1. Reader impressions – how many people have read the coverage?
This is often displayed on page but is usually available from the site administrator if not. Traditional PR can tell you how many people bought the paper using ABC figures, but not how many people actually read a specific piece of coverage.
2. Traffic referrals – how much traffic was referred to another property from the article?
The ability to track traffic sources is included in any decent analytics or monitoring package, such as Google Analytics which is actually free. From this, we can tell our clients exactly how much traffic has been referred to their site from a link included in a piece of coverage, and even where in the world that click-through originated.
3. Trackable sharing – who’s talking about/sharing the article?
Through pingbacks, shortened link APIs and good old social monitoring, it’s really easy to see who’s tweeting about an article. Most blogs and websites also include social sharing tools such as “Like” or “Tweet” buttons which can display the number of times the page has been shared or Liked on Twitter and Facebook. Packages like Google Webmaster Tools, Open Site Explorer and Yahoo! Site Explorer can tell you which other sites link to a particular blog, or even a specific article. We often use this when presenting the value of coverage to clients, as it is an easy to understand metric.
4. Attributable to sales and revenue – what sales were generated as a result of coverage?
This one is vitally important, especially for B2C retail and consumer clients. Through e-commerce packages integrated with analytics, sales can be attributed to any given traffic source, including news coverage. This metric is invaluable for being able to show which search terms and sites are performing best in terms of generating revenue.
5. Having a positive effect on value through link building.
Repeated back links to your site from respected news sites and blogs is great for search rankings, particularly when optimised text is used, or at least key terms are mentioned somewhere in the article. This may not be something that traditional PRs will care about, but it gives those working in online PR a fantastic value proposition, that their work will not only do all of the above but also help to increase rankings in SERPs.