Four Tricks for Maximizing Your PR Investment:
How to Get the Most Out of Your Media Coverage
PR is a serious investment. Some industry experts advise brands to spend 5-10% of their marketing budget on PR — and that’s no small number for most businesses. If you’re a scrappy startup CMO, you’re likely contending with an unpredictable economy, a board of investors with high expectations, and a founder who wants to see her business succeed. Or, if you’re managing PR and marketing at a larger brand that’s pulling in more revenue, the actual dollar amount that percentage comprises can be quite high. After all, 5% of $1M is $50,000.
We’ll let you in on a secret: Even with the most successful media relations campaigns, most brand leaders don’t get the most out of their PR programs.
And that’s because, even after achieving impressive headlines and widespread coverage, brand leaders often don’t know how to maximize their earned media results outside of social media posts and sales decks.
To help you crack the code, our team of senior strategists has compiled some tips to help you squeeze every drop of exposure out of your next PR campaign. Here are our top 4 most overlooked tricks for maximizing your PR investment.
1. Create Targeted Ads Featuring Your Press Hits
Sharing press clippings on social media is a must. Tagging and mentioning the reporters and outlets your brand has worked with will help to expand the reach of your PR placements and build rapport to strengthen those relationships. But there’s a piece missing here.
Many CMOs view their digital marketing campaigns as a separate entity from their earned media efforts. And while good PR is always earned and never paid for, that doesn’t mean your PR results should be left out of your marketing budget.
One way to maximize your media relations ROI is to create dedicated ad campaigns to showcase your earned media coverage. It’s quite powerful to have your brand mentioned in the respected trade publications and top-tier outlets your ideal customer is reading. So, why not serve that content up to your target market directly?
By creating targeted social media ads and pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns that feature your best press clippings, you’ll make it much more likely that the decision makers in your customer base are seeing those headlines.
The key here is to make those ads targeted. It’s crucial to be precise. If your in-house marketing department isn’t experienced in Google ad targeting or social media advertising, the best PR agencies will be able to able to take the baton – or connect you with a social media / digital marketing expert who can.
Even better, over time, that ad data becomes another tool in your kit as a marketing executive or CEO. By closely monitoring your ad performance, you can leverage that data to produce another measurable metric to take back to your executive team and investors — demonstrating the success and impact of your PR investment with cold, hard numbers.
2. Incorporate SEO into Your PR Planning
Another way to leverage PR as a power boost for your broader marketing goals is to incorporate your SEO keywords into your PR activations. A good PR agency can help you to increase visibility for the important search terms for which you want your brand to rank on search engine results pages (SERPs) like Google or Bing. To do this, your PR team can weave strategic language into media pitches, bylined articles and press releases associated with your brand.
Here’s how it works:
- Media Pitches – Often, in a media pitch sent to a reporter, a PR person will suggest key themes or creative headlines to complement the suggested story angle, save time and grab a reporter’s attention. If your PR team has been equipped with a list of important keywords for your band, they can weave those terms organically into the story angles they’re pitching on your behalf, to inspire mentions of your brand alongside those keywords in any published press hits.
- Bylined Articles – Bylined or contributed articles are original pieces attributed to your brand spokesperson, and written exclusively for publication in a certain media outlet. While these articles should be non-promotional to meet most editorial guidelines, they do provide an opportunity to infuse those target keywords into published materials on your brand’s behalf — as long as the usage sounds organic.
- Press Releases – Press releases are the only PR asset with guaranteed distribution or reach, and over which your brand has complete control. A press release is an official statement, delivered by a brand to members of the news media, and published and distributed to news outlets via a wire service, for a fee. Because that original statement is paid for, you as a brand have control over the content. And that means — you guessed it — we can incorporate keywords and even link back to your brand’s website or vanity pages.
If you don’t have an updated list of keywords available, an integrated agency will be your best bet. Ask your PR partner whether they offer services like an SEO audit or keyword research. By assessing your market position, competitors, and brand goals, the best PR agencies can help you to identify the best terms to use to increase your position on the leading SERPs, and grow your digital footprint for potential customers and investors.
3. Update Your Email Assets with PR Hits
If you’re working with a good PR agency already, you probably know that the biggest value add PR has to offer is credibility. The third-party credibility of the press makes your brand seem more reputable by association, with media placements as the proof points.
An email signature is a natural place to showcase that credibility — and often goes unused. Alongside professional titles and important promotional materials, PR assets are a natural fit.
To do this, you might include logos or names linking to the most important placements you’ve written or been mentioned in, or list your status as an official contributor to a well-known media outlet. Further, if award submissions are part of your PR program, you might consider listing any honors you’ve received as a result. Here are some examples:
CEO of NewCompany, Inc.
Official TEDx Speaker
as seen in TechCrunch
CFO and Founder of Brand, LLC.
Official Forbes Contributor
Most Powerful Woman in Tech Award, 2021
Additions like these can draw more eyes to the placements you’ve linked, elevate your status in the eyes of potential clients or partners you might correspond with via email, and add a subtle dose of clout. Further, you can share those media placements in company newsletters, if you have one. And if you don’t, your agency should be able to connect you with an email marketing expert to get that set up.
4. Leverage Dedicated Landing Pages
Vanity pages are another tactic that can boost the impact of your PR investment. These are landing pages created for a specific marketing purpose and often not able to be found by navigating a website organically, making their traffic easier to track in relation to specific marketing campaigns— or PR outreach. Vanity pages can be linked in media outreach, much like keywords can be included in pitches sent to reporters. Then, by tracking the visits to that page after a round of media outreach has gone out, your PR partner can glean useful insights about the number of reporters who may have opened that email and clicked on the embedded link. While email tracking is certainly a common tool PR practitioners use, it has become increasingly easy for reporters to block email tracking software from their inboxes. A vanity URL is a useful workaround.
Further, if the pitch is successful, a reporter might use that same link in their media coverage of your brand. In that case, you could continue to monitor traffic to assess the approximate number of page visits that resulted from that particular piece of coverage. Reporters are often wary of including overt marketing material in press coverage — so tools like UTM tracking codes are highly unlikely to make the final edit. A vanity page might, however, if that page is relevant to the news being covered.
UTM tracking codes can be used, however, in press releases. There, you can embed trackable links to determine how many people have visited your website from within the press release after it goes live.
By leveraging these integrated marketing tactics, you can maximize the impact of your next PR campaign and ensure your executive team and investors have some additional proof points for the value of your hard-won PR results. If you’re interested in taking your integrated marketing strategies to the next level, reach out to us any time for a consultation. Our experts are here to ensure your PR program aligns closely with your marketing goals for Q4 and beyond.
Trust Relations Team