Public relations have changed and traditional advertisers broke into a cold sweat when digital marketing KPIs were presented to a wider audience. The times when you could put a Forbes interview as one of your top KPIs are long gone. Like Starbucks customers, companies are ticking the boxes: growth rate up, bounce rate down, yes please.
During a Content Breakfast webinar, Cameron Sharpe, Insight Director of Progressive Content, speak about Phillips who were very heavy on KPIs with 30 of those listed on a contract. Entrepreneurs become very aware of marketing KPIs, and you should too if you want your startup to be visible and make the most of public relations.
Traditionally, public relations professionals focused primarily on brand image creation and management through press offices. Simply put, a Tier 1 media article was an end goal. However, digital PR professionals strive to get not just a post, but also high-quality backlinks, social media mentions, and traffic. Public relations, content marketing, social media and search are now more intertwined than ever, and they are all here to finally measure the value of public relations in terms of achieving business goals.
So if you are a CEO who wants to hire a good PR or just better understand what’s going on in your PR department, here are three digital PR KPIs you should know about.
1. Domain authority and backlinks
Considered as different metrics, I would say that they don’t really make sense without each other and seem very basic to provide tangible benefits. So let’s make it a metric.
First, you will need to know how beg for a backlink, this is the hardest part here. Once you discover this, you will get a good amount of backlinks from the media and influencers, which will increase your GIVES. In simple words, it will appear higher on the search results page. The biggest contributors to increasing a DA rating are media with millions of visitors, which isn’t really a secret. But remember, not all backlinks are the same. The better (read, appropriate for your business and product) websites reference your website, the better your ranking will be. It’s that easy.
How to track: Moz good for checking domain authority KPIs. Aim for a DA score above 40 to really improve your search rankings. BuzzSumo will help you with backlink authority.
Cases to look at: this Bell won The Drum Search Awards, Best Use of Public Relations; this one got over 300 backlinks.
2. Search for brand traffic plus lead generation
Again, these are 2 different metrics that will work perfectly together. Of course, any traffic helps increase your chances of being found by a solid lead and generating a lead, but it’s important to find out how many people are specifically looking for your brand, therefore who the target audience will be. This would be a very indicative metric to see if your campaign was targeting the right (niche) audience. So-called brand searches show that people are actively searching for your business. An increase in brand searches clearly indicates that your digital PR efforts are creating public awareness of your organization and causing consumers to specifically search for you. The growth in the lead generation rate shows that those people found what they were looking for!
How to track: using Google Analytics and going to Acquisitions → Search Console → Queries. Be sure to use the advanced search feature as it allows you to post your brand’s official title as well as variations. You can track the progress of your lead generation with a plugin like MonsterInsights, which can also display metrics like total revenue, conversion rate, and top referral sources.
Cases to look at: this Bell won The Drum Search awards, the best B2B campaign leveraged to build website authority and increase B2B lead generation.
3. ROI or, more specifically, ROPRS (return on investment in public relations)
This metric is a true crush on all CMOs and CEOs when it comes to public relations and budgets. Once you can include this KPI in a contract, rest assured that your organic relationships with a customer have improved significantly. However, the monetary proof that your PR efforts will produce the result can be a difficult KPI to track, especially for traditional PR efforts. So here we talk only about those PR campaigns that include not only CEO interviews, but also paid Facebook ads, landing pages, etc.
How to track: ROI typically shows whether the costs of your acquisition efforts are worth it by dividing the revenue generated by these costs (Net Profit / Total Cost).
Cases to look at: this Bell boosted revenue by 50% through a highly successful public relations campaign, and East – delivered 53: 1 ROI through SEO technology, content and public relations.