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Everyone feels good when an article featuring their brand or client runs in a publication that is popular with the target audience. Don’t get us wrong, we are huge fans of feeling good, so if you pull off a well-placed feature article, pop the Champaign and have at it.
But because businesses don’t run on good feelings, at some point you need to think about how much the article is actually worth to the brand in terms of the metrics you use to measure your PR success.
What Not to Do
Let’s start by ruling out one method that was once the standard way of measuring the value of earned media, Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE). Those using the AVE approach simply measure the amount of space that the feature article takes up, and then calculate the cost of that amount of advertising space in the same publication.
About the only thing the approach has going for it is that it is easy math. Unfortunately, it’s also bad math. This method might grossly overvalue the article because an article is not equivalent to an ad. It is likely that not every part of the article was about the brand and the concept of sentiment is largely ignored. On the other hand, this approach might also undervalue the article, given that people trust earned media far more than owned media like advertising.
The Power of Third Party Credibility
Let’s dig into that trust issue a little more. Recently, in research commissioned by inPowered, Neilson set out to determine the impact of a variety of content types on buyer perceptions and behavior. They evaluated the impact of three types of content; user reviews, branded content, and third-party expert content. They wanted to understand how each type of content influenced product awareness/familiarity, brand affability (likeability), and purchase consideration.
Content written by credible experts performed significantly better than the other content types. In fact, expert content improved purchase consideration 38% more than branded content and 83% more than reviews.
A feature article, written by someone your audience trusts, may very well be the most valuable content your brand will ever get, but you won’t know until you measure the impact. Measuring impact means measuring outcomes. Outcome measurements reveal the actual results of the article. What you measure should be aligned to your strategic PR goals.
Are you trying to generate more leads, shorten sales cycles, increase revenue, or incite some other behavior like sharing content, writing positive reviews, or attending an event? Your goals will tell you exactly what outcomes to measure and set the benchmarks against which the value of your feature article will be judged.
A feature article at just the right time, in just the right place can be a big boost for your brand. We know, thanks to Neilson, that this type of content generally drives buying behavior, but you won’t know exactly how much value it has to your brand until you measure results against your most important priorities. Hopefully, you’ll be able to enjoy some ROI with your Champaign.