What Are Press Release Analytics?

Press release analytics tell you how your press release performed in terms of the metrics you track. Example press release metrics include reads, inbound traffic, conversions, backlinks earned, placements, and social media mentions. Press release analytics can help you justify your investment, understand how to further nurture sales, and inform how you to successfully craft future campaigns.

While tools that report website analytics, track social media interactions, and inform email opens can be used to measure the performance of your press release, the best way to keep track of how your press release is doing is by using a press release distribution service that also offers analytics reports. We have a guide on the best press release distribution services[1] you can use to help find the best service for you.

How Press Release (PR) Analytics Work

Press release analytics can be monitored via trackable links that should be included as part of the text when you write your press release[2] or embedded in the specific landing pages you expect your audience to visit as a result of your news. The tools you use to track analytics will depend on your business goals; however, most press release distribution services also offer built-in press release analytics software, which can make the process much easier to manage.

As you review your analytics data to learn how your release performs, you can derive insights to inform your next steps and reach business goals. Press release analytics reports may reveal key insights like how to nurture audience members into customers, whether a future release will be worth the investment, and which platforms to use when promoting your current release.

For example, a primary press release audience in their 30s and 40s that is highly educated, earns a high-middle class income, and enjoys video over long-form articles may be most engaged on a social media channel with a similar audience, like Twitter. As such, your next step may be using that channel to promote key press release placements or products highlighted in your release.

8 Key Press Release Metrics & How to Analyze Them

The press release analytics metrics you choose will depend on the business goals you’ve set for your press release and the type of press release[3]. However, here we will discuss some of the most popular and useful press release metrics for all types, why they are valuable, and tools and techniques to measure them.

1. Inbound Traffic

Inbound traffic tracks visitors from other websites or search engines who clicked a link in your press release and so were brought to your website. For example, an influencer may mention your new product in a review they published on their website. From there, readers on the influencer’s site may decide to visit your website to learn more about that product.

Why it’s valuable: On a website, once you’ve earned inbound traffic (or website visitors), there are plenty of other actions visitors to your website can take, many of which can contribute to you meeting business goals, like boosting sales or leads. So, earning that traffic in the first place can be essential to meeting business goals.

Example goals include signing up for a demo, contacting a sales representative, buying a product, learning more about your business or its offerings, signing up for a newsletter or drip campaign, and downloading an ebook. These actions can then be nurtured into first or additional purchases.

How to measure it: You can directly gauge new traffic to your website by including a trackable link in your press release. For example, you can use Google URL Builder[4] to easily create a trackable link, then use Google Analytics to determine how many people clicked on that link to visit your website. From there, you can use a free tool like Google Analytics or an easier-to-use paid tool like Freshworks CRM[5] to track visitors and see what actions they take on your website.

Pro tip: If you want to increase the number of people who share your content, consider adding graphics. This is because studies have shown that the use of images, like infographics in digital content, boosts traffic by 12%[6] on average.

2. Website Conversion Rates

A conversion can be any action that moves press release readers from learning about your brand closer to a sale. Conversions may include downloading a buyer’s guide, signing up for a lead-nurture drip campaign, viewing product pages to evaluate your offerings, or completing a sale.

Why it’s valuable: When readers complete the actions you’ve designated as a “conversion,” each action moves them through your sales funnel and closer to actually making a purchase. For example, a sales funnel may include a visitor landing on a product landing page for which you’ve included a link in your press release.

From there, they may sign up for an email campaign that helps them learn more about that product, then click back to your website to sign up for a demo or learn about pricing, placing the product in their cart. Finally (and hopefully), they’ll make a purchase.

How to measure it: Create a designated landing page that helps readers learn more about your news and include it in the call to action (CTA) of your press release. You can easily create such a landing page with an all-in-one conversion optimization tool like Freshworks CRM[7].

The reason Freshworks CRM is worth mentioning is because it not only helps you to create pages specifically designed for lead capture, but once readers click to and “land” on your landing page, you can also use the analytics and heatmap tools to learn about visitors’ conversions. This includes learning what lead magnets they download, what they sign up for, if they sign up for a demo, what product pages they view, and if they purchase a product.

Visit Freshworks CRM[8]

Pro tip: A landing page doesn’t just have to be a single line of text on a pop-up window. In fact, longer landing pages have proven to earn businesses 220% more[9] microconversions (and so leads) than shorter landing pages, so you should always take as much care with their design as you would any page on your site.

3. Backlinks Earned

Backlinks are links that are placed in articles on other websites that point back to your website. For example, if someone writes a review of the product you announced in your press release, publishing it on their website and including a link within their review to your website for readers to learn more, that link is considered a backlink.

Why it’s valuable: Backlinks are a way for Google to recognize your website as one people think is valuable; journalists, bloggers, and other website owners don’t link to websites they feel have no value for their readers. There are two kinds of backlinks: dofollow and nofollow backlinks. Nofollow backlinks are not recognized by Google, meaning Google does not consider them a vote of confidence in your website. In contrast, dofollow links are recognizable by Google.

