As the cost of paid advertising across various digital and broadcast channels increases, brands are increasingly focused on earned media as a way to build awareness and generate revenue. Earned media – publicity garnered through PR outreach, news coverage, organic search or any other unpaid source that produces mentions, shares or reviews – does not come with the same costs as paid advertising.
At the same time, while communications, PR and marketing professionals are generally thrilled to create brand awareness without spending budget dollars, earned media can also be difficult to measure. If you have been creating earned media opportunities for your organization and are looking for a way to understand the value attached to that publicity, here are some key performance indicators (KPIs) you might want to focus on:
1. Publicity Value
Top tier media intelligence solutions provide publicity value as a KPI, which approximate the monetary value of a media story. These numbers are usually derived using a combination of hard data and algorithms and provide a clear way to understand what a mention in a specific media piece is worth to a brand. Publicity value is important for building a media strategy and is also useful in demonstrating to senior management why media placement is critical.
2. Estimated Audience
Estimated audience is another effective way to measure the reach of an earned media event. As the name suggests, it’s a fairly simple KPI: the number of people who saw the piece in which your brand was mentioned. While more granular metrics certainly have their place, estimated audience is valuable precisely because it’s simple to understand.
Mentions is a another simple-to-understand metric that provides great value. Simply put, this KPI is a measure of how many times your brand was mentioned in a given time period. Mentions is a broad indicator of brand presence in the marketplace, as opposed to publicity value and estimated audience which focus specifically on one earned media event. If your brand is going to track mentions, it is important to have a media intelligence and monitoring tool that doesn’t miss hits.
Professionals in PR, marketing and corporate communications understand all too well that there is, in fact, such a thing as bad publicity. Having your brand mentioned on a major network or in a widely-read publication is great, assuming the coverage is positive in nature. Brand management tools that provide a sentiment score go beyond numbers to help you understand what the overall impact is likely to be.
Until next time!
Eric Lebowitz joined Critical Mention in 2018 as its Director of Marketing. A native New Yorker, he originally began his career in journalism and later moved to marketing, discovering a passion for branding and analytics. Eric brought a background in content marketing, marketing measurement and marketing automation, having previously co-founded and managed his own agency. In his spare time, Eric loves to play as much golf as possible at courses across the country.