Your latest press release has just gone out over the newswire. It included newsworthy content, an engaging image, link to your website, and a call-to-action. It’s a great piece of content一but how will you measure whether the release was a success?
Measuring the performance of a press release depends on your particular goals. Of course, pickup by the media is the ultimate goal but you’ll likely have other metrics as well to support your effort. Maybe it's audience reach. Or engagement? Sales? Your goals will determine the specific metrics (aka KPIs) to use in your press release evaluation.
Here are several ways to measure the performance of your press release.
How to Measure Pickups or Earned Media
A pickup occurs when a journalist sees your press release and creates a separate piece of content, such as an article or post. This is an example of earned media and translates into free press coverage一perhaps the most valuable metric related to press release distribution. Earned media can lead to increased brand awareness, quality leads, and even sales.
A targeted pickup is especially valuable because it’s a pickup in a target market, such as the biotech trade press, or by a journalist with a specific audience, such as a Spanish-speaking demographic you’re trying to engage.
How to Measure Reach
Reach, or the scope of editorial dissemination, is also a primary goal of press release distribution. It can be measured in several ways, but here are a few of the most common:
- Online postings or syndication. This refers to the number of sites and search engines that republish your press release word-for-word.
- Total traffic. This refers to the total combined average monthly traffic of all of the online posting sites.
- Potential visibility. This is the total possible views from all online postings, trade distribution, and earned media.
What About Social Media Reach?
Many newswires include the option to post your press release on a brand social media account simultaneously with the media distribution or from the wire service website after distribution. The typical metrics to watch here are shares and engagement.
How to Measure Engagement or Interactions
Engagement or interactions covers any action a consumer takes with your content. This can include:
- Shares. This is the number of times your press release was shared across social media or in an email. Other social media engagement metrics include the number of likes, comments, or additional followers resulting from the press release.
- Embeds. This is the number of times your press release is embedded on a third-party website.
- Clicks or downloads. This measures how many times people clicked on a link in your press release, for example, or downloaded an attachment, such as a PDF.
How to Measure Website Traffic
Referral traffic to your website resulting from your press release is also a recognized measure of success, especially if your campaign includes goals such as increasing leads or sales. Metrics that measure referral traffic include:
- Referrals from the newswire. This is web traffic that originated from your press release posting on the newswire website.
- Referrals from social media or search engines. Traffic can also originate from your press release post on social media or search pages.
- Backlinks. While backlinks are not strictly a measure of website traffic, they are a valuable metric of authority and trust. If you’re able to increase the number of backlinks leading to your website from your press release posting, that’s a win worth measuring.
To identify where website traffic originates, use unique URL extensions built with a URL builder such as this free one from Google.
How to Measure Sales & Leads
For online retailers, if sales are the goal, you can measure it with the number or dollar amount of online sales originating from a website link in your press release一perhaps leading directly to your product or services pages.
For B2B businesses with longer sales cycles, new leads would be a relevant KPI. Brick and mortar retailers could also measure online leads (where applicable) and in-store increases in foot traffic or sales.
Calculating Return On Investment (ROI)
ROI, or return on investment, is the value captured per unit of cost for a given tactic, strategy, or campaign in public relations and marketing. It’s a way to compare the efficiency of one action versus another.
For example, if it cost $500 to create and distribute a press release and a total of $75 of marginal sales were attributed to that release, the ROI would be $75/$500, or 15%. In another example, if the press release received 100 social media shares for $500, the ROI would be 100 shares/$500, or 20%.
ROI is a versatile metric because you can measure any of the KPIs listed here and compare one ROI versus another. You can identify which actions deliver the most progress toward your goals and refine your approach as needed.
Work With a Newswire That Provides Actionable KPIs
Newswires provide a range of analytics to measure the success of press releases, so be sure to select the newswire that offers data you can use.
News Direct, an industry-leading news and content distribution service, provides a full suite of actionable analytics covering reach, engagement, earned media, and more. Its unique analytics portal is user friendly and offers shareable reporting in a clear, professional layout.
For investor relations professionals, News Direct offers the Equity Impact Report, a one-of-a-kind, comprehensive overview of the real-time market impact of your financial news release.
Finally, News Direct’s proprietary platform provides seamless creation, collaboration, and distribution of media content一including standalone multimedia, such as infographics, videos, or images一all using an asset-based, flat-rate model that’s simple, straightforward, and fully transparent.