Marketing Leaders Share Their Secrets to PR Success


What it takes to succeed, the value of KPIs, and how to track the effectiveness of PR.

Chief marketing officers and other marketing leaders are constantly faced with challenges of accountability. Each is tasked with a role that is increasingly expanding beyond business decisions and driving growth. Marketing leaders must now be responsible for the customer experience, backed by robust multi-channel product strategies and a keen demonstration of overall results. 

This shift has been predicated upon reinventing the marketing stack and creating a new media supply chain, encouraging marketers to use tools like public relations and creating high quality content to reflect a company’s values to fuel those growth goals. 

In order to prove the value of marketing contributions through PR, marketers rely on KPIs whether they’re generated leads, driven website traffic, overall brand awareness, or more. But there’s a complex gray area in between. 

So how can marketers target their intended outcomes with PR credibility assets that make the most sense to drive results? 

Marketing StrategyPhoto by Helloquence on Unsplash

We asked Julia Spano, VP of Marketing at Crowdtwist, for some insights about the key ingredients to marketing successes with KPIs and PR.

Julia Spano — VP of Marketing, Crowdtwist

CrowdTwist’s customer loyalty platform enables brands to unlock unique insights and incremental value through omnichannel engagement. 

What’s the KPI that’s most important to you?

It’s difficult to associate directly with PR efforts, which is a longstanding challenge that marketers face as they vie for budget. 

I have an ideal customer profile and I know where my potential consumers, prospects, and clients typically are throughout their day as it pertains to news outlets or reading material. I also track the source from where they’re coming in if it’s a net new lead or contact that’s potentially reading an article coming in from a specific landing page.

Traffic that’s generated from PR initiatives is an easy low hanging fruit, as is market awareness increases as it pertains to SEO ranking. Some more loosely defined KPIs are the number of inbounds that are associated with them, especially in a seven-to-10-day period post-PR hit.

How do you ensure that PR impacts the bottom line? 

It’s something that takes time. If my company is mentioned in, say, a New York Times article, I’m interested. But that’s few and far between. 

A conversation needs to happen early on when you are having executive level conversations where you say, “This is an initiative that we’re we’re investing in because we know the value of it.” Then also being transparent about the fact that it is not a one-to-one relationship 

The value can’t directly be tied, especially because there’s so many variables in between when a consumer or prospective clients, for example, sees an article and then when they reached out or came into your system. 

Ancillary benefits like brand awareness and brand affinity are also difficult when pinpointing directly to spend, but are important. 

Do you have a successful PR campaign in your experience that conveys these sorts of challenges?

If you look at a company that has many competitors, and if you look at a company that has a broad market base, the need for PR is great because you will consistently capture the mindshare of potential buyers regardless of products.

In terms of an ideal customer profile, I previously worked for a company that dealt with AI and language. We were brand new, but we managed to land a feature article, which is low hanging fruit for a lot of companies. But that front page message to our target audience about the uniqueness of our technology and its applicability to marketing was so relevant and drummed up so much excitement. 

It accomplished what we wanted and gave us direct exposure to a market that we were trying to penetrate.

Still curious about how marketing leaders can create an inherent level of accountability and attribution for normally imprecise PR metrics? Be sure to check out our webinar on Outcome Relations, our PR model that drives credibility assets to support desired business outcomes and a concrete, measurable impact.

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