While Google does not allow people to include dofollow links in press releases without being penalized (because it considers you having paid for those links), it does recognize dofollow links in published stories that reference the news in your release. If journalists link to your website in their own stories, you earn a vote of confidence from them that helps Google see your website as valuable. The more Google views your website as valuable, the more it will list your content in search results for readers to access when they search for topics discussed on your website.

How to measure it: You can track backlinks earned via your press release using a backlink analysis tool like SEMRush[10]. Simply open a free account, type your domain in the search bar, and click “backlink analytics” from the left-hand menu. Then, scroll down to the backlink graph where you can see if there has been an increase in earned backlinks since your press release was published.

Pro tip: Readers are not just more likely to read an article that doesn’t rely entirely on text, they are more likely to share it too. As you craft your release, consider that posts with infographics receive over 25% more links[11] compared to posts with videos.

Next, click the “View full report” button underneath the backlinks graph. It will take you to the URL for the downloadable report. Scroll down to your list of backlinks and click the “follow” filter and the “new” box. If this list is accessed within a month of your press release being issued, these two filters together will generate a list of Google-recognizable backlinks that have been earned since your press release was published.

You can then click on the referring domains (the websites that linked out to yours) to learn which authors have helped you earn these backlinks. These are great people to reach out to when pitching future press releases.

4. Number of High-quality Placements

Once you distribute your press release, your press release will hopefully be published in print, online, and broadcast outlets that share your target audience. However, these placements are more valuable to you if the sources are trusted by your target audience and reach large audiences. For this reason, it is important to track not just where your press release was published, but the quality of those outlets.

Why it’s valuable: Understanding your high-quality press release placements can tell you how effectively your release reached your target audience. For example, if your business news was placed in a widely distributed magazine dedicated to your industry alone, it is more likely to reach your target audience than if it was placed on an unknown blog.

Further, when your press release is published in high-quality placements, you can learn which journalist was interested enough in your company news to publish it, and then work to create a win-win relationship with them. This means you provide them with the stories and contacts they need to publish high-quality content, and they publish your stories when they fit their audience’s needs. If they were interested in publishing your business news once, chances are higher they will be interested in doing so again.

By understanding which high-quality placements your press release appeared in, you can retarget their audiences using paid advertising. For example, this may allow you to turn those audience members into leads by offering them a free demo of your new product and then asking for their email. Finally, send them a drip campaign that further nurtures them into making a purchase.

How to measure it: To track high-quality press release placements, first track all placements, then parse out the high-quality placements. An easy way to start tracking placements is to set up Google Alerts. This will help you track placements when you send your press release manually to individual reporters or track stories journalists have published about your press release news without actually publishing your release.

In addition to tracking digital placements, you should also determine whether your press release was published in print outlets or aired over broadcast outlets. This is where an analytics software like Cision can be helpful. Cision[12] tracks a release you distributed through their distribution services across print, digital, and broadcast.

To set up a Google Alert for your brand and press release keywords, simply open a Google account, including a Gmail account. Then, go to google.com/alerts. Type in the search term or brand name you would like to be notified about. Click “Options” and choose what region, language, sources (e.g., blogs, news, or web) you’d like to be alerted about when your chosen keyword is mentioned. For only alerts of high-quality mentions, click “only the best results” next to “how many,” then choose the email you’d like your alerts delivered to.

Next, distribution services often offer analytics reports that show placements and placement quality. Cision[13], for example, reports where your release was published. This includes across print, digital, and broadcast outlets, including social media, podcasts, local newspapers, television, and blogs. It then offers impact scoring that tells you how impactful your release was based in the authority of each outlet that ran it. It even tells you how many times it was mentioned on those high-quality—or “tier-one”—outlets.

5. Visibility & Reads

The visibility metric tells you how many people know about your news. Just remember that there is a difference between how many people see your news release and how many people know about your news. People must not just see your news release, but also read it to actually be aware of your news. For this reason, it is best to track reads instead of visibility metrics like shares.

Why it’s valuable: If you know how many people actually read your press release, you can begin to track trends to determine what constitutes a press release that results in greatest visibility. For example, if you issue a press release next month and it gets 1,000 reads, then you issue one a few months later that gets 2,000 reads, you can look at the differences between the two to learn the characteristics of a release that garners the most reads. Then, you can incorporate those characteristics into future releases to earn more reads.

Furthermore, press releases that actually get read are more likely to garner links to your website. This is because when journalists or influencers are interested enough in your news to actually read your release, they are more likely to cover the story. As they cover the story, they will often link to your website to offer their readers a source to learn more.

How to measure it: It is often very difficult to get a clear understanding of how many people have read your press release. This is because you (by yourself) likely won’t have access to the analytics of those websites that publish or run a story based on your press release. For this reason, it is best to use a press release analytics tool like PRWeb[14].

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