How to Spice Up Your PR ResultsIt is National Taco Day!

I love tacos.

In fact, I love tacos so much, I have a shirt that reads:

Feed me tacos and tell me I’m pretty.

If I could wear it every day, I would.

You can bet I am wearing it today…National Taco Day!

In honor of National Taco Day—and because my team is crazy creative—we thought it’d be fun to talk about spicing up your PR results.

(I mean, they made National Taco Day and spicing up PR results work. Crazy creative.)

Don’t Cut Off Your Nose to Spite Your Face

I have a good friend who runs multi-million dollar accounts.

He just relayed a story to me that makes me want to pull my hair out and yell at the top of my lungs.

You see, a PR agency they work with just had an opportunity to get a link back to the client’s website from a major news outlet.

One that has a domain authority of 100.

One that has so much credibility, one link from them would last 65 years.

(OK, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but it’s a big deal.)

In fact, said publication rarely allows links to external websites, but they were willing to make an exception.

In short: media outlet with the highest domain authority possible was willing to link to the client’s website in an online story.

Talk about PR results mecca. This is what dreams are made of.

You don’t have to have fancy attribution software to track PR results.

You can go right to Google Analytics and track PR results right there.

Yet, the PR agency turned down the opportunity.

I know you are asking yourself the same question I did…

Why, on earth, would anyone do that?

They turned it down because the media outlet would not mention the client’s company by name in the article.

They would link to their website (and a page of the client’s choosing), but because they wouldn’t mention the company’s name, the PR agency took a pass.

I just cannot.

This is so short-sighted, it makes me angry.

Track Attribution Without Software

This is not the way to win hearts, change minds, and track PR results.

At all.

In fact, one of the very best ways to track PR results is with that handy, dandy little link.

But because communicators are so fearful of asking for that link, entire companies have been built on attribution.

One such company is even working on providing attribution months after the fact.

It’s not quite there yet, but eventually it will be able to track a user’s path to your website—from your media relations efforts—without a link.

For instance, let’s say you read an article about the PESO model on Mashable.

You left Mashable and did a search on the PESO model.

Then you read an article on the Iris blog about it.

You did some more research, and eventually you end up on Spin Sucks.

Soon, software companies will be able to track that.

They will be able to prove that you contributed content to Mashable and, from that story, you had XX number of visitors come to your website.

And they all started with that one article.

The software isn’t quite there yet, but it’s in the works.

But there is one sure way to track attribution right this second.

And it’s to ask media outlets to include a link to your website directly from the content.

(And that doesn’t cost you a penny in new software.)

A PR Results Example

If you’re willing to do that—and be okay with the media outlet not mentioning the company by name—you will be able to track PR results and show real return-on-investment.

Going back to the example above, let’s say we had 100 visitors eventually end up on Spin Sucks from that Mashable story.

Because there was a link to us in that story, we can now go into Google Analytics and track what those people did.

At the top level, they visited an average of three pages (i.e. read three blog posts), spent nearly eight minutes on the site, and had a bounce rate of 32 percent.

Seventy-five of them signed up for our email and 38 of them joined the free Slack community.

Of the 38, 15 joined the PR Dream Team and another seven bought the self-study version of the Modern Blogging Masterclass.

We now know the Mashable story created $11,300 in revenue for us.

All because there was a single link to our website in that article.

External Links are Good for Publications, Too

This is precisely why, when my friend relayed his story, I wanted to scream.

Unless you suspect the article might be negative or hang your organization out to dry—or they won’t include a link—I cannot fathom turning down an opportunity with a high domain authority site.

Let alone because they wouldn’t mention your organization by name.

It’s a little uncomfortable for most of us to ask for that link.

After all, by nature we are people pleasers. It’s why we’re in the client service business.

And there certainly is a lot of conversation about the contentious relationship between communicator and journalist.

But we are not doing our jobs effectively and efficiently if we do not request that link.

I have only ever had one publication tell me absolutely not (TechCrunch), but everyone else has been willing to work with us.

It helps them, too, because Google looks kindly on media sites that use external linking.

You may have to talk with the web editor, once the story is published, to get that link, but it’s worth the extra effort.

Once you have it, you can track your PR results all day long.

As an aside, I also really like that we can say:

Sure, the New York Times got you lots of awareness, but it drove only six visitors to the website. On the other hand, <insert trade publication> drove 225 visitors to the site. And those 225 did X, Y, and Z and generated an additional $XX in revenue.

Now the conversation changes.

If you have limited resources, where do you spend your time?

Spice Up Your PR Results

On this National Taco Day, think about how you can spice up your PR results.

Do you want to be like the PESO model example I gave?

Or would you rather be able to say, “But they mentioned the company by name in the article!”

I know I would rather be able to show cold, hard cash from my efforts.

I hope you would, too.

Now it’s your turn.

What do you think about these examples and how to attribute your PR results?

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

View all posts by Gini Dietrich