As small business owners or marketers, we all know full well how important it is to put time aside for PR.
Investing in your public profile helps with generating inquiries, creates awareness and can lead to a variety of opportunities. I’m making sense, aren’t I? The thing is, it’s all well and good saying it and, even better, when you practice what you preach, but how do you know if it’s working?
There are some tell-tale signs I can speak about as a business owner that I know work for my company and our clients.
So, without further ado, I’ve pulled together a few tips that might be able to help you to answer this question.
You get a feeling…
No, we’re not about to sing the song ‘I gotta a feeling’ by the Black Eyed Peas. What a classic!
If you’re an astute CEO you’ll feel it in your water when PR is working. Contacts within your network will get in touch, friends and family will notice and hopefully, the phone will ring off the hook after your spot in the limelight.
The company environment will change a little too, and staff will feed off the success which can help with productivity. After all, good vibes count. So never shrug off a physical feeling, as this is definitely one of the signs.
Increased awareness at trade shows
When you go to a trade show following a bit of PR, it’s amazing how many of your peers will recognize you or your brand.
As you may have been under the radar, you’ll notice an increase in awareness. Even if it’s basic knowledge, it’s better than nothing. Make the most of this, as you never know who you will meet and what opportunities you could get.
Over time you might be able to speak at industry shows either on an expert panel or via a presentation to offer opinions, guidance on trends and your business journey. And this really will get you noticed.
Can we get your opinion on that?
If you’re working in the world of PR or marketing, you’re the one that’s always picking up the phone to journalists or dropping a line to a blogger. When the shoe is on the other foot it’s a great feeling – believe me.
If you’re seen as the expert, opportunities like guest blogs, advice columns, podcasts and potentially the chance to speak on TV or radio could come flooding your way.
Increased ranking of keywords
Now I promise not to get too technical, but this point is worth a mention.
Over the last few years, Google has released several updates  that have minimised the effects of easily gameable ranking signals, such as high volume, low-quality links, and links from directories. Natural editorial links from high-traffic authoritative websites are now one of the best ways to build links in 2017.
It’s also a way to see that your PR is working. In an industry where measuring results are notoriously difficult, the number of links acquired is a way to quantify your efforts and is a way to answer the question ‘is my PR working?’
If you have software like SEO Moz  or SEMrush  you can take this a step further. I appreciate not everyone will have this, but it might be worth investing in your company. By measuring your Domain Authority (DA) you can start to correlate the links coming from PR efforts to the authority of your website. And that really is a result that you want to see!
Check your referral traffic
If you’re looking for another tangible way to measure PR, try logging into your Google Analytics account. Traditional PR metrics such as readership estimates are guesses at best, and increased coverage will appear on a publication’s website, as well as in print.
By checking your referral traffic in Google Analytics, which you can find under ‘channels’ in the acquisition section of your account, you can see the source of any traffic that has come from a referring website. Alternatively, a tool such as Answer the Client  will do this automatically so you can clearly see how effective your coverage has been.
Don’t forget to keep a keen eye on your website hits on a month-by-month basis, as this intel can seriously help with future campaign planning and can identify areas that need some development or TLC.
What makes you different?
Your customers will have a clear idea of what you do depending on how many services they use. Off the back of some PR, this could help with giving your clients more visibility of your wider services and how they can best utilize your company.
And it’s important to gather customer feedback too. Don’t just think PR is about what the public thinks about you or your company. It’s also key to understand how your customers feel. Survey them on an annual basis to track changes of your brand and their perceptions over time.
If you want to know what makes you different or what you’re known for, a good place to start is to find out from those that pay the big bucks for your services.
There you have it… some top tips from me to you about the best way to track your PR success. If you can think of any other ways to measure PR campaigns why don’t you get in touch with us?
Raman Sehgal is the owner of ramarketing , an award-winning PR, design and digital agency that’s in the business of helping ambitious companies in the pharmaceutical industry get noticed. Away from the office, he is a blogger, speaker, guest-columnist and occasional university lecturer. You can follow Raman on LinkedIn and find out more about ramarketing  on its website.