How to write a media plan: Measuring your plan's effectiveness

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Welcome to the final week of Hearsay’s, six-week tutorial on how to write a top-notched media plan! Each week, we’ve shown you one of the six most important elements every plan should include to ensure that your campaign is set up for success. This week, we’re showing you how to measure your media program’s effectiveness.

Before we dive in, get caught up on our past tips:

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Now, let’s talk media plan measurement, which is the final step of a solid media plan. This may include media impressions, social media growth, referral traffic to your website, or even a pre-survey and post-survey to determine whether the levels of awareness or brand affinity have changed because of your media efforts.

Before you get underway with your media plan, remember to benchmark your current numbers before you begin executing your plan so you can effectively track results.

How can you tell if your media outreach and PR efforts are working? The following are five methods you can use to gauge your media plan’s effectiveness.

Articles and mentions

While this probably isn’t the most objective measure of PR performance, article appearances and media mentions do matter. Track how many clips your media plan efforts have generated. Don’t forget to keep track of where they are appearing, too.

Where your brand or company appears in the media is important—articles and mentions should be in media where your key audiences and potential customers get their information.

Content analysis

Like comparing ad rates to media coverage, you also should look at the quality of each media placement. Measuring your placements against how often or where your competitors get placed can help distinguish your media efforts and their worth.

To simplify this talks, develop a scale of one through five to rate your media coverage. How many key messages were included in your article or TV segment? What type of audience was reached by this media outlet? Is this media outlet a part of those you are targeting?

These and other factors can be used to help you choose a rating for your media coverage.

Ad rate comparisons

If you generate an article in the Wall Street Journal or coverage on NBC, do you know how to gauge how extensive the coverage was?

Use this simple formula: Compare your mention against the cost of an ad for comparable space (or time) to see if the placement is worth the effort.

Why perform this task? Because it is very likely that the press coverage was a fraction the cost of the ad space. If that doesn’t scream worth the investment, I don’t know what is.

Sales results

In a perfect world, PR and media outreach efforts can be tied directly to the amount of sales it generates.

However, because there are so many variables in play with sales efforts, it’s hard to pinpoint if media coverage moved a potential customer to buy from your firm. Unless they directly state it to be so.

The best way to narrow this gap between hunch and fact is by tracking leads. If you ask your customers where they heard about you—or include specific promo codes and URLs in your media outreach efforts—you’ll begin to learn if the media outreach effort is part of their awareness and decision-making process.

Measuring traffic

If you land an article on the cover of Forbes, did it influence or drive traffic on your website?

The beauty of the Internet is that you can accurately measure traffic and activity online with tools like Google Analytics. By analyzing spikes in activity, you can learn what coverage is prompting your target audiences to learn more about your organization. You also can learn how quickly it prompts them to check out your brand or company. 

Your goal with PR and media outreach is to raise awareness, influence opinions, and you’re your target audiences to action. Using the five tips above, you should have no problem showing the return on investment your media plan provides.

Ready to get started? Download our free PR Plan template as your guide.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your PR efforts? 

Want more helpful tips like the ones above plus more? Check out The Buzz: A Media Darling’s Guide to Press Coverage or sign up for exclusive Hearsay content.