NewsMaybe you’ve made the commitment to add proactive public relations to your marketing mix, and want to know how to measure your efforts without paying for an ongoing media monitoring service. Or maybe you were interviewed by a reporter and just want to know what the coverage got you, aside from bragging rights.

Well, we’re here to help, with five simple steps to track and measure how much bang you’re getting from your PR bucks.

  1. Set your goals. If you don’t define what you want to accomplish, then you won’t have a benchmark for success. Is it getting bloggers to review your product? Contributing articles to industry publications to establish your expertise?
  2. Monitor for mentions. Many times, you’ll just know when a story is going to appear because someone contacted or interviewed you for it. But, you might not know who’ll share the story, especially if it’s online. Or maybe your company was briefly mentioned as part of another story. Google Alerts is great for tracking online mentions. For social media, you can search by keyword; Twitter programs such as HootSuite or TweetDeck can aggregate multiple keywords in one easy-to-use dashboard. (Tip: Monitor for mentions of your competitors, too!)
  3. Crunch the numbers. You just landed a great PR hit; now how many people could it have reached? For print, TV and radio, circulation or audience numbers are usually listed in their advertising/media kits, which are often online. Or just give their ad departments an old-fashioned phone call. For websites, you can get a sense of how much traffic they get by plugging the URLs into free site profilers such as, or
  4. Track website traffic. Use Google Analytics to see if there were any spikes in visitors after you get a placement, or when a press release (with links, of course) gets picked up or re-posted. Check out your referrers (websites sending traffic to your site) to see where those people are coming from. If there’s a bunch from a blog or website that wrote about you, that’s a great indicator that the PR placement generated interest in your company – as well as prospective customers.
  5. Ask “HDYHAU?” Huh? That stands for “How Did You Hear About Us?” This isn’t going to be very accurate or scientific, but an idea worth considering nevertheless. Some companies have this on their website’s sign-up or confirmation page, with “newspaper,” “TV,” “blog,” etc. as an option. Or you can train your staff to ask customers when they come in to your store or are at the register.

Have you been featured in the press lately? How do you determine if the coverage made an impact?

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