Is the needle stuck on your PR performance?


Even with the most advanced media monitoring tools and evaluation, it can be hard to prove that media relations activity is having an impact on the business metrics that senior leaders care about. That’s why it’s important to set metrics that reveal how PR and comms are moving the needle and can prompt corrective action when the needle is stuck.

It could be as simple as gaining a better understanding of the named publications that drive real audience engagement, so you don’t waste time and valuable resources. Or it could mean getting a grip on how your PR outcomes compare to other organisations in your sector, so you know what good looks like.

With rigorous evaluation of how online media content affects audience behaviour, as well as reputation and awareness, communication teams can achieve the marginal gains in performance that make a genuine difference – and make executives realise the true power of media coverage.

Here are some ways that PR teams can move the needle on performance, if they have access to the right data and insights:

Benchmarking against other sector brands

Competitor comparisons can be expensive, especially if they need to dive deep to produce actionable insights. To move the needle, it’s essential to look at performance against competitors by obtaining meaningful comparisons that allow you to spot positioning gaps and opportunities. Without understanding competitor outcomes, how will you know whether PR activity is likely to change audience perceptions, increase brand consideration or actively move consumers along their journey?

By looking at how online media coverage impacts Google Search, Google Shopping, share price or paid advertising performance for your brand and selected key competitors, it is easier to see how the needle is moving. Quick wins can be identified and undercurrents that might threaten competitive advantage may be spotted more rapidly. The good news is that this can now be done very cost-effectively using audience-first analysis especially when incorporating other independent data sets into evaluation of PR effectiveness.

Fine-tuning brand associations that the audience takes out of media coverage

PR can influence brand positioning and reputation in ways that Marketing in general, and advertising in particular, struggle to do. This is particularly effective for building associations with qualities and issues that are not always directly related to products and services – such as climate change and renewable energy. They say something important about an organisation, but it’s often inappropriate to overtly refer to ESG themes in Marketing-led content.

Instead of analysing the themes visible in all coverage, moving the needle entails working out which media are actually creating reputational impact because of their influence on the engaged audience. In addition, using AI-driven analysis of the themes that are reaching the interested audience, shifts in media positioning can be quantitatively benchmarked over time. This supplements brand tracking surveys and other activities by helping you understand how the media is shaping perceptions. It also means that messaging can be fine-tuned to the media which are most likely to drive opinions.

Optimising media planning by identifying the key media for your brand

Not all media coverage is created equal. Some articles will be far more effective than others at driving audience engagement.  Similarly, a media title might produce large volumes of favourable coverage, without converting that into a decent size of interested audience for your organisation. The optimum media mix is different for each company, but having insight which identifies the media that work best for your brand is a real advantage.

Knowing which media produce the greatest audience impact is the first step towards working out the key titles and journalists who need to be on your media list. These insights inform planning and shape an approach to targeting which moves the needle on audience outcomes.

Demonstrating how PR maximises search advertising

Without search, search advertising is doomed to fail. The base of potential customers for your organisation needs some kind of prompt to encourage search and make advertising effective. Traditionally, Marketing teams have relied on other forms of advertising and promotional activity to stimulate search. However, the power of PR in generating significant uplift in search activity is poorly understood.

With new data and insights from audience-first media effectiveness evaluation, it is possible to attribute changes in Google search directly to earned media coverage, proving beyond reasonable doubt that investment in PR moves the needle on search advertising outcomes, translating into improved brand consideration and sales.


For more information about how Metricomm is helping organisations like yours move the needle on PR performance, contact us on