Chapter 6: Connecting & Measuring PR and Content Marketing ROI

When all of your content marketing and public relations efforts converge and you have a well-oiled machine, all efforts support, complement and can scale with one another. Here's how you put a framework in place to make that happen.

Count Your PESOS

You know why it's important to implement content marketing and PR, now it's time to understand how to connect them and how to measure them.

Introducing the PESO Model in a content marketing context

Putting my teaching hat on, it's time to (re)introduce one of my favorite practitioner models: PESO.

A PESO chart is really easy to understand if you lay it out visually. The concept is not new, but communicators rarely use it when planning. PESO stands for Paid-Earned-Social and Owned media. It represents all of the channels and vehicles you can use to reach your publics, your audiences. At the core of this model is the concept that brands themselves are becoming the publishers and curators of great content Tweet this! . When done correctly, it looks like this (below):

See the heart in the middle? That's the sweet spot. That is when all of your content marketing and public relations efforts converge and you have a well-oiled machine. No more planning and executing in silos. No more one-offs. All efforts support, complement and can scale with one another.

(A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post on why brands should leverage both content marketing and PR to drive traffic, generate awareness and boost sales. Just in case you missed it, you can read it on the Write2Market blog; it’s called PR vs. Content Marketing.)

How does the PESO Model work?

Now, to understand how the PESO Model functions, let's pretend you're a B2B retail technology company, Xzell, and you're about to launch a new product line. Your company is also trying to raise a second round of venture capital. Additionally, your CEO is a super successful serial entrepreneur, he is charismatic and oftentimes mentors other entrepreneurs/start ups. Your PR and content marketing goals are to (1) drive traffic to the site, (2) position your CEO as a business leader worth investing in/thought leader, and (3) sales of your retail technology. Your marketing team gets together and plan a buch of activities, and your PR team gets together to plan a bunch of activities. When mapped out, it should look like this:

PESO model
Based on my above example, company Xzell's bylined articles would raise awareness and drive traffic to the website because these articles would be shared online, linked backed to your website, and shared via your social channels. Perhaps you would even print out the article and place it in your press kit for when you sponsor that annual conference that is listed under the 'Paid Media' section.

  • The idea here is that every output, whether it is a function or PR or content marketing is all interrelated Tweet this! and repurposed. And, of course, all outputs should have an online home, preferably on your website, a content hub if you will, but that's a lesson for another day.
  • Take the PESO model, and put your own paid, engaged, social and owned media on it, like this:PESO model Broken out

Measuring Your 'Converged Media Sweet Spot'

Measuring PR and content marketing as stand alone efforts present their own challenges. Both historically have been difficult to measure from a quantitative standpoint. Measuring the efficacy of content market has stumped marketers because content cannot be measured with a single metric.

No one data point can successfully or satisfactorily tell you whether your program is working. PR measurement has also seen its share of challenges, less than stellar metrics (AVEs, impressions calculations, etc.) have been used to show ROI. In both instances, vanity metrics were used to demonstrate value and overall campaign performance, failing in its attempt to highlight its impact on the bottom line.

As a result, the conversation on implementing or increasing content marketing and PR efforts [budget] has fallen on deaf ears. You can change it–but not by pretending you can fully measure the impact. You can measure outcomes, not detailed, minute impacts. Tweet this!

The outcomes, however, are most certainly there. Just this month, Deloitte Digital released a study of 3000 shoppers. It showed that shoppers who are using digital devices are more likely to spend more money than those who don’t. Here’s a long quote from the Wall Street Journal that makes the point:


Now digital technologies are playing an even more profound role in the shopping experience as they increasingly help to inspire and guide it. Consider the new homeowner browsing organizing solutions on Pinterest, the bride-to-be seeking items to add to her wedding registry, and the high school student preparing for her prom by checking out makeup tutorials on YouTube. All of those scenarios have the potential to spur shopping, whether online, in-store, or both.

Indeed, digital influence—the degree to which digital technologies influence in-store sales at some point during the shopping journey—is growing at a healthy clip. According to new research from Deloitte Digital, consumers' digital activities are expected to influence 64 percent, or $2.2 trillion, of retail store sales by the end of this year, a 15 percent increase over 2014, when 49 percent, or $1.7 trillion, of in-store sales were driven by consumers' use of digital technologies.¹ Three years of research shows digital technologies influencing ever larger shares of in-store sales annually.

So again, measuring outcomes and impact has been  a bumpy road, but with every aspect of business being driven by data, it was only inevitable for content marketer and PR pros alike to embrace analytics; gleaning insights and adjusting PESO trajectory accordingly. In fact, what communicators have found is that you must measure an array of metrics that feed into PESO:

  1. track consumption,
  2. track sharing,
  3. track leads and
  4. of course, track sales.

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    At Write2Market, we've actually taken it a step further for our clients by providing analytics, insights and measurement solutions for PR and content marketing performance on our Triple A Industry Leadership dashboard. Triple A, which tracks Awareness, Access to decision makers, and Awards, provides clients with a comprehensive snapshot of the PR and content marketing activities driving business objectives, as well as the insights to understand the media placements (earned or owned) that are achieving specific company aims. Our dashboard displays the performance of our efforts, and gives a comprehensive view of the most meaningful and actionable PR audience and value data, measuring Awareness, Access, and Awards:

    When we developed Triple A, we wanted to deliver actionable and meaningful information. When your executives understand what is working and what is not, they can increase effort on certain aspects, eliminate others, and make impactful budget allocation decisions for future PR campaigns. For W2M team members, it gives us the insight to see what's delivering value for the our clients, allowing us to adjust accordingly as well. Everyone wins. The point here, is find a set of solutions that works for your company–and begin “with the begin.” Commit to tracking PESO and your pesos will add up into colonies of influence.

    From awareness building and audience engagement, to customer preference and advocacy, connecting your PR and marketing with a PESO model will allow you to analyze the data each effort provides in so many ways, more accurately determining which campaigns are successful and resonating with audiences.

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