Measuring performance isn’t new — marketers have been at it for years. In comparison, PR pros have had a tough time proving the value public relations drives for the business. No longer.
There is actionable data behind every article, journalist, and publication. At TrendKite, we organize metrics that matter into a framework we call the Communicator’s Funnel. Today, we’re breaking down the top of the funnel to measure PR’s brand impact.
Brand Impact isn’t just theoretical. Evidence of how your brand is perceived — in the marketplace, in the minds of potential customers, and by the general public — can be measured concretely. How? We’ve broken it down into 3 categories: awareness, mindshare, and reputation.
Now, let’s look at metrics for each.
Before you can do anything with a brand, you have to know how aware the market is. Has your target market heard of you? If you aren’t quantifying awareness, you need to start. Counting mentions is a proxy for awareness, capturing the strength of your brand’s signal in the marketplace. But you must go further to assess the value of these mentions to the business.
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Not all mentions are created equal. Check and score mentions by relevance, sentiment, and influence to get the full picture. For relevance, check whether the publication’s readership hits your target demographic, geography, or industry. For sentiment, check whether a mention is positive, negative, or neutral. Finally, is the mention appearing in articles that are widely read or shared?
Establish a baseline by tracking and scoring mentions, now. In three to six months, you’ll have concrete numbers that show PR pushing the needle in the right direction. Or not. Don’t be intimidated by less than stellar numbers. To create real and repeatable success, you have to know where you’re starting from and where you’re headed.
What is your brand’s significance in the market? Are you a dominant brand or an underdog challenger? How is your status changing over time? One way to quantify this is to get more specific about tracking media mentions — both yours and your competitors.
Assess changes in mindshare by tracking the delta between mentions, where your brand is cited in an article about a broader topic, and featured mentions — articles about your brand or product, specifically.
To track share of voice, compare your mentions and featured mentions versus those of your competitors. Benchmark against companies in your industry, or industries you wish to emulate. Look at this over time, not just as a snapshot. Trendlines can show if your brand is gaining or losing, and the impact of specific programs you run.
For a clear picture of mindshare, record every mention during a given time period. Tag each mention by topic or theme. Tracking mentions by topic will help you spot coverage patterns, so you can adjust your strategy to take advantage of trends.
Also, use this in your competitive analysis. Why did a competitor get that huge bump in mindshare last week? If you know, you can then adjust your week to combat (or drown) their share of voice.
This is a measure of whether your earned media coverage is resonating with target audiences. If you are sending a strong signal and getting lots of coverage, but the sentiment is poor or people aren’t talking about your message, you’re not achieving your goals.
Measure social sharing, sentiment, and key message pull-through in earned media. If sharing is low and sentiment or message is off-track, the brand reputation needs attention.
Social sharing is a good proxy for audience engagement. Many pubs include social share icons on every article, revealing the number of shares across each platform. It’s time consuming if you have to gather this information by hand, but it’s important to record these numbers. Go to each article you’re tracking and include the number shares from each social network in your reports.
Of course, not all shares are positive or on topic. You’ll want to look at the sentiment and key message pull-through of social sharing as well. These three factors of social sharing, the quantity, sentiment, and message pull-through give you a data-driven take on reputation.
The best part is watching reputation over time. For example, compare brand event coverage — like a launch or crises — against total brand coverage to see one event’s impact on reputation. Benchmark against historical brand events or those of other companies to describe the success of an event, the “seriousness” of a crisis — or help determine if you have a crisis at all.
TIPS & TRICKS
Don’t Have TrendKite, Yet?
TrendKite helps PR pros track all these metrics and more in easy-to-use, customizable dashboards. But, if you don’t have TrendKite, you can still gather critical data to prove PR value. It just takes time and effort.
AWARENESS: Google Alerts can help you find all mentions. It’s free and relatively easy to use.
MINDSHARE: Google News can help you track relevant media mentions. You will have to do some manual filtering to separate quality mentions from the noise.
REPUTATION: Mentioned in an article that doesn’t reveal sharing data? A site like ShareTally can help you determine the shares of any article.
Metrics that matter allow PR pros to advise business leaders on brand perceptions, trends, and attitudes in a language they understand — business value. It’s all about guessing less, and knowing more.
Whether we’re talking brand impact, digital impact, or bottom-line impact, the right metrics empower you to prove PR value across the entire sales funnel. We’ll look at metrics that matter in reporting PR’s digital impact in our next post.
[#2 in the series --> read the previous post: Using PR Metrics that Matter]
About the Author
Passionate about public relations and empowering practitioners, Lacey Miller found her dream job at TrendKite, where she carries the crown of 'word nerd'. With a background in public relations and technology, she's a great fit with her desire to innovate the industry! You can find her most days writing for PR Forward, PRSA, and other marketing trade publications.Follow on Twitter More Content by Lacey Miller