periods

Social media is great at measuring digital PR campaign impacts, and you’ll find tools and resources within your business dashboard that provide interesting insights. We suggest tracking engagement metrics by volume and type (e.g. likes, shares and mentions), reshares or reposts, the hashtags used and seeing how those numbers change over time.

3. Watch for More Sales

Although much of online PR is about complementing and reinforcing sales messages, the result of a great PR work is that it trickles down into revenues and profits.

If you were to launch a digital PR campaign with a coupon, discount code or exclusive offer, you could easily see how many viewers have taken up the offer and read to the end of your online content to find the code. You don’t necessarily need to use this option, by keeping an eye on profits and revenues, you can demonstrate any clear trends or changes by comparing like-for-like figures between periods.

It is also useful to track sales for specific products or ranges featured predominantly in your online PR. Where overall sales are stable, but sales of a particular item have spiked, it may indicate an excellent response.

Likewise, if you see no difference, you may need to go back to the drawing board if your campaigns have yet to have any notable impact.

How to Measure the Impact of Online PR on Your Bottom Line

4. Assess Newsletter Signups and Engagement

Most companies use various communication methods to reach their customers. An excellent online PR campaign should result in higher email sign-ups and greater engagement for each online publication you release.

The idea is that every campaign highlights a pathway that ends up on a landing page, so if your goal is to boost your contact list, you should hope to see sign-ups growing.

As online PR enhances your brand awareness and reputation, you might also expect to see improvements in engagement, where readers are more likely to respond to an email from a company they recognise, like and trust.

5. Evaluate Your Search-Readiness

Like it or loathe it, SEO is integral to all digital business promotions and marketing! Online PR done correctly should incorporate SEO elements to ensure the content appears as high in search rankings as possible.

High quality backlinks, good information architecture, and relevant target keywords all help augment your content visibility.

Backlinks alone don’t always drive you immediately higher up the search engines rankings. Still, you can spend a little time assessing how your online PR content performs on search and making adjustments where necessary. You might monitor your ranking position, the number of referral links, click-throughs from rich snippets or searches for your business name or product following a public relations release.

6. Ask for Press Feedback

Some news outlets or online media publications may provide feedback to help you assess how your digital PR campaigns, featured news stories, or guest posts have performed – if not, it doesn’t hurt to ask!

Whether you’re sending cold press releases and pitches or securing feature space for high quality articles, your media contacts can provide important information about the response achieved.

Alternatively, you can monitor your own digital PR strategy to see how well it is working – for example:

    • How many editors, journalists or trade writers did you contact?
    • How many responses or features did you achieve?
    • Can they tell you why they rejected a pitch?
    • Did you accomplish any press coverage – if so, where, and for how long?
    • What were the outcomes of any coverage you did secure?

Keeping tabs on your approach and the results is a useful way to see whether you need to make adjustments for next time.

7. Reach Out to New Leads

While we’re talking about quantifiable ways to measure how your online PR campaigns perform, it’s important not to lose sight of the value of qualitative data.

Speaking to new leads, be they potential customers, partners, or clients, is a great way to build on the impact of your digital PR endeavours, cement that positive perception, and ask how they found you!

You’ve probably had emails before asking you to complete a quick survey or tick a box saying where you learned about a brand or how you found their website. That is because the company wants to know which elements of their digital PR provide results, whether a Google search, an ad in print publications, a feature in a digital newspaper or a social media post by an influencer.

Businesses use this feedback to assess which digital PR campaigns or parts of a campaign are working the hardest to drive new interest.

Using Online PR Metrics to Achieve Better Outcomes

Of course, it is what you do with the information once you’ve studied all these measurements that matters most. The goal is to determine whether your digital PR reaches the right target audiences and helps you get closer to your goals.

If so, you’re on the right path, and if not, how do you incorporate your knowledge to improve the results you get from your next digital PR campaign or piece of content? Online PR can be a powerful way to improve sales, increase brand awareness, establish a great reputation and drive engagement, but even the best digital PR campaign may need an adjustment from time to time.

And, when your outcomes blow your targets out of the water, they are a reliable way to validate your achievements and quantify how well your digital PR projects have performed.