Is my PR worth the money?

I’ve decided to invest in some PR for my online business for the first time and will be using an outside agency. Assessing the success of click-through advertising campaigns is straightforward, but how do we measure if we’re getting enough PR coverage for the amount we’re spending?


A. Michael Smith of Firebox.com writes:

Trying to quantify the success of a PR campaign is extremely difficult. Many clients want to be able to justify their PR spend and so bizarre – and often highly misleading – methods are created to try to do so.

As the manager of the business, you’re far better placed than any agency to assess the impact each piece of PR has on your brand. Counting the raw number of articles you get is pretty deceptive for obvious reasons. For us, one small piece in a newspaper such as Metro is worth 10 full pages in a regional paper in terms of the sales uplift we’ll get the next day.

Circulation can be misleading as well. A corporate profile piece in a niche business magazine might not generate many consumer orders, but there is a fair chance that it will lead to something less immediately tangible such as a partnership deal with another firm, or a moraleboost among your staff. Trying to come up with a figure to put a value on these different pieces is practically impossible.

What it boils down to is finding an agency that understands your business proposition. Work with them on a trial basis and assess the situation after a few months. At the end of this trial, your gut feeling will tell you whether your investment was worth it. This is far more valuable than a report telling you how many eyeballs saw your company name, or how much you’d have had to pay if you’d taken out the equivalent space in advertising.

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