Are