Everyone’s goals for sending out a press release can vary. Depending on the news being announced, you may be interested in catching the attention of a particular group of stakeholders, raising the profile of your work in a specific industry, or positioning your company for an acquisition. Regardless, there are a couple of benchmarks you should be monitoring to determine a base-level of success for each press release that you issue.
Some initial indicators of an effective press release are related to its content and much has been written on the subject. Cision published a piece about what makes a successful boilerplate and HubSpot examined necessary components of a successful modern press release. We agree that the internal elements of a press release are absolutely paramount to its success. But once you’ve refined your material and tweaked the final quote, how can you establish the success of your press release after it’s hit the wire?
Here’s what we consider to be the top 4 signs that your press release worked:
1) Articles Placed
- Our number one benchmark for success is a published article. The point of a press release is to position your news in the public through media channels, both print and (overwhelmingly important today) online news. Your firm should leverage their relationships with the press to entice reporters and get your news published. This article should be a piece of earned media, and regardless of “column inches,” the placement will establish the credibility of your announcement. Always remember: the quality of the publication depends on who, among your target audience, is reading it. Quality of the article over quantity of pieces published should lead your strategy.
2) Website Traffic Increase
- Another way to track the success of your press release is to monitor your website traffic. Most wire distribution services include some form of report. If you don’t get some stats from your PR firm after putting out a press release, ask for some. Tracking links both through a wire service and your own website analytics should show you what links are resonating, whether your landing pages are retaining visitors, conversion rates, and the general traffic on the day your press release is issued through the following weeks of activity.
3) Social Media Conversation
- Most press releases are accompanied by a series of social media blasts. Some should come from your company’s handles, but you should also monitor the social accounts of your wire service. Search for possible hashtags (if your release is about a new data center property you’ve acquired, you may want to look for #datacenter, for example). You should also keep an eye on relevant reporter’s accounts. Sometimes he/she or their related publication will publish a post about an article without tagging your own handles. Watching this activity rise will demonstrate whether your news is resonating across social media platforms and may open the space for continued conversation and engagement with your followers.
4) Word of Mouth
- Although difficult to quantify, a word-of-mouth response to a press release is a solid indicator that your news was noteworthy to the audiences you care about. Check-in with your sales teams to see whether their contacts have mentioned the news. You should also follow-up with the executive quoted in your release about any email correspondence – we often find that the individual quoted receives several notes about the press release after its launch.
Achieving only two or three of the above points means that your press release has made a positive impact and shaped your company’s forward-facing messaging to the public. You may have additional benchmarks to determine the effect of a specific news announcement, but achieving the four we suggest here will well-position your news and your company’s image with the audiences that matter most.
Different PR agencies use different news wires for distribution. Some leading options include Business Wire, PR News Wire, and Market Wired, among others.
Caroline Haley authors the column “Caroline’s Cloud” and is Vice President, Outreach & Operations for Milldam Public Relations.