3 Things To Know About PR Attribution

3 Things To Know About PR Attribution

Leslie Stefanik, Vice President, Marketing, PublicRelay

The PR profession is moving away from impressions, reach, and AVE metrics because they cannot be used to answer how PR is affecting business outcomes. They are also single data points that don’t illustrate the value of your work. At a recent PR conference, one of the speakers asked, “Have you ever wondered why there isn’t a ‘PR Equivalency’ metric?” Excellent point.

Attributing how your Communications work is impacting the business, requires a comprehensive measurement program. Not a “magic bullet” metric that cannot be defended. Your PR measurement program should enable you to correlate your earned media analysis data with other data points from the business – website traffic, revenue, reputation, donations, membership, hiring efforts, etc.

PR Attribution technologies may provide media tracking options beyond link tracking – tracking visitors from earned media articles back to your website. There are three important questions to ask any vendor, especially if you are trying to attribute revenue:

1. Are my attributed articles relevant?

Repeated studies show that even in news stories with rich keyword matches, less than 25% are actually relevant to the brand.

  • For example, a burglary at the jeweler next to the Starbucks does NOT mean that the visit to the Starbucks web site had anything to do with that news story
  • For example, the redevelopment of a local office building that is next door to the local office of McKinsey & Company is not a relevant McKinsey news story.

2. Will the articles be toned for my brand, product, or message?

If you do not take into consideration the tone on these additional data points, you may end up attributing sales or website hits to articles that are negative and clearly not driving sales.

3. Can I understand exactly how my results are calculated?

If anyone challenges your results or wants to dive deeper into your numbers, can you defend the “credit” you’re taking? Be wary of the “black box” calculations masquerading as PR Attribution.

Your PR Attribution efforts should yield reliable and defensible analysis that can hold up to scrutiny in the C-Suite and the Board Room.


About the Author: Having worked on both the agency and industry sides of marketing and communications, Leslie brings extensive corporate communications, branding and demand generation practice and understanding to the team at PublicRelay. Formerly the VP of Digital Marketing for Optymyze, Leslie holds a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Marketing from Youngstown State University.

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1 Comment

  1. Ronald N. Levy on May 12, 2019 at 9:40 am

    Your PR power to generate action–attributable to your PR–is demonstrated with impact if you bring in a massive number of requests for more information from people who matter importantly.

    Management may already know what constitutes a good CPI (Cost Per Inquiry) based on advertising costs and results, and it’s impressive if PR gets twice as good a CPI. With PR skill you may be ale to deliver a number over ten times as good.

    You can get people to write in for a booklet, a “decision guide,” or a reprint of an article. For a hospital, you can bring in requests for a screening or for examinations of patients with symptoms your PR cautions about.

    If you are doing lobbying support, your PR can sometimes generate tons of letters to legislators–mail an email–from their constituents. You don’t even have to suggest writing because, if your PR shows how millions of people may gain or lose depending on what congress does, potential beneficiaries will write!

    Avoid the blunder of showing annoyance if management wants evidence that PR is producing something beyond expenses. Fortunately, when management wants evidence of your PR power to generate action, what you have done may have a delightful effect on what you get for doing it.

    Blessed are the heavy hitters among communications pros for upon them may be lavished many benefits.