Gauging Your Results: KPIs for PR Specialists

team looking at data on computer

Have you ever put out a press release or posted a story to social media, then thought: “How many people have engaged with that piece of content?” Communication professions are so hectic, it can be easy to publish your campaign and quickly move on to the next, forgetting to gauge the outcome of the first.

It’s time to stop wondering about the success of your PR efforts and start measuring results. Ensure this vital step is on your to-do list and remains there until you’ve completed it. 

Understanding and reviewing past campaign performance can provide valuable learning opportunities and help you tailor future strategies. It identifies which aspects are resonating with the audience, and which aren’t. You can adjust your current and future campaigns accordingly, to maximize your impact and increase your ROI. Such metrics can also inform whether you’re reaching the right audience or not, how your audience responds to the messaging, the type of media coverage it receives, and the business impact.

To gauge results, public relations specialists can utilize key performance indicators (KPIs), which inbound marketing and sales enablement platform HubSpot defines as a way to measure “how your company is performing at achieving a certain goal or objective” in any aspect of business. 

An article by News Direct’s partner Agility PR Solutions titled “9 Content Marketing KPIs That Predict Your Campaign’s Success” shares valuable advice: “A number of marketers make the mistake of jumping into measurement without a clear idea of what they’re trying to accomplish. Don’t follow suit.” 

The type of KPIs you measure will be determined by the goals you’ve established for the campaign. Objectives can range from boosting engagement to generating leads to increasing sales. 

Now, you can match your goals with relevant metrics. 


Social Media Metrics


Your follower count reveals your reach. These are the people who have actively chosen to view your content on their feeds. It can also help you understand your audience’s demographics.


This is the number of people who visit your social media page. You can cross-reference this with your follower count, likes, and comments to understand why some stay and others leave.

Likes, Comments & Shares

If one of your goals is to increase brand engagement, these three metrics are important. You’ll understand how your audience engages with your content, receive feedback through comments, and improve your brand awareness through shares. 


It’s always critical to know what people are saying about your brand. One easy way to see the conversations users are having is to check your mentions. You can easily monitor positive and negative feedback. Reading through the posts will help you understand the sentiment around your brand. 


This metric represents the number of users who clicked your website link on a social media platform, which can lead to conversions.


Easily measure the number of customers or users who are interested in your product or promotion by asking them to use a specific hashtag. Then, review hashtag performance data in the native app or an analytics tool to determine the number of users using that hashtag.

Special Codes

Offer special codes through your social media to find out the number of people making purchases, helping you realize the success of your social campaign. 


Newswire Analysis

Traffic, Visibility & Views

When you disseminate a press release or standalone multimedia through a newswire, you want to know how many eyes will view it. Newswire services offer analytics that provide total traffic, potential visibility, and views metrics. The total traffic is typically the collective monthly engagements for every posting, while total views refers to those specifically on the wire service. Total potential visibility is the potential number of views your post could receive across all the news outlets and websites to which the wire service distributes.

Click Data

You want to know how many people take action and engage with your media, and this metric keeps track of hyperlink clicks on press releases and standalone media. 

Earned Media Pickup

Getting your PR story picked up by a reporter is the ultimate gauge of success for a PR campaign. Some wire services, such as News Direct, enable you to track earned media pickup.

Social Tracking

Wire services can make tracking press release distribution across platforms easy. News Direct enables you to track social media engagement directly from the News Hub.


Website-Based Results


Website traffic can help you achieve your brand awareness goals. You can review the number of people who have viewed your site, or get more detailed, by checking out the traffic numbers for individual pieces of content. Is it a specific site page or blog? How can you change other pages or blogs to attract more visitors?


You can track where your audience originated. Are they coming directly from Google, social media, a press release or other source? The answer can inform future content placement. You’ll understand where your audience is, and the type of content they’re consuming.

Conversion Rate

If you want to increase sales, track conversions. This metric shows how many people became customers after viewing the campaign. Evaluate the source tracking to understand from where these customers found your campaign so you can further refine distribution and media strategies.

Bounce Rate

This KPI tells you how many users immediately leave the website or landing page after arriving. If this number is high, it’s time to rethink the page. Change the copy and the design to better attract your audience. Utilize A/B testing to learn which motivates more action.

Domain Authority

Your site’s domain authority can impact your Google search ranking. Although you can’t control some of the determining factors, you can add inbound and outbound links to improve its value. 


Find out how many websites are linking back to your content and site. Record who is doing so, along with their domain authority. Backlinks can increase your brand awareness and drive traffic to your site.

Share of Voice

This KPI compares your brand against its competitors using potential impression and domain authority data. It also takes sentiment and prominence into account. Set up alerts for your competitors and monitor their mentions. Determine if they’re referenced by trusted media sources, their size, and attitude. 


KPIs Simplified

Understanding and utilizing all the KPIs on this list may feel overwhelming, but don’t worry. Wire services and other software can track and measure these metrics for you. Typically, they’re compiled into a dashboard for easy viewing. 

Your website should come equipped with its own analytics dashboard, however, you can also check Google Analytics, Crazy Egg, Kissmetrics, and more for additional KPI monitoring. For social media, you can try out these tools: Hootsuite, Keyhole, or Digimind. Wire services typically provide their own performance reports. 

News Direct provides an analytics dashboard complete with posting reports with screenshots, total traffic and added click data, social media tracking, and earned media pickup.

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