It is the goal of every press release writer to see their release succeed.
We dream of getting picked up by major mainstream media, landing interviews in renowned industry publications, and having influencers click and share our news on social media.
While some press releases are going to garner instant media attention and social buzz, learning what makes a press release stand out takes elbow grease.
From identifying a newsworthy story and determining the time of day that secures the most views to crafting a tweetable headline and choosing attention-grabbing multimedia, a lot goes into writing and distributing successful press releases.
In Redefining Newsworthiness, New Opportunities to Earn Media & Attention for Your Brand, we explore how the social and influencer media revolution has led to different – but valuable – types of opportunities for third-party coverage.
One way to identify these opportunities is by tapping into the successes and failures of previous press releases. Your press release metrics can inform your future content strategy by providing insight into what your audience considers newsworthy.
The key is in understanding how to interpret your data. Here are 5 common press release metrics, along with tips for turning them into actionable insights.
1. Release Views
The first mental “hooray” you feel as a press release writer is usually tied to this number. We love seeing that lots of people have looked at our release!
When you begin digging into this metric, compare your releases with higher views to those with fewer hits, and see if you can isolate the differences between them.
Consider every aspect — down to the time of day your high- and low-performing releases were distributed. For instance, sending a press release right at market open could cause your release to be buried in financial news, or you might see trends in days of week and times of day that impact your press release visibility for better or worse.
While release views are the most immediate metric to inform success, it’s not enough to get eyes on your release. If your content is truly newsworthy, your readers will want to share it.
Engagement can be a tricky stat to measure, as it can encompass a large number of actions. Social sharing, as an example, can indicate that audiences thought your story was newsworthy and were compelled to help spread the news.
Clickthroughs from the links in your release are another great way to gauge interest in your brand or story. Being able to track clicks and trace traffic on your owned channels back to your press release will be invaluable in measuring impact.
3. Audience Demographics
Isolating which demographics have interacted with your content can offer a lot of insight into whether or not your message is resonating with your target audience, as well as why or why not.
Take note of the specific individuals sharing your press releases. Look at the handles of users who retweeted or liked your release when you shared it on your brand’s social channels, or see who shared it on their own.
Furthermore, if you’re promoting a piece of content that is linked to marketing automation software, you can use trackable links and lead generation forms to gather richer intelligence about the potential buyers downloading your content. If a reader provides their job title or company when they download your content, this information can offer insight into the types of professionals interested in your news.
Media monitoring can also be helpful. If you are tracking the types of media organizations or publications who have picked up your release, you can get a feel for the demographics your news appeals to.
Seeing which media groups and brands are interested in your news can be a great indicator of your story’s newsworthiness.
4. Multimedia Impact
We all know that multimedia increases engagement, and while it’s great to see how many people clicked your photo or video, gleaning useful intel from this metric requires a deeper dive.
When it comes to photos, keep an eye on downloads as well as clicks. This shows that some readers chose to keep your photo, possibly to publish in something that will become valuable earned media. For this reason, it’s important to offer a way for readers to access and download high-resolution images.
Video views on their own can also paint an incomplete picture of success. If possible, note where viewer drop-off occurs: How many seconds or minutes into your video did audiences stay? Can you see the percentage of viewers that made it through to the end?
Not only will this give you understanding into how newsworthy your viewers found your story, you can use the knowledge to craft more compelling videos or reposition your call-to-action earlier in your video to ensure it’s seen by the largest number of people.
5. Traffic Sources
Knowing how readers discovered or accessed your release can say a lot about your press release’s performance.
The search terms used to find your release will show you what audiences were looking for when they discovered your content. Similarly, referral sites can help you track potential earned media, and statistics around which social media sites led readers to your content can indicate how far your story is traveling and the level of interest it has with audiences on each channel.
Your press release reporting is vital to understanding exactly what your target audiences want. Content that once may not have been considered “newsworthy” enough for a pitch to top-tier media may be of incredible interest to today’s other core audiences.
Download Redefining Newsworthiness: New Opportunities to Earn Media & Attention for Your Brand to learn how to map out a multichannel content plan that ensures your message is seen.
Author Danielle Capriato is the manager of strategic communications at PR Newswire, where she writes, edits and manages distribution of press releases to promote the PR Newswire brand and content. Follow her on Twitter @dcapriato.
3 Comments on Blog Post Title
Great article. I would add building relationships with your target media to the list of ‘elbow grease’ requirements for successful news releases. It’s essential to know who you’re pitching and it can make a big difference to whether your release is on target and gets picked up. Customized pitching is more important than ever.
I agree, Margot! A customized pitch is a critical element of media relations.
The blog generates user active content. That is very user friendly and easy to understand.