Why content is just as important as coverage in measuring PR success?

When we talk about PR sometimes it is too easy to simply think about the numbers and where a business is featured. We list the places such as local newspapers, BBC Radio or even specialist trade.

You look at whether the titles are in your target area and judge success as having gained media coverage or not.

However, when it comes to measuring success with PR it is about much more than just the number of pieces of coverage received. Analysing the content of any article will unveil a further dimension and help you to determine how successful a campaign has been in meeting your goals.

One of the first things I do as a journalist is see how much of the story a journalist has changed from the original press release or briefing. Very rarely is a press release printed as it was written, editorial amends are inevitable, but when you pitched the story did the journalist buy in to that story or was your message altered? When you get only minor amends or cuts in copy it is a good indication of how well a journalist has understood your story and that the press release or pitch was written in the right style for the publication.

Next time your business gets a piece of coverage take the time to analyse the actual result.

Look for;

Key messaging

Does the story, whether in print or broadcast, cover all the main elements you wanted to achieve? If the aim was to let people know your business was launching a new product, does it do that? Simply getting your business named isn’t enough the piece should highlight what you set out to achieve.

Calls to action

Does it tell people what you want them to do with that information? If you are looking to recruit more engineers and are looking for people to apply for a new role, does it let people know how to do that? Will your target audience know what you want them to do with the information you have given them?

Tonality

Read through the article word for word or listen to that interview again, does the story come across positively? What is the general feel of the story, is it positive, neutral or negative towards your business? One of the strongest indications is in the headline. Does the headline leave a positive image? What kind of wording is used?

Branding

Is your business brand clear? When you look at the story is your business obvious? If you have an image alongside the piece would it be clear that the people in it or the location is your business? Is your logo on show? In the wording is your name and brand correctly referred to and is it clear what you do as a business?

Share of voice

Share of voice is about looking at how much coverage you have in the media compared to your competitors. If you are regularly seeing a competitor in the media you can shift the dynamic and create more opportunities to be in front of your target audience by creating a stronger share of voice. Next time you get coverage have a look to see if your coverage is larger or smaller than that of a competitor, did you get a larger share within the media or do you need to position yourself better in the market.

Backlinks for SEO

This is something that isn’t always possible as some media have strict guidelines on promoting businesses. However, where possible is there a back link to your website? Is there a contact number or address for your business?

Back links within media are one of the strongest tools in boosting your website SEO and ultimately help your customers to find your business in searches.

Media coverage should always be designed to serve a purpose so whether that is boosting your brand awareness, improving your SEO, creating opportunities for greater engagement with your key market or selling more products make sure that every piece of coverage counts. Review your successes and make sure that the coverage reflects your goals. If your message keeps getting changed or misunderstood then analyse why, are you targeting the wrong publication, pitching the story wrong or not defining it correctly?

If you would like to find out more about how to make sure your media coverage is working for you then contact Cheryl at Creative Word PR. Cheryl Morris is a journalist who runs award-winning copywriting and PR service Creative Word PR in the Midlands. A passionate advocate for small businesses, she specialises in supporting small businesses to find their voice whether they are starting out or scaling up. If you have a story to tell find out more at www.creativewordpr.co.uk

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