Blog post
January 16, 2023

How to measure PR: The 3 key pillars

How do you measure the effectiveness of a Public Relation (PR) campaign? In this post we explain some of the key PR metrics used by leading brands to demonstrate PR ROI.

Measuring the success of public relations has typically been a difficult task for communications professionals.

This is because relying on traditional metrics such as reach and impressions in isolation often doesn’t result in a clear, concise understanding of the performance of a PR activity.

So how do you define success in PR? Here are the three key pillars of any PR measurement programme.

Pillar 1: Defining your objectives

As a PR professional, it’s important to have a strategic plan that encompasses what your organisation is trying to achieve and how PR will support those goals. 

Strategic planning is a critical first step. This is particularly important when measuring the performance of PR because ROI cannot be measured solely based on traditional metrics alone. 

– Are you looking to increase your CEO’s profile among potential stakeholders? Your PR objective could be to arrange speaking opportunities at industry events for your CEO to become known among key audiences.

– Is your brand targeting new sectors? Your PR objective could be to pave the way for lead generation with a PR campaign. You could then use other marketing tactics to target your prospects.

– Is organisational reputation under threat? Your PR objective could be to improve brand reputation over a set period of time.

– Is your organisation launching a new product? Your PR objective could be to focus on awareness and support the marketing organisation in the delivery of a product strategy.

Having a clear and defined strategy can yield a robust and effective PR action plan that will support your business goals.

Pillar 2: Defining PR metrics

In today’s hyperconnected world, the abundance of metrics available to communications and marketing teams can make reporting overwhelming.

On the other hand, choosing your key metrics wisely and getting alignment between these and the set business objectives can lead to measurable PR.

So what are some of the key measures of the effectiveness of a PR campaign?


Depending on your objectives, tracking media mentions can be a realistic representation of the performance of your PR campaign. 

With the right tools you can track mentions as they relate to brands, topics, spokespeople and more. Let’s take brand mentions as an example.

Brand mentions, though not directly tied to sales, are essential to understanding the impact of your PR campaign. Here are only some of the key metrics that you can use to examine brand mentions:

– Brand mentions by media type

– Brand mentions over time

– Total cumulative volume of brand mentions

– Sentiment related to those brand mentions

– Brand mentions by spokespeople 

As an example, in the below chart we have analysed a data set of brand mentions over the space of two weeks. PR teams can leverage such a metric to track the performance of a PR campaign as it relates to message penetration and volumes over key dates.

Measure effectiveness of your PR strategy at key dates
Media coverage over time gives you a view of the effectiveness of your PR strategy at key dates

Your chosen metrics should help you determine if your PR campaign is performing according to plans or if there is an opportunity to pivot your channels, message or other aspects of your activity.

Key outlets

Monitoring your target outlets can be a great way to understand whether your PR message is landing in the right hands and how this is like to resonate with your audience. Not surprisingly, most PR campaigns rely heavily on the successful execution of two key elements:

1. Consistency of the message

2. Share of Voice across target channels

Here is how outlet analysis can help you visualise message penetration, without employing manual processes.

PR monitoring by publication
Media outlet analysis helps you measure PR effectiveness by publication

The same data can give you insights into the potential reach of those channels, adding more context and measurable output to your reporting.

Measure of the potential reach of you PR content
Media outlet analysis can give you an important measure of the potential reach of you PR content

Share of Voice 

Employing Share of Voice as part of your PR reporting toolkit can shed some light on the performance of a particular message or topic over another. Whether you are tracking brands, industries, or other topics, Share of Voice can help you identify:

1. The number of mentions for one topic over another

2. Mentions of topics based on sentiment

3. Volume of mentions by media type / channel (see below)

There are other key metrics that can help you contextualise your media coverage such as time and news sources.

PR monitoring by share of voice
Share of Voice can help you measure the effectiveness of a PR campaign by campaign


Understanding the geographical extent of your PR effort is vital in order to assess the effectiveness of your campaign. In fact, whatever the objectives of your overall strategy are, most organisations have a very specific geographical reach or target.

Measure the geographical effectiveness of your PR strategy
Location charts can be utilised to measure the geographical effectiveness of your PR strategy

Location charts can help you identify where your message is landing and the geographical impact of your PR campaign. Your location report should include major metropolitan as well as regional outlets. 

Pillar 3: Tracking and Reporting

After you have identified the objectives and key metrics of your PR plan, define your tracking and reporting methodology.

