A/B Testing for PR (Yep. That’s a thing.)

July 7, 2015 AJ Bruno: Founder, President

A/B Testing for PR

Modern marketing automation and content management systems make it drop dead easy for marketers to conduct A/B tests on landing pages, emails and paid advertisements. By comparing the success of different versions of each asset, marketers can hone in on exactly which elements make their content more or less effective. Do blue buttons convert better than orange ones? Does a product focused headline do better than a problem focused one? Should the CTA be “Request a Demo” or “Schedule a Call?” Marketers can easily answer all of these questions with A/B testing.

But what about PR? Is there a way to apply the principle of A/B testing in the practice of PR? Absolutely. Here are a few examples:


A/B testing is an excellent way to help make sure that you are crafting the most effective pitches possible. Do clear, direct subject lines result in more interest than ones designed to build curiosity? Should your pitch emails include images? Is there a time of day or day of week that seems to work better? Do follow up calls matter? By segmenting your media contacts and trying out one approach vs. another, you can begin to discover what works the best for your target journalists and brand.


There are probably a number of ways to tell your brand’s story and a variety of messages you could share with the market. Earned media is a great way to find out what resonates most with your audience. Each interview is an opportunity to try something slightly different to see if you can improve your response. The key here, however, is measurement. If you can’t tie a particular earned media mention to an outcome, then you can’t determine which messages are the most impactful.

Asset Formats

Most information can be presented in any one of a number of formats. Take a customer success story, for example. It could be turned into a press release, a one page story on the web, an in-depth case study or a video. Creating a few in multiple formats can help you discover which type of content your audience is more likely to read, share and engage with.

PR professionals are not immune to today’s preference for data-driven decisions. A/B testing, along with good PR measurement, helps take the guesswork out of the practice of public relations.

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