Introducing StoryScore: BLASTmedia’s Formula for Coverage Quality at Scale

Hooray! You landed a quality earned media placement. But now you have to explain its value to stakeholders. You know the hard work that went into the accomplishment, but that effort doesn’t pay the bills. According to a 2023 Muck Rack survey, 66% of PR professionals believe that producing measurable results is key to proving PR value. That response rate is higher than securing more coverage (57%).

If you’re facing questions like, “Is our PR program good?” You’ll need to talk about how to measure results in a way your boss, team and other stakeholders can understand. So, let’s talk about it!

Not all coverage is equal, and despite the cliche, not all press is good press. Does a company mention carry the same weight as a positive, in-depth feature on an important launch? Nope. 

That’s why BLASTmedia created StoryScore to help you quantify the power and variation of media coverage at scale. 

StoryScore is a scale from 1 to 8 (or higher, more on that in a moment). This single number can bring the reporting conversation down to a granular level — “what are the components of this piece that are most impactful?”— or zoom it out to the big picture: “is this a good article?”

What’s a good StoryScore? 

  • Premier Tier (Score of 8 or more): This category represents the pinnacle of media placements, showcasing exceptional quality and impact — like features or quotes in Tier 1 outlets. 
  • Spotlight Tier (Score of 4-7): Highlighting good coverage and demonstrating a solid PR program, “Spotlight” placements are worthy of attention and recognition — contributed content in a trade pub, for example — but fall short of the premier category.
  • Highlight Tier (Score of 1-3): This tier covers smaller wins like mentions or earned press release pickups, which still contribute positively to the overall PR strategy.

How does this number fit into standard reporting metrics like Share of Voice (SOV)? StoryScore emphasizes quality, whereas SoV focuses on quantity. If you have one piece of coverage compared to a competitor’s 10 pieces, the competitor will have a much higher SoV. But what if your single piece is an in-depth feature and the competitor’s placements all mention an old data breach? We use SoV here at BLASTmedia, but this hypothetical situation illustrates why SoV doesn’t tell the whole story. It’s not all about quantity! 

So, how do you quantify the quality of these placements? PR pros often like to joke that they don’t love to work with numbers. So we’ll keep this simple. 

First, rate the type of media placement from 1-5.

  • 5 points for features.
  • 4 points for quotes.
  • 3 points for contributed content and podcast interviews.
  • 2 points for paid opportunities, like Forbes Council or FastCo executive boards.
  • 1 point for mentions and non-wire distro PR placements.

Now, we dig into those small nuances that matter but may be challenging to convey. 

  • Land the win in a top-tier publication? Add 4 points. 
  • Did the piece also include a customer? Add 3 points.
  • Was there a backlink to your website, or did the placement include your company’s proprietary data or market research? Both are valuable. 2 points each. 
  • Wait, was this piece positive or negative? If it was a negative story, deduct 5 points. 

A brief sidenote: BLASTmedia defines a top-tier pub as one that maintains a Domain Authority of over 70 and has more than 1 million unique monthly visitors (UVM). 

Once tallied up, specific scores for some placements may exceed 8 points. That’s the sign of a great article, but as a reminder, scores from 4-7 are solid wins and likely the most common.

StoryScore in action

A BLASTmedia client recently secured 30+ pieces of coverage for a funding announcement, a campaign we deemed a success. But, was it? We ran coverage through our StoryScore, and the average score of each piece was a 6. That’s smack in the middle of our Spotlight tier, validating good campaign performance. 

Here’s what went well: 

  • The biggest win was a feature in TechCrunch, a tier-1 publication that included a backlink to the client’s website. This piece scored an 11. 
  • Other placements hitting a StoryScore of 8 or more include features in a local business pub and an enterprise technology trade with a customer quote and backlink.
  • While we also secured coverage in WSJ Pro VC, Fortune and Axios (4 points each for top-tier wins), these hard-won hits are mentions (only 1 point) and don’t include backlinks or a named customer. 

Armed with these results, we brainstormed how to make it even better next time, like how pitching the news as an exclusive may have helped us secure an additional tier-1 feature.

Want to try this out yourself? A pen, paper and a calculator aren’t necessary. We’ve created a ChatGPT-based coverage analyzer (for ChatGPT+ users) to help you calculate a StoryScore based on your coverage links and a few questions.

If you aren’t subscribed to ChatGPT+ and want our team to calculate a StoryScore for you, email Lindsey Groepper, BLASTmedia President, and let’s chat more about modern PR measurement!

