PR has always been one of the hardest marketing disciplines when it comes to accurately determining its Return on Investment (ROI). While many companies like to see bottom line metrics like sales, it’s important for them to look at other categories as well. PR might not always show up as dollar signs on the balance sheet but rather as successes in different areas of the business.

PR’s reach is far and wide, and to fully understand the effect that it has on the company’s overall performance, you have to be able to tie your PR efforts to Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to effectively determine the ROI of PR investments. These KPIs should be well thought-out so that everyone is on board with the results.

Media monitoring and accurate reporting play a crucial role in determining PR success. Using media monitoring and reporting enables you to focus solely on the activities built into your PR plan instead of trying to monitor your efforts at the same time. Reporting can be used to inform with daily PR activities and overall campaigns to better position themselves for success.

How PR Teams Contribute to Overall Business Success

There are several ways that your PR team is incredibly valuable to the company.  While not always monetized, their contributions are nonetheless impactful on the company as a whole.

One of the PR team’s priorities is to be trained to look for new opportunities for promotion and play an essential role in the overall perception of the company and its marketing and sales efforts. They have their eyes and ears tuned into what is happening in the marketplace and determine if specific investments or campaigns are the right fit for your company and its image.

Monitoring your target audience for opportunities is just the start.  By constantly observing the market, your PR team is also able to quickly identify potential trouble spots before they arise. As you know, it’s much easier to get ahead of a situation versus playing catch up and doing damage control.

PR also helps to keep your brand top of mind and reach new audiences. Many times companies overlook that this reach and awareness can be achieved for a relatively low cost of acquisition over other marketing channels.

Of course, there’s nothing that turns your customers into brand advocates and contributes to customer retention like good PR. If they’re seeing your company everywhere they are, they’re going to feel vindicated that your company is as good as they think it is and will want to share it with their friends.

What Metrics Should You Measure?

With so much data available, it’s now easier than ever to track PR efforts. At the same time, because there’s so much data available, it’s important to narrow it down to what’s beneficial for your company to measure and track. Tracking every metric isn’t going to give you a clear picture of your PR team’s activities.

Start by determining which KPIs are relevant to PR so that you have a starting place for measurement. What’s measured is managed so getting clear from the onset means your PR campaigns and their impact will be relevant to the business.

Although there are a wide variety of metrics a company can use while determining PR achievements, there are common ones that you might find useful for your company:


  • Website referrals
  • Social media mentions
  • Leads generated
  • Audience growth
  • Community engagement
  • Conversions from paid or organic efforts

How To Measure Success

Each company has their idea of the best way to measure the PR team’s success. That’s why it’s critical to create KPIs that’ll showcase PR’s efforts in all areas that it effects.

It’s important for the company to determine what data is most relevant and connecting that data to KPIs. Collect data that you can link to KPIs. These metrics are the deciding factor over what specific activities are and aren’t working and the strengths and weaknesses of the PR team overall. This will aid in planning for future growth and even additional training necessary to get the team back on track.

Additionally, if KPIs are being overachieved by a large percent, that’s a clue that the standards were set too low from the beginning and should be adjusted.

As part of this process, make sure all irrelevant content isn’t being assessed. You need to be able to sort data and hone in on what is the most impactful — whether it’s positive or negative. This is difficult for a computer or program to do as it can’t make judgment calls like a human well-versed in your company’s goals can.

At Fullintel, each company has a manager that’ll make this determination without ever having to see it and cipher through all the information themselves. This approach not only frees up their time but also their minds so they can be focused on doing the activities that are getting the positive results desired.

In the beginning, when you’re figuring out what to include in your reporting, ensure all coverage sources are included by including the correct people in the decision-making process. It’s easy to skip over an area that actually has a big impact on your business, so don’t be afraid to ask others for their input.

KPIs are only powerful if they are actionable. By creating action plans based on the data gathered via media monitoring or other reporting and linking them to KPIs, you have a report card for the present and recipe for growth for the future.

Finally, keep in mind that PR can affect many different areas in a company — even those that you didn’t set out to affect. Be sure to monitor other business functions that may be seeing changes as a result of PR campaigns. Are you getting more inquiries about your products or services? Is the sales cycle shorter? Then work to reverse-engineer what triggered those results.

While it can be a challenge to exemplify your PR team’s achievements, it’s important to set KPIs to not only monitor its success but to motivate the team to progress in order to reach accomplishments that the whole company can be proud of and benefit from.

Andrew is Co-Founder and President of Fullintel. His 25-plus years of media intelligence experience helps large organizations and Fortune 1000 companies such as Textron, AAA, Clorox, Kraft Heinz, MUFG, and Bell plan and implement day-to-day and crisis media monitoring and analysis strategies and best practices. He also co-founded dna13, the world’s first software-as-a-service media monitoring platform, which was eventually acquired by PR Newswire.