It’s always been a challenge to gauge the impact of PR.
If you really want to know if your PR programs are working, dust off your copy of WebTrends – and check a few key items:
- Referring URLs. Referring URLs show how people found you. When looking at referring URLs you want to get a feel for how people find you. First look for your PR targets, if you placed an article in Business Week Online, check to see if it shows up in the referrals. Compare it to other publications after a big announcement. We regularly see obscure blogs that we had never heard of driving more traffic than big-city newspaper sites. The newspaper might get more pure traffic, but the blog readers are more motivated and better targeted. By identifying these blogs you can cultivate the realtionship and help provide them with accurate information.Look for social networks, forums and communities. if you see a lot of referrals from social networks, consider joining the conversation on these networks.
- Search Traffic. How much does search play a role in your traffic? Microsoft Live Search and Google both offer tools that let you compare press coverage against search volume. Check the dates of your last press release. If you see that search traffic increases around an announcement, consider working with your search engine marketing expert to create a search advertising campaign tied to your news.
- Geograghy. Does International matter, should you extend your PR globally? Check your geographic data and see where your visitors come from.
- Conversions. Set up conversion targets and measure conversion rates from PR. Conversions are the actions you want a user to take when they visit your property. Conversion goals can be anything from an online purchase or a download of a brochure, to something as simple as clicking to a second page. You can measure the value of your traffic generated by PR against the value of traffic generated by online advertising, direct email or other campaigns by comparing conversion rates for each campaign.