BLASTmedia Survey Reveals B2B Marketers Bullish on Brand Spend in 2024, See Building Trust as a Top Priority

INDIANAPOLIS — March 28, 2024 — A new survey conducted by BLASTmedia, the only PR agency dedicated to B2B SaaS, reveals B2B marketers’ top PR priorities in 2024. The data provides insight into how marketers measure brand spend ROI and which marketing tactics are losing value.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • “Establishing more trust” was marketers’ top priority for investing in PR, followed by differentiating from competitors, driving product awareness, and showcasing company values
  • Web traffic, backlinks and conversions (40%), and quality of media coverage (39%) were the top ways marketers measure the ROI of brand awareness spend.
  • More than one-third of marketers (35%) believe email marketing is becoming less impactful with target audiences.
  • Nearly 80% of marketers anticipate their brand awareness spend will increase in 2024.

The survey was conducted with over 100 marketers, from individual contributors to C-level working in companies of <50 to >5000 employees.

“PR has evolved far beyond press releases and product updates. Marketers are realizing the importance of having a consistent, meaningful PR program that establishes trust and lays the foundation for genuine connection,” said Lindsey Groepper, BLASTmedia President. “However, traditional PR measurement fails to recognize the nuances of modern PR efforts. To determine a program’s effectiveness, a modern PR program needs more comprehensive metrics to acknowledge the quality of coverage versus quantity metrics like Share of Voice.”

In recognition of this variability and the growing complexity of B2B SaaS PR, BLASTmedia recently debuted StoryScore, a measurement tool designed to quantify the varying impact of B2B media coverage at scale. StoryScore gives marketers a simple yet effective rating scale to categorize media coverage into three distinct tiers: Premier, Spotlight, and Highlight. While PR drives immense value across various organizational functions, no two marketers measure this impact in the same way, making PR measurement a long-standing discussion for marketing and communications professionals. StoryScore aims to add clarity to this discussion.

For more information on StoryScore and how it provides a more nuanced understanding of the value of PR efforts, visit the BLASTmedia blog or evaluate media coverage for yourself with BLASTmedia’s ChatGPT-based coverage analyzer, now available for ChatGPT+ users.

SaaS PR Metrics: Considering Coverage and Outlet Quality

Trends suggest that public relations will be a data-driven function in 2020; however, for years many PR agencies have skirted by with minimal metrics — securing media coverage and then simply handing a list of placement links or clips to a client before moving on. Today, marketers — especially marketers at SaaS brands — expect more.

Measuring PR Coverage and Outlet Quality

PR metrics, like share of voice, and digital marketing metrics, like referral traffic, help fill in the gaps but are far from the be-all and end-all. Any time we’re discussing media coverage with clients — be it competitor and brand coverage in a media landscape analysis or coverage secured for the brand ongoing — we also consider a variety of metrics that speak to the quality of coverage and the outlet where that coverage was secured. These metrics include:

  • Type of publication where the coverage was secured — national, trade or local
  • Readership and Domain Authority (DA) of the publication
  • Type of coverage — contributed content, feature, mention, quote or press release posting

As a result, when prospects and clients ask us questions like, “What can I expect from a PR program?” we can provide data-based answers based on our roster of SaaS clients. While this dataset provides a great comparison point for SaaS brands working with our agency, it lacks a control group. That got us wondering: What does this kind of data look like when the SaaS brand hasn’t worked with BLASTmedia?

An Analysis of Fastest-Growing SaaS Brands

To further understand how SaaS companies are using media relations to generate press, our team decided to analyze media coverage from a set of fast-growing SaaS companies outside of our client base. For the purpose of our first exercise, we selected 25 of the top companies listed on the SaaS 1000. During the analysis, we classified all press coverage — excluding pay-to-play coverage, such as newswire postings, market research reports and sponsored content — by the same metrics we use to evaluate client coverage.

Some results were what we expected while others — like the fact that less than 3% of coverage reviewed in the analysis was made up of quotes — were a bit out of left field.

Curious what we uncovered? Download our analysis to learn more about coverage and outlet quality as a SaaS PR metric and how fast-growing SaaS brands stack up.

3 Traffic Metrics to Show PR Measurement Success

If there’s a greater white whale than PR measurement success in the marketing world I am not sure what it could be. For years marketers have been throwing PR in the “brand” category with little thought to how it helps the bottom line. But times are changing as CMO’s and VPs of marketing are now being tasked to contribute — and attribute — their spend directly to the bottom line. Continue reading “3 Traffic Metrics to Show PR Measurement Success”