4 ways to measure brand journalism results

Social media has changed many facets of public relations, but measuring campaign results is still in vogue.

For decades, impressions and advertising value were the staples of PR measurement. Today, other results are becoming equally as important.

Brand journalism, in which businesses discover and create their own news content, can help an organization achieve its PR objectives. This is the single mandate: Put your goals and measurement techniques in place before starting your campaign.

In the world of metrics, one-size-fits-all doesn’t exist. Many organizations are adopting a blend of traditional and modern metrics. Here are four options to consider when assessing results from your brand journalism content:

1. Traditional PR measurement

Audience numbers, impressions and advertising value have been the gold standard of how we measure public relations initiatives. These metrics can tell you how many potential customers saw your content on news outlets and other external channels. Data can also place a value on your story by calculating what it would cost to purchase ad time to promote your brand. You can obtain these metrics through media-monitoring software. In addition, many of these services evaluate the content itself, providing insights into the tone and other characteristics of the coverage.

2. Owned media traffic

Brand journalism content that’s featured on external news and media outlets or paid distribution services can be used to drive consumers to your website and other company-owned channels. Creating landing pages for your content and campaign-specific URLs can track the coverage that your initiative brings to your website.

3. Social media reach

Digital communication enables brand managers to engage directly with their target audience. If your company wants to measure online interaction, look at the number of followers, “likes,” retweets and shares. You can also pull social media comments for testimonials. New online platforms are constantly emerging. Take the time to experiment and see which offer the most value to your company and efforts.

4. New business

Top executives love it when a PR campaign generates new revenue. That’s why more communicators today are working to show how their initiatives help drive company business goals. Unfortunately, there is no secret formula for being able to capture this valuable information every time. To set yourself up for success, understand what “new business” means to your stakeholders, and plan a system to capture those data. In health care, that might mean a patient booking a medical appointment. To glean more information, make sure your scheduling staff and website intake forms ask patients how they heard about the doctor or procedure.

Related: To learn the measurement tactics and tools used by The Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and other top medical institutions, attend Lisa’s session at Ragan’s Brand Journalism and Content Marketing Summit on Nov. 2–3 in Denver.

Lisa Arledge Powell is president of MediaSource, a public relations firm that specializes in brand journalism. MediaSource has been named Best Health Care Agency in 2013, 2014 and 2015 in Ragan’s Health Care PR & Marketing Awards. Connect on Twitter @LisaArledge.

This article was created in partnership with MediaSource.


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