Share of Voice: Cutting Through the Noise

Share of Voice

We’ve all experienced a loud helicopter flying overhead or perhaps you’ve sat in the stands of a college football game where the decibel level was off the charts. If you tried to speak over that type of noise, it is highly unlikely that anyone would hear a word. That’s exactly how it feels in today’s crowded marketplace where businesses compete with thousands of other brands trying to get the word out about what’s new, different, or trending (re: buy my products or services, not theirs). Amid all the clatter, Share of Voice (SOV) has emerged as a critical metric. SOV within public relations measures the percentage of media stories within your sector, niche, or industry that include your brand. 

Not only does SOV measure a company’s presence within the media but it also reveals its competitive standing, offering valuable insights into a brand’s visibility and influence within its industry.

For example, if your competitors are being mentioned 99% more often than you are within the media outlets that target your ideal customer, then you are in BIG trouble. On the other hand, if you are securing a large portion of the media headlines, you may be able to reduce your monthly marketing spend in areas like advertising and relocate it to places like SEO or trade shows.

Understanding SOV and how to measure it can have a huge impact on many aspects of your business. So, let’s dig a little deeper into Share of Voice.

Understanding Share of Voice

The term share of voice started within advertising where SOV refers to the portion of total advertising spending that a brand or company invested in. This metric was used to assess the brand’s visibility and competitiveness within the advertising space.

However, as public relations has become much more dominant in the world of marketing, SOV has migrated. In PR terms, SOV quantifies the percentage of total media coverage. (I know we promised there would be no math but…) Now for a quick foray into percentages.

The PR SOV calculation involves comparing the volume of media mentions, such as articles, news coverage, and social media discussions, that a brand receives against the total volume within the same market. For example, if a company has a 30% SOV, it means that its brand is being mentioned in 30% of the overall media coverage within its industry. This metric goes beyond mere visibility; it provides a deeper understanding of a brand’s share of the market narrative and the level of attention it commands in the public sphere.

The Importance of Share of Voice in B2B Public Relations

So, we’ve concluded our brief history and (basic) mathematics lessons on SOV — let’s discuss why it’s important in B2B public relations.

By tracking SOV, B2Bs can assess the impact of their PR efforts and make data-driven decisions to refine their strategies. After all, an increasing SOV over time indicates that a brand’s messaging is resonating and that its influence is growing.

Through these insights, B2Bs can identify areas of opportunity and potential gaps in their media coverage. By understanding where competitors are gaining share or where the industry narrative is evolving, businesses can gauge their relative standing in the market and inform a strategic positioning. This competitive intelligence is invaluable for identifying strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement and ensures that resources are invested where they can have the most significant impact on industry conversations and brand influence.

SOV also provides an opportunity for proactive reputation management by allowing organizations to actively shape the narrative around their brand, enabling them to address industry concerns, highlight strengths, and mitigate potential challenges in real-time. This proactive approach ensures that a brand remains at the forefront of industry conversations.

Lastly, by integrating SOV with lead generation strategies, B2B organizations can experience a multiplier effect on their PR impact. Increased visibility generated through SOV initiatives directly contributes to brand recognition, trust-building, and a more receptive audience for lead-generation campaigns. When strategically integrated with lead generation strategies, SOV becomes a dynamic force that not only elevates brand visibility but also attracts and nurtures high-quality leads.

Leveraging Share of Voice for B2B PR Success

Now for the most important part: Utilizing SOV to elevate your business. B2Bs that successfully integrate SOV into their PR strategies often gain a competitive edge by understanding their industry landscape, influencing conversations, and driving long-term brand success.

Here are some key strategies B2Bs can use to harness the full potential of Share of Voice in B2B PR.

Define Clear Objectives

Establish specific PR objectives and align them with overall business goals. Whether it’s increasing brand awareness, positioning yourself as an industry expert, or driving lead generation, having clear objectives provides a framework for SOV analysis.

Monitor Across Channels

Share of Voice is not confined to traditional media alone. It encompasses online platforms, social media, and industry forums. A comprehensive approach to monitoring media mentions across channels ensures a more accurate representation of a brand’s SOV.

Monitor Competitor Activity

Regularly track and analyze the media presence of your competitors. Understanding their messaging, key themes, and areas of focus will help you identify opportunities and differentiate your brand.

Focus on Quality Over Quantity

While it’s important to secure media coverage, prioritize quality over quantity. Securing high-profile placements in reputable publications will have a more significant impact on your Share of Voice than numerous mentions in less influential outlets.

Adjust Strategies Based on Insights

Regularly analyze Share of Voice data and be prepared to adjust PR strategies based on insights gained. If a competitor gains a significant share, or if there’s a decline in overall industry coverage, PR professionals can pivot and adapt their approaches accordingly.

Embrace Thought Leadership

Position key executives as thought leaders in your industry. Contributing insightful articles, participating in industry events, and engaging with relevant discussions will not only enhance your SOV but also establish your brand as an authoritative voice.

Utilize Share of Voice Data for Content Strategy

Armed with Share of Voice insights, B2Bs can tailor their content to directly address the identified industry gaps and trends. This involves creating content that fills informational voids, addresses pressing concerns within the industry, and showcases the organization’s expertise in these areas.

Share of Voice stands as a tangible and actionable B2B PR KPI, offering companies a megaphone for their media visibility and influence. Leveraging this powerful metric ensures that companies not only navigate industry conversations but actively shape them, solidifying their position as leaders in the B2B space.

Having trouble cutting through the noise? Contact Rankin PR to help amplify your efforts.