3 Ways to Track the Value of PR from Print Press Coverage

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The familiar story.

So you pick up your favourite magazine, rip open the cover and there is your product in all of its glory, looking beautiful. Then you eagerly sit back and wait for the phone to ring, for the orders to drop in your inbox and after all that, it turns out you only make a handful of sales. “GAH” I hear you exclaim as you chuck the magazine in the bin. But hold on a minute – the impact could be much greater than you think.

Knowing what success looks like…

You may think that because it’s printed press coverage you can’t measure it. Measuring the value of PR has been the subject of many an argument & headache for years. But, with a few simple tricks on Google Analytics, you can start to work out what works best for you and make it a more profitable part of the marketing mix for your company.

We’ve identified the top 3 tips to measuring what impact print PR is having on your business.

1. Product Sales

Obvious but worth repeating. Monitor sales of specific products that get mentioned in the press to see if they experience a boost. Any sales uplift may be seen over a few days or weeks particularly in publications published monthly. If you also sell products via 3rd party sites like Etsy, check sales there too.

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2. Brand Searches

Take a look at the number of brand searches coming via organic and pay-per-click traffic since you’ve started getting coverage. This indicates that people have started hearing about your site and are more likely to type you company name into Google. Brand searches are awesome as, (unless you have a generic company name like “furniture store / gift shop”), you are going to see yourself at the lofty top of Google’s ranking. This means that if someone is searching for you after they’ve heard about you in the press, then you’ll be spotted straight away.

(BTW – If you do have a generic name then you can always add a Google ad campaign for your brand name to maximise the value of PR coverage and activity.)

You can also annotate your press coverage on Google Analytics to see if there’s a correlation. What you may see is a cumulative build up of brand searches over time through exposure in the press, rather than one big boost from one article.

To find your brand searches

Login to Google Analytics / Acquisitions / All Traffic / Source Medium and change the Primary Dimension to ‘Keyword’.

3. Direct-to-site

This is a key indicator that you are doing well at printed PR and the one I recommend people pay most attention to. If your direct-to-site visits go up (that is people typing your URL directly into Google), then you can be sure that people are seeing your website somewhere. And if you are featuring in the press regularly, you can be pretty sure it has had an impact.

With all of this, if you are carrying out lots of activities it’s going to be hard to strip out cause and effect but it’s worth looking at anyway to see if you can spot some general trends. This applies to any marketing / PR activity.

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Focus on continuous coverage, not just the one-hit wonders.

PR is, like a lot of things, something you have to stick at. The more coverage you gain the greater the collective impact. If someone reads about you in 1 magazine a year it’s not going to have the same impact as reading about you 10 times a month across various channels .  With repeated brand exposure, it means that when the person needs a gift / sofa / cushion (or whichever lovely product you sell) then they will eventually think of your site or brand first.  The more expensive the item, the more important it is that your brand is frequently seen as these items aren’t (often) impulse buys &bought based on a decision built over many months.

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