Public relations can be an extremely effective form of marketing, but you can’t prove it unless you measure your results.

In our last tip sheet we explored how advertising value equivalency (AVE) is different from return on investment (ROI). One of the tips mentioned you should establish general and specific metrics for ROI so you can accurately track and showcase how your public relations efforts are contributing to the overall company marketing goals.  Here are the top three metrics to track:

1. Conversion rate.

How many sales leads are a result of your efforts with influencer or press outreach?

Speak with your sales and marketing leaders about what they consider a conversion. It could be a digital form fill—when a prospective client enters their contact details on a landing page—or when that form submission translates to a sales proposal being sent. This will help you gain insights into the campaign’s goals and align PR strategy with the sales’ activities so you are working towards a common bottom line.

2. Cost per conversion.

Once you track how many leads you generate, compare that to how much it costs to generate them.

Think about the cost of sending a press release or the value of product you shared with influencers. Divide that by the number of conversions completed and you have your cost per conversion. This is a mid-campaign metric that helps determine if your tactics are worth the investment. In press releases, experiment with where you include the campaign’s link and keep track of where you had the most success (i.e. clicks). With influencer campaigns, such as paid product reviews, this will help you determine where to reinvest and which campaigns to end or adjust.

3. Lead-to-Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) percentage:

The lead-to-MQL percentage is a measure of marketing’s effectiveness at converting leads beyond the contact acquisition lead qualification.

When you track this by publication source, it lets you know the value of audience found from that news source. Measured overtime, you may find a smaller trade publication has a more qualified audience than a large national daily. In this case, you can build relationships with these publications and reach audiences of higher value to the business. This data can also be funneled back to your marketing department, helping them direct any paid advertising they intend to do in industry relevant publications.

Ultimately, these metrics help colour the details of your PR strategy with business insights. By indicating the expected business impact from a specific PR campaign element, you can get buy-in faster and achieve more tangible sales results.

About James Rubec

James Rubec is a data geek, a former public relations lead and journalist with a love of content and advocacy. Ask him anything @JamesRRubec and be sure to follow @Cision_Canada

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