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It’s About More Than Volume: How to Determine the Effectiveness of a Media Placement

For most companies, getting positive media attention is an important goal. Whether it’s a new product launch, funding round, C-suite appointment or something else entirely, business leaders know that earned media is a crucial part of building brand awareness.

However, not every placement is created equal. There are a variety of criteria you can use to judge the quality of a media placement. Here are a few things to look for:

  • Headline visibility: How prominent is your name and your company’s name in the article? Are you mentioned in the headline? Is this a feature story that focuses on you, a quick quote in a broader trend piece or a mention in a story about a competitor? Features are the most desirable, but even mentions signify you’re gaining interest and credibility in the industry conversation.
  • Sentiment: What is the tone of the piece? If it’s a great feature, but the tone is negative about your company or industry, it’s not a valuable media placement.
  • Audience: Does the article speak to your target audience? For example, a mention in Forbes is great, but it isn’t deeply impactful if your clients don’t read Forbes to inform their buying decisions.

Hitting or not hitting these metrics can inform your press strategy going forward. If a media placement involved a large time investment but included valuable back links, which direct traffic back to your site, it was worthwhile. An article with a shorter turnaround time but that reaches a non-target audience, however, may be an opportunity you can decline in the future. The strength of the placement will also determine how viable it is for your sales and internal marketing teams to use.

Thanks to technology, you can take this analysis a level deeper:

  • Impressions: Tools like SimilarWeb can give you an idea of how many eyeballs a placement received. This is especially valuable for trade publications that might be less broadly known but have a strong niche audience that falls within your PR strategy. Certain publications like Forbes will even tell you how many people read your specific article.
  • Link inclusion: Links included in articles, whether tracked links or general hyperlinks, can be valuable for measuring web traffic with Google Analytics or just increasing credibility with a publication’s readers. You can always provide links for a journalist you’re working with, though keep in mind they won’t always make it into the final story based on the media outlet’s link policies.
  • Domain authority: Domain authority (DA) is a great way to measure the influence of news and editorial articles. Use a tool like Moz’s Link Explorer to gain insight on different publications. The DA score measures the strength of the entire website where coverage of your company can be found. It's an indication of how likely it is to rank highly in Google search. This tool can help you determine which publications are valuable and which ones not to pursue.
  • Page authority: Page authority (PA) is a score generated by a page authority checker that measures the strength of the individual page with your coverage. The PA can be low on news or editorial sites as each article is often on a new page. However, PA can be a great way to measure blogs on platforms such as Wordpress, as it looks at the influence of the blog rather than the platform.

A media placement is almost always valuable in some way, whether it reaches your audience and drives engagement or gives you insight into what to do differently next time. By considering the metrics and tools above, businesses of all sizes can shed light on what each press mention means and how best to put it to use. If you’re interested in increasing the value of your public relations efforts, get in touch.