Too often, reporting is seen as a tedious task to be carried out upon campaign conclusion. Tracking and reporting, if done correctly, can be an effective way to identify areas of improvement and opportunities to give your campaign the best chances of success. When defining the methodology of your PR tracking and reporting framework, consider:

Responsibilities: Who will be in charge of tracking and reporting on the various metrics?

System: Define what tools your team is going to use to measure PR and share the results with the various stakeholders. These can be as basic as shared spreadsheets or more comprehensive PR monitoring tools.

Cadence: Define the intervals of your tracking and reporting. When is the team going to look at and report on the various metrics?

Audience: Who will be the audience of your reports? Will this be shared externally (Perhaps with clients) or internally (Executive / leadership teams)?

Adjustment: What will be the process for analysing the results and adjusting your strategy throughout the campaign.

Measuring your PR campaigns right

In this article we discovered the three pillars of a PR measurement plan and discussed how measuring PR doesn’t only come down solely to analysing data. 

Defining your goals, setting your metrics and having a tracking and reporting system in place are the essential components that any PR and Communications team should take into account.

Isentia is APAC’s leading media intelligence provider, empowering PR and communications teams with the tools they need to make great decisions. For more information or to see our platform in action, schedule a demo today!


Similar articles

object(WP_Post)#6602 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(22387) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "6" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2023-02-13 09:22:00" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2023-02-13 09:22:00" ["post_content"]=> string(7300) "

Undeniably, a common practice people do these days while on social media is to read news shared on their feeds. With more than 2.96 billion active users on Facebook, and millions more on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok, social media is now considered an essential platform for news consumption.

News consumption is on the rise on social media platforms, but mistrust is high. So, what is the future of social media as a news source? 

Is social media news the new way?

As users openly share their opinions and participate in online conversations, social media is considered a complex space for mainstream media to navigate. And as such, it’s important for journalists and news organisations to continually find ways to adapt to these more informal spaces, given the time people spend on social networks.

Not only can connecting with a variety of consumers on social media uncover significant opportunities for PR, marketing and comms professionals, it can also enable mainstream media organisations to engage with a wider scope of  audiences.

With resources such as social media intelligence, organisations can gain insights and identify  key influencers. They can monitor  engagement across multiple social media channels and learn about market trends and themes. 

Although social media continues to play an important role in how people access the news, the proportion of users varies from country to country. Social media feeds are full of information and opinions shared by everyday people, activists, politicians and news media outlets. But the level of attention these groups receive can be different across each social network.

social media news

The divide on social media news

Due to the naturalisation of social media among users, younger audiences tend to source their news updates from social media. This has caused a generational divide in trust on social platforms between younger and older audiences.

The 2022 Digital News Report found that newer platforms such as TikTok, reach a quarter (24%) of under-35s, with 7% using the platform for news – even more in parts of Asia.

Similarly, 16 per cent of US adults are active on Twitter, with exactly half of those (8%) accessing the news through tweets.

With 21.45 million active social media users in Australia and 4.35 million in New Zealand, it’s no wonder many use social media as their go to for everything from news, entertainment, shopping and messaging.

The 2022 Digital News Report also suggests publishers will be paying less attention to Facebook and Twitter and will instead put more effort into Instagram, TikTok and YouTube. As these platforms are fast becoming the norm for younger generations - spending on average 3 hours per day on social media - they will likely continue to rise, regardless of trusting the chosen network. And as a result, the use of social media as a news source from older generations could further accelerate over time. 

Do we trust it?

Despite 44 per cent of Australian adults reporting they used social networks to keep up to date with news and current affairs, there are still reservations about the legitimacy and authenticity of the news published on social media. Organisations such as Newsguard are exposing the misinformation economy and leading the fight against misinformation across all new sources. 

Social media platforms still have a long way to go to clean up ‘fake news’ and sharing misinformation, however they also have the power to democratise opinion, allowing users to have their say and be heard. 

Meanwhile, polarised debates in social media are making publishers rethink the ways in which journalists should engage on social networks. After concerns about reputational damage, many publishers and news organisations have tightened their social media rules.

Looking ahead

Although social networks spread information faster than any other media, traditional media monitoring will continue to be an important part of a PR and comms strategy. And despite social media’s prevalence increasing in these strategies, it will continue to be a noisy space.

Whether it's a news article, tweet, blog or interview, it’s important to listen for a story that might be brewing. Using a social media intelligence platform will help put PR and comms professionals in control as it provides the launchpad to explore the news, see it in more detail and analyse what is uncovered.

