How to Look at Press Release Analytics

When thinking about web analytics or data analytics, most people picture complicated graphs with lines zigzagging every which way. However, analytics isn’t nearly as complex as it may seem. That’s because analytics is just a fancy term for the group of metrics that measures performance.

To this extent, data analytics is especially important when it comes to press releases. Companies want to know if their press releases are being read and if their method of delivery is effective or if they will need to make some changes for successful press release distribution.

The press release or digital marketing analytics can answer all of those questions and so much more.

In this article, we’ll demystify the press release or marketing analytics by focusing on common metrics and how you can use them to drive brand engagement.

How Do You Track the Success of a Press Release? These 3 Key Metrics
Determining the success of a press release involves several factors, including the type of press release and objectives. Following the basic inverted pyramid press release format can help you see results, however, use your analytics to best optimize your future press releases.

That said, there are a few reliable metrics analytics experts always turn to measure a press release’s performance. These metrics include:
  • Coverage and visibility
  • Website traffic
  • Backlinks and placements
Let’s break down these three metrics down further, starting with the most important: coverage and visibility.

1. Coverage and Visibility
Coverage and visibility refer to the publicity your press release received. Typical questions answered by coverage and visibility data analytics include:1
  • How many news sources picked up my press release?
  • Did any influencers share my press release?
  • Was my press release mainly distributed via print, digital mediums, or both?
  • Did engagement increase via multimedia?
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When considering these questions, it’s important to remember that though similar, visibility and actual reads shouldn’t be treated the same.

While visibility measures how visible your message is, readership tracks how many people actually read your news. Actual readership is clearly more important.

That said, track all aspects of coverage and visibility by focusing on the following:

Headline Impressions
Ask yourself: how long should a press release be and is my header compelling? Anyone who’s ever written a press release or news article knows the value of a sharp headline. Without a smart, attention-grabbing press release headline, audiences are less likely to click on your news.

Headlines are also effective tools when it comes to tracking your press release’s coverage and visibility, as well as gaining actionable insight.

This is because headline impressions illustrate:
  • Location – Tracking headline impressions gives you valuable information about where your press release has been viewed. This, in turn, lets you know which publications and geographical regions are the most effective conduits for your press releases. For instance, if headline impression data reveals that Midwestern publications are responsible for a majority of your press release views, your company might focus more attention on this regional audience.
  • Keyword effectiveness – Not all keywords are created equal. If certain headline keywords are more effective than others at generating clicks, headline impression data will reveal this. Gauging keyword effectiveness is a crucial step when it comes to writing engaging headlines.
Measuring headline impressions is a strategic way to track your press release’s coverage and visibility. That said, no coverage and visibility data is complete without taking into account social media engagement.

Social Media Engagement
In today’s globalized and digitalized world, it’s important that companies monitor social media for brand engagement.

This is especially true when it comes to analyzing the effectiveness of press releases, for social media is, for many people, the first place they engage with the news.

To monitor social media engagement as a part of your coverage and visibility analytics, note the following:
  • Platform – Is your press release mainly visible on Twitter or Facebook? Instagram or LinkedIn? Knowing the platform where your news is most visible (or, even better, trending) will help when deciding the best social media platform to use to release your news. That way, you can save money by privileging some platforms over others.
  • Influencers – In terms of raising awareness for a news story, few people are as powerful as social media influencers. Influencers can exacerbate readership by promoting your press release on their content. You can also reach out to a specific influencer who has a history of promoting your press release whenever you have news to share.
Now that you know how to measure coverage and visibility metrics let’s look at another important metric: traffic.

2. Website Traffic
In the world of press releases, traffic’s a good thing. That’s because traffic measures how many people accessed your content and website from other sources.

One of the most common ways to measure traffic involves analyzing how many people visited another website, clicked on your press release’s link, and were directed to your website.

