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This may seem like an odd thing to read coming from a PR analytics company, but PR isn’t just a numbers game. Sure there are lots of numbers that matter. Numbers like PR’s impact on website traffic, revenue, SEO raking, and so forth. But when it comes to media coverage quality counts a lot more than quantity.
Do Mentions Matter?
People who have faith in the, “Any press is good press,” theory of PR have a good argument for mentions as a measure of success. But years of experience with many clients tell us that mentions are more of a gauge of activity (or sometimes bad luck) than effectiveness. If that’s the case, why are so many PR pros and clients so interested in counting them? In general, we find that it is because it’s easy and a lot of folks don’t have a good idea about what else to look at.
What Makes Quality Coverage?
There are a few factors that can help you sort out quality coverage from all of the noise. Consider:
Was your brand or product included in the headline and/or lead sentence? Was an image related to your brand included with the piece? Were their quotes from your spokespeople or customers included in the first part of the article? Each of these is an indication that the coverage was truly about your brand.
How your competitors are included in the coverage is also important to its value to you. If competitors are prominent along with you or instead of you, the quality of the coverage isn’t as strong as when competitors are absent or significantly less prominent.
The quality of coverage can also be evaluated based on how visible it is to your audience. Keep in mind, this isn’t the same thing as pure reach. For example, if you sell hardwood floors, a feature story in Contractors Weekly might be more visible to your audience than a mention in USA Today. You should assess visibility in terms of the industry, geography, and demographics of your target audience.
The definitive way to assess coverage quality is, of course, outcomes. You can’t argue with website traffic, lead conversions, sales, and search rank improvement that can be directly tied to specific media coverage. This analysis will help you determine exactly what quality coverage looks like for your specific brand.
Accurate and timely media monitoring with software designed to help you hone in on quality coverage is the most effective way to develop your earned media strategy. When you know which mentions are meaningful, you will know what kind of coverage to seek.
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