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How one PR article led to a 900% increase in website traffic – no, I’m not kidding

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Updated By: Julia Brolin on Thu, Apr 11, 2019

Trust me, I’ve heard it all. Every excuse in the book not to engage with PR efforts.

“PR doesn’t directly create leads.”
“It’s too expensive.”
“We just don’t see the ROI on our investment.”
“How exactly do I measure it? Impressions?”
“PR is just a ‘feel good’ line item.”
“It’s too risky. I don’t trust reporters.”

For those of you who think PR is a waste of time and money … I’m about to prove you wrong

Thanks to PR efforts, within 48 hours a startup company’s website sessions jumped 929 percent ... Yes … you read that right … 929 percent in two days. About half of that traffic was direct with the other two biggest contributors being social media and organic. The additional traffic and backlinks helped increase the company’s authority on Google giving them a higher ranking for SEO.  

The biggest measurable ROI comes with a dollar amount. The startup is able to attribute a handful of new customers directly to PR efforts.

Curious to Know How We Made it Happen? Keep Scrolling

People in chairs holding up paper depictions of blank thought bubbles

In my experience, a strong PR strategy only has the potential to enhance your marketing efforts. The numbers above were thanks to one KARE 11 TV news story, a Minneapolis outlet. In the following weeks, the story was picked up by WJON Radio, made the cover of St. Cloud Times, was featured on KNSI radio during a live broadcast, and a spread in Twin Cities Business Magazine.

So why did those articles have such a positive impact? Here are a few reasons why.

  • People want to hear stories about people – not things, products, or companies. We linked the product to a newsworthy topic that is relevant and relatable. I’m a strong believer in the power of storytelling. A successful PR strategy is not possible without one. Not sure if your story is “good enough”? We can help with that.

  • The company invested in marketing first. The client’s website was set up to capture leads and help potential buyers move down the funnel. There were CTAs throughout every page, and they had a plethora of additional information to educate their audience — not sell to them.

  • The power of social media. All these articles were featured on the new outlet’s social channels, the company’s channels, by individuals within the company, by community members, supporters, you name it. Even months after the URLs have been published, we still continue to share on social and promote in different ways.

  • Move it or lose it. When the opportunity came knocking, the company did not think twice about the impact. They were able to act quickly and be flexible to accommodate the reporters because they knew the opportunities may not come back around later. They took a risk, and it majorly paid off.

  • The work didn’t stop at the URL. Once the story went live, that’s when the real work and marketing tactics came in. This company has been able to use the PR articles as sales tools, for third-party validation, in blog posts, to populate a newsroom on their website, in paid efforts, and on social media.

Still think PR is not measurable?

Thanks to nifty tools like Hubspot and Google Analytics, measurements like impressions are irrelevant and, dare I say, obsolete. More and more we are able to measure the impact of PR and how earned media has the potential to lead to actual leads. Metrics we can use to measure PR vary from domain authority, website traffic, engagement, the list goes on.

I’m a big fan of Cision which is a tool PR pros use to measure the reach, engagement, and conversion of earned media. It also provides audience insights like demographics and geographic location which helps on the marketing side as you can identify and target people in specific locations talking about relevant topics.

For being a “words” person, the proof that PR works is in the numbers.   

Did I change your mind? Learn more about PR opportunities with Leighton Interactive here.
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Julia Brolin

About The Author

Julia Brolin

Storytelling is at the core of everything I do. As a former journalist, I know from experience that people want to hear stories about people, not businesses or products. I have a knack for breaking down complex topics into simple, easy to digest, and actionable content. Stories sell. My passion to find and share those stories using inbound marketing tactics works in our client's favor. My story? I'm a mom, a marketer, and Moscow Mule drinker.

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