Traffic analytics typically seeks to answer the following questions:
  • Which outside websites brought the most visitors to my website?
  • Are some search engines better than others at driving traffic?
  • Once referral traffic reaches my website, is my site effective at conversion?
Using traffic as a metric to measure the effectiveness of press releases comes with many benefits.

Not only do you get hard data on the number of people who visited your website based solely on your press release hyperlink, but you also know which types of referral traffic to preface.

Let’s dive deeper into these different types of referral traffic.

Referral Traffic
Referral traffic’s the inbound traffic type concerned with how many people accessed your website via another source.

To most accurately gauge the effectiveness of your press release, monitor referral traffic from the following sources:
  • Highly-trafficked websites – Highly-trafficked websites are websites that receive tons of visitors. These websites include major news publications and entertainment sources. Distributing your press release to one of these websites can thus be a serious boon. That said, it’s important to know whether one major source is driving most of your traffic. Knowing this information allows you to distribute press releases to that outlet first.
  • Social media – As stated above, social media’s a powerful tool. Monitor social media referral traffic in order to know where to direct your attention. For instance, if your photography company routinely distributes new product press releases, you might want to track traffic from a photo-based platform like Instagram.
  • Blogs and forums – From blogs centered on fantasy football to forums diving into fall fashion, the list of blogs and forums is nearly endless. As a result, distributing your press release content to popular blogs is beneficial—especially if your company markets a product to a niche market. Knowing which blogs and forums deliver the most inbound traffic will give you a leg up when it comes to deciding where to distribute your press releases.
Keeping an eye on inbound traffic is an effective way to sharpen your press release analytics. But in order to monitor referrals, your press releases have to be efficiently distributed in the first place.

Cue: Accesswire.

One of the best newswire distribution services in the industry, ACCESSWIRE makes it possible to connect your press releases with the sources who matter most. That means more eyes on your news—and more clicks on your website.

3. Backlinks and Placements
If coverage and visibility metrics are concerned with how many sources pick up your press release, backlinks and placements metrics gauge the reputation of those sources.

This is important because reputation follows reputation: if high-quality sources consistently include hyperlinks to your press releases, your website’s deemed valuable and ranked higher for SEO purposes.

Let’s break down these crucial metrics further.

Similar to inbound traffic metrics, backlink metrics measure the number of links that direct back to your website.

In general, the more reputable the source, the more valuable the earned backlink. This in turn allows you to monitor the effectiveness of the press release that led to the backlink.

For example, suppose your investment company distributes a new partnership press release that is read by a major financial publication. The publication then uses your press release as the basis for a news article and includes a link in their write-up directing readers to your website.

Not only have you earned a backlink, but you’ve also earned standing in the financial industry based on the reputation of the financial publication.

Placements are another press release metric worth tracking. In short, placements analytics monitor where your press release was distributed in more detail.

Placements metrics focus on two main categories:
  • Place of publication – Although visibility matters when it comes to press releases, where your press release is visible matters more so. For instance, if your video game company distributes a general news press release, it’s better to have your press release picked up by a leading publication in the video game industry. This lets you know that your press releases are reaching their intended audiences. If not, you may need to retool your press release strategy.
  • Journalist or blogger – In addition to letting you know which publications picked up your press release, placements metrics can also let you know the specific journalist(s) and blogger(s) who used your press release in their content. Knowing this information allows you to build a rapport with this source, enabling you to send them information as soon as news is released.
In short, backlinks and placements metrics are valuable tools when it comes to understanding how best to reach your target audience.

Connect Farther With ACCESSWIRE
With names like inbound traffic and backlinks, press release analytics can sound like a mystical, mysterious language. Fortunately, we’re here to translate.

In addition to flat-fee pricing and wide press release distribution, ACCESSWIRE uses the industry’s best analytics to help your message reach the widest audience possible.

Choose ACCESSWIRE as your news distribution service and feel confident knowing your press releases are headed in the right direction.