The ability to link B2B public relations effectiveness to hard data is becoming increasingly important. While PR has long been seen as a critical component of a company’s growth, the question for business leaders is how do you measure that? This is especially true when the time comes to allocate funds to ensure future growth. So, what are the 5 key B2B PR KPIs you should be tracking?
Setting and achieving Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is crucial to demonstrating the value and impact of your PR efforts in achieving your business goals. How will we measure results? What will the company gain if we achieve these goals? Is it increased revenue, generating more leads, improving brand awareness, or garnering a higher share of voice in your industry?
Essentially, these value-driven metrics help you understand what’s working, what needs improvement, and how to reallocate your resources to maximize results. Classic KPIs like media mentions, reach, and share of voice are typically the types of KPIs PR agencies like to track. Why? Because they set the bar low. If your company gets mentioned in an article that also lists all your competitors, how effective is that?
What if you could track and quantify the impact your PR is having on your goals? Do you want increased awareness, more qualified sales leads, or a boost to your digital marketing and SEO? We have identified 5 key public relations KPIs to consider in 2023 to accurately calculate your ROI and ensure you’re getting the results you want.
KPIs: What Really Matters?
More important than just having KPIs in place is having relevant KPIs that align with your communications strategy and goals. One of the major goals of many successful PR campaigns is to increase brand awareness. However, it’s no longer enough to focus on media mentions and collecting press clippings. When it comes to quantifiably measuring brand awareness, your B2B agency should be focusing on valuable drivers of growth like target media secured and key message inclusion. Let’s examine this further.
We hate to break the news, but the old adage “all press is good press” no longer rings true. There is, in fact, a difference between securing coverage and securing coverage in a wish list or top-tier publication. Quality over quantity reigns supreme. For example, the majority of the pick-ups from press releases are from obscure websites. These low-authority sites literally publish anything that appears on the wire. Not only will this never reach your intended target audience, but Google also gives these sites zero SEO value.
On the other hand, by generating content in top-tier trade magazines (print & online) that target your ideal customers, you are not only guaranteed to reach the right people, but you can also deliver them the content that they are looking for. This may include sharing ways to increase efficiency, cut expenses, and/or solve another pesky problem.
Furthermore, when it comes to securing coverage, bigger is not always better. Generating a mention in an article that appears in Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, or Tech Crunch would feel great. However, these publications are not going to cover your story regularly. So, you are better off trading the one big story for a sustainable PR program. By doing this, you can consistently deliver an increase in awareness, leads, and sales.
How PR articles in trade publications work for B2Bs
Creating feature articles that delve into industry-specific problems and how companies were able to solve them is a superior approach. This is the type of content people actually want to read. These feature articles highlight your key differentiators and more importantly, provide the reader with testimonials from current customers that show their results.
For instance, when a rural county school district in Kentucky was experiencing an emergency failure of a metal-clad cooling tower used in conjunction with the school’s HVAC system, they had to find a replacement quickly! However, the school maintenance team was worried about both the durability of the new replacement units and the budget.
Delta Cooling, a client of Rankin PR, was able to provide them with a NO-COST replacement. Not only were the new towers made out of durable engineered plastics, but they also qualify for government funds. ESSER grants were awarded due to an antimicrobial resin that can be molded into the towers. This greatly reduces the growth of microbes, like Legionella, that are often associated with cooling towers.
We featured this story in an article that included quotes from the school district describing how the towers also helped them cut the costs associated with consistent maintenance of metal towers and avoid unnecessary downtime. Check!
Content Marketing KPIs
Content plays a major role in how B2B buyers make purchasing decisions. In fact, according to a report, 60% of B2B decision-makers report seeking out a product after reading out it. So, it’s no wonder why B2Bs are now viewing content marketing as even more important than traditional marketing. Not to mention that content marketing is also much more cost-effective. According to the same study, content marketing can cost 62% less than traditional marketing, but generates about three times as many leads.
Creating unique and engaging content can be time-consuming and for this reason, many B2Bs may shy away from it and consequently miss opportunities to connect with prospects and current customers in new ways. When creating content keep in mind that the value lies in determining what ways can you take one piece of content and turn it into several pieces of high-performing and effective content.
To reduce the costs, and effort, of creating content we suggest repurposing your PR articles. Our clients have been able to take the feature articles we create for them and turn them into social media posts, sales collateral, and website content that increases their SEO. This gives you a new KPI metric that can shine a light on ROI for content marketing efforts.
Setting reachable goals
You should also be setting a goal for the content you’ve created. Is it a certain number of content downloads, an increase in email list subscribers, or increased traffic to your webinar, landing page, or website?
Then ask yourself, if we achieve that goal how will it affect the company’s bottom line? Are more prospects calling to find out more information? Is your sales team seeing a shorter sales cycle because prospects are well-informed before they even reach them? Conversion rate, or goal completion, is another KPI metric that can be used to ensure your content is performing. This is also a good benchmark for determining future content and getting the most out of your content (aka residual value).
Digital Marketing KPI
When it comes to digital marketing the most important quantifiable KPI is backlinks. When done correctly, backlinks are the most effective and organic way to increase website traffic and secure a higher Google search ranking.
It’s important to note that not all backlinks are created equal. Unfortunately, some companies have made it a habit to buy backlinks. These links are typically generated on low domain authority, or worse “fake,” websites. These link farms are not sources of trusted information like a trade publication or company website and do little in the way of influencing Google’s results.
While you may secure 300 backlinks, if the domain authority is low, it really doesn’t do much for your SEO. To make matters worse, if Google thinks you are trying to unduly influence its algorithm, you may get added to the dreaded blacklist.
PRs impact on SEO
Here is where public relations and digital marketing make a great team. Top-tier trade publications are already vetted by Google and most have DA scores from 60-90. So, PR articles that get published on these sites, and include backlinks to your website, are going to have a huge impact on your SEO ranking. Going a step further, because these feature articles typically include high-ranking keywords, you increase your chances of landing on that highly coveted first page of Google search results.
KPIs for 2023 and beyond
Having KPIs that actually have a direct correlation to business growth is only going to increase in significance. Companies need to ensure they are investing in the right tactics. These KPIs can clearly demonstrate whether B2B Public Relations is critical to your company’s success. With the right metrics, B2Bs can build more effective public relations campaigns that really drive revenue and attract more prospects.
If you need any information or advice – set up a meeting with us! We will do our best to give you adequate answers and find the right solution for a certain problem!