Determining the value of public relations efforts isn’t always easy, but it’s important we have a way to measure the return on investment so we have an understanding of the impact of media coverage.
Here are a few ways public relations professionals identify the value of media hits:
To assign a dollar amount to media hits, PR professionals use what’s called publicity value. The calculation of the publicity value varies based on the medium. For online and print outlets, it is based on the length of the story, the placement of the story and many other factors. For television, the numbers are closely tied to ratings and advertising rates. Publicity value helps assign a hard dollar value that many executives can relate to, but it’s important to note this is just one metric and should be considered in conjunction with other key identifiers.
Media reach, also called impressions, is the potential audience for a media hit based on unique monthly users (online outlets), circulation (print outlets) and viewers (broadcast outlets). In other words, it’s the number of people who might have had the opportunity to be exposed to a story that has appeared in the media. Knowing the reach of a media outlet gives you context and helps you identify the big fish from the small fish.
Sometimes neither publicity value nor reach are the important metrics when valuing a media hit. A small outlet with minimal reach and very low publicity value may not seem significant on paper, but if the outlet reaches the target audience that could generate leads for your business, it can be even more impactful than a national media hit. In this case, the placement of the media hit can take precedent over reach or publicity value.
Identifying the value of media hits is just one piece of a broader public relations strategy, but it can create accountability and help you set measurement goals for the future. Over time, you’ll accumulate data and be able to set goals related to the values you’ve been tracking.