" ["post_title"]=> string(35) "Is Social Media A Good News Source?" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(138) "Social media spreads information faster than any other media, but mistrust is high. What is the future of social media as a news source? " ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(34) "is-social-media-a-good-news-source" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2023-02-15 05:48:12" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2023-02-15 05:48:12" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(72) "https://www.isentia.com/latest-reads/is-social-media-a-good-news-source/" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" }
Is Social Media A Good News Source?

Social media spreads information faster than any other media, but mistrust is high. What is the future of social media as a news source? 

object(WP_Post)#9184 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(22315) ["post_author"]=> string(2) "38" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2023-02-13 03:35:44" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2023-02-13 03:35:44" ["post_content"]=> string(5061) "

Men continue to dominate the Australian media, from the newsroom to the boardroom. The Insights team has discovered that there is a severe under-representation of women in terms of media coverage.

The Women in Media (WIM) Gender Scorecard reports on the portrayal of women featured in the news and used as sources and experts. The scorecard reveals that men comprise 70% of sources quoted and a similarly high proportion accounted for expert sources.

As part of a research partnership, Isentia worked with WIM to publish the Gender Scorecard. WIM is a 6000-member organisation for women working in all facets of the media. The Gender Scorecard identifies core areas in media analysis (bylines, sources, experts) to monitor change and positive or negative shifts towards achieving parity for women.

Our Insights team analysed 18,346 press, radio and TV news reports over a 14-day period, 18-31 July 2022, in compiling the research. The Gender Scorecard defines male-female parity as ‘100’ with any number under 100 showing an under-representation of women. 

We also carried out other extensive analysis and methodologies such as:

  • In-depth analysis of content and programmes to identify the gender of journalists, reporters and hosts.
  • Individual categorisation and tagging of topics and content discussed.
  • Extensive assessment of content to identify the gender of spokespeople and experts that were quoted or paraphrased
  • Gathering the various gender parity rates in the sampled data and calculating the scorecard

More voices for women in media

Image of key findings of the Women in Media Gender Scorecard 2022 with graphics of diverse women on a blue background
Key findings of the Women in Media Gender Scorecard

Isentia’s ANZ Insights Director Ngaire Crawford noted, “this research highlights the 14-point gap that exists between male and female representation. Having an industry measure like the Gender Scorecard provides tangible data and transparency on the issue of gender representation in the media."

Notably, the latest Gender Scorecard of 86 out of 100 is up 8 points on the 2016 ranking, true parity with men remains a distant goal, according to WIM Strategic Advisor, Petra Buchanan.

The research shows that the inclusion, portrayal, and projection of women in Australian media had a way to go. And based on its current trajectory, the Gender Scorecard will not achieve media gender parity until 2034.

This timeline is too long to wait for equal representation of women as authors, sources and experts. She said immediate action is needed to meet this important goal of gender parity in the media.

“Action in key sectors including retail, sport, health, social issues and education will drive us towards achieving that objective sooner.”

Next steps for change

WIM and Isentia want to see and hear more women in the media and be called on for their leadership and expertise. More women should be commenting on issues and sharing their opinions as a fair representation of Australian society.

To learn more about the the Gender Scorecard and other aspects of the study, you can fill up the form below and download the full report.

" ["post_title"]=> string(36) "Women in Media Gender Scorecard 2022" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(133) "From major newspapers, to television, to radio, the Australian media is not a level playing field, with women still underrepresented." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(31) "women-in-media-gender-scorecard" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2023-03-07 06:32:16" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2023-03-07 06:32:16" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(32) "https://www.isentia.com/?p=22315" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" }
Women in Media Gender Scorecard 2022

From major newspapers, to television, to radio, the Australian media is not a level playing field, with women still underrepresented.

object(WP_Post)#5692 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(993) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "6" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2023-01-11 02:23:00" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2023-01-11 02:23:00" ["post_content"]=> string(8738) "

People constantly share opinions and news in a range of formats across traditional and social media. For governments, media monitoring is a critical service for any government department — helping with communication strategies and risk management. 

Government officials can also discover issues to prioritise when there are increased discussions in both traditional and social media. Ultimately, public opinion is critically important for the government.

Mass media and the government

Media monitoring is an essential service for governments. It helps with their daily operations including the ability to track political, government and legislative news across all jurisdictions.

Monitoring provides constituents with relevant content needed to act promptly to issues and better inform important decision making. It also gives governments fast access to commentaries and reports by journalists who analyse and give recommendations on pressing issues.

Media monitoring services sift through the mountains of content produced each day by newspapers, magazines, websites, radio and television broadcasters and social media channels. Based on keywords, the Isentia Platform collates, delivers and alerts officials with relevant coverage of issues affecting an organisation.

Government agencies use Isentia’s services to:

- Be alerted of a pressing issue, particularly during Budget announcements and elections

- Identify the media agenda of the day 

- Political accountability on what have been promised or declared 

- Gauge public sentiment to anticipate issues and prepare responses accordingly

- Help navigate the media landscape for crisis management

- Learn about an industry or issue by tapping into their media coverage 

- Media intelligence is critical to the government

Have you ever met a communications, PR or media professional who wasn’t busy? Government communications professionals work long and hard as they work with issues affecting the public. During parliament sitting week, our services are ready to help our government constituents. 

Governments and political leaders generate a massive amount of media coverage. So media monitoring becomes essential for government officials to sift through media noise and deliver content that matters.

For example, in the past 3 months alone across print, broadcast, online media, there have been*:

Graph image of mentions of political figures in the media
L-R Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton & Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles (Image sources: AFR, Getty & Fiji Village)

Benefits of having media monitoring service include being able to quickly respond to rising concerns from the public. Ministers, agencies and departments can promptly take note of public discussion of issues affecting their constituencies and portfolios. 

Petitions, parliamentary research reports, and lobbyists filings — politicians and government officials need to monitor all of them. Failing to monitor and measure the outcomes and effectiveness of important public information (and safety) campaigns would simply be inefficient. This is why capturing media content should be a part of information flowing into the government.

Media monitoring provides essential feedback to government communication professionals. For instance, media monitoring should be able to identify a keyword mention when a citizen calls a radio show. The media monitoring service will summarise the clip, and alert the department through text or emailed sound file within minutes.

In-depth Insights into media monitoring intelligence

Our award-winning and market-leading Insights team, combines the best data, technology and expert analysts to give you an added layer of intelligence for any government body. 

Powered by innovation and technology, we give you the best, most accurate and most relevant data for your organisation, campaigns and topics.

What does a partnership with Isentia bring? For more than 30 years, we have made media intelligence simple and fast for government officials. We know that the media environment is becoming increasingly complex to navigate, and we’re here to help – shaping conversations with insights to uncover new directions, help set strategies and take action. 

Why Isentia is key to government media monitoring

Trust and confidence – we get the right information to you at the right time, giving you the confidence to manage situations and know that you’re making informed decisions. 

Comprehensive coverage – we’re media agnostic. We know what media coverage matters to government clients of all sizes. From local members to federal politicians, we don’t shy away from the relevance of the media that could be the solution to an unresolved problem.

Availability – the media doesn’t stop and neither do we. We’re not just a platform, Isentia is an extension of your team, and we’re available 24/7. The Isentia App provides you with access on the go, and although the platform is intuitive and easy to use, our Account Management teams are always on hand.

Consistent and reliable priority service – our government contracts have the strictest SLAs in place. We rise to the challenge of delivering to the scale of the largest of government departments consistently – even our smaller council clients benefit from being treated with priority, based on the type of client they are. 

Training and support –  we offer a variety of training options to suit the needs of all clients, across every level of government. From onboarding to webinars and one on one training, we ensure you are always armed with the best knowledge of the tools available to you.

Onsite office in Parliamentary Press Gallery – bringing you political news and updates as they happen. Our team is onsite during Parliament sitting days to capture the news and announcements that are relevant to you. Get audio recording and transcripts from morning doors, press conferences and more within minutes so you can swiftly formulate your response.

" ["post_title"]=> string(51) "Why is media monitoring so critical for government?" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(141) "Critical media monitoring is a must have for any government type - providing government comms professionals with relevant and essential news." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(31) "media-monitoring-for-government" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2023-01-23 01:48:03" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2023-01-23 01:48:03" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(35) "https://isentia.wpengine.com/?p=993" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" }
Why is media monitoring so critical for government?

Critical media monitoring is a must have for any government type – providing government comms professionals with relevant and essential news.

object(WP_Post)#9182 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(8321) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "6" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2020-09-14 23:46:17" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2020-09-14 23:46:17" ["post_content"]=> string(29) "" ["post_title"]=> string(40) "Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(175) "The Royal Flying Doctor Service relies on Isentia’s suite of media intelligence solutions to inform their decisions and monitor their reputation across multiple geographies." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(40) "royal-flying-doctor-service-of-australia" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2020-11-08 09:02:05" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2020-11-08 09:02:05" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(31) "https://www.isentia.com/?p=8321" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" }
Case Study
Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia

The Royal Flying Doctor Service relies on Isentia’s suite of media intelligence solutions to inform their decisions and monitor their reputation across multiple geographies.

Ready to get started?

Get in touch or request a demo.