December 29, 2020 Last updated December 29th, 2020 1,205 Reads share

5 Ways to Measure PR Success (and Why It Matters to Your Business)

Image Credit: DepositPhotos

I have been on a mission of sorts to dispel the misconceptions about public relations or PR and what it means for businesses. One of the biggest and most persistent ones is that PR has no attributable measurements to business success. Read no way to measure if your spend is equating to actual revenue.

This is categorically incorrect and unfortunately perpetuated by a very traditional industry that is the current public relations industry.

Since I started my business, it has been a struggle having to educate business owners who do not trust PR. So, as part of my (long) journey, I have decided to share five ways to measure success when it comes to PR and how it applies to your business.

PR Generates Imbound Leads

If you are a B2B business, chances are in-bound leads are the most profitable way you acquire business because it has the shortest sales cycle. PR is probably the most cost-effective way to generate inbound leads, and here’s why.

If done correctly, great news stories, interviews, or product reviews help increase awareness, and more often than not, the coverage for your product or business is on a news website rather than in print or on TV. This leads to more people being able to search for or click-through to your website directly.

What is important to note here are two things:

  • Have a proper lead capture form and optimized website if it suits your type of business. Otherwise, you’ll get significant traffic that does not convert into leads
  • The quality of the news story matters as much as the quality of the publication. A mention of your brand or product may not have a significant result for your business compared to a more in-depth piece that captures the reader’s attention and gives them a real reason to use your product or service.

Measure inbound lead generation during an active PR campaign to judge the value of each dollar that you spend because you should know the cost of acquisition of a lead for your business.

PR Can Reduce the Cost of Acquisition

Social media ads versus PR

Are you running Facebook, LinkedIn, or search ads? Probably, because who isn’t doing that in today’s digital world?

Well, our research has shown a fascinating trend across a small but significant research project that we ran. We measured five startups’ Facebook ad campaigns (including our own) before starting PR and during an active PR campaign. What we saw was, on average, a 30% reduction in the cost of acquisition during that period.

There are caveats here, so don’t go investing all your dollars just yet. The research was limited and only covered two months prior and two months during the PR campaign. The budgets were small as well, with the most extensive campaign average a US$2,000 spend per month. However, it was promising and has continued to be the case for us, at least, as we continued our internal research for SYNC.

One of the main reasons behind a lower cost of acquisition is consumer familiarity with the product. If they know your brand, there is a higher chance they will click-through and convert. It also has a knock-on effect, as it offers you the opportunity of multiple touchpoints, so consumers are exposed to your brand on different platforms and mediums, creating a higher chance of brand recognition.

PR is the Best (and Most Honest) Way to Improve Your SEO

If you manage content platforms as we do, you know that link builders and “SEO content writers” approach you a hundred times a day looking to contribute “excellent quality SEO-friendly content in exchange for a backlink.” This is both irritating and has next to no incremental benefit for brands that the exposure to a new audience that can get.

There is a reason I spend hours on every article to do research, infuse some character and flavor into my content, because I know if just one potential customer reads my work, they’ll get in touch with us.

But coming back to SEO – you can use your domain authority as a measure of success for your PR. Do it the right way, because it increases the chances of you being covered in better news platforms and as mentioned, it helps improve brand awareness amongst your customers.

Look at Web Traffic as an Indicator of Success

Measure website traffic through PR

Want to generate thousands of visitors and do not have the time nor resources to build up your SEO, well PR might be the best bet for you.

One article in a nationally read news platform can reach millions of people. If a small percentage of people click on your website or search for your business, it can potentially generate thousands of new visitors. This is great for businesses with affiliate links, e-commerce stores or blogs that count on web traffic for their revenue.

If you are able to create a sustainable level of PR for your business over a long period of time, it can help generate a significant portion of your website traffic at the fraction of the cost of paid search. We do PR work for a travel community that has helped double their website traffic within just a couple of months.

Use a Promo Code to Track Your Returns

If you run a digital business, actually track how well your PR is doing by offering promos and discounts using PR to disseminate it to your potential customers. This is one of the most quantitative methods to track success for your business and gives you a clear indication of what your returns are for every dollar that you spend.

You can even do direct comparisons to your digital marketing campaigns to measure the cost of acquisition, the number of sales generated and the actual dollar value generated. It is mostly applicable to consumer businesses, but even B2B businesses can offer discounts as a way to measure the revenue generated through their PR.


My team and I have written extensively on how to actually generate PR for yourselves if you do not have the budget to hire a team or agency to do it for you. My suggestion is to actually try it for yourself and get some PR going for your business. Whether it is an awesome platform like this or a blog relevant to your industry – give it a try and measure the results.

DepositPhotos – public relations

Terng Shing Chen

Terng Shing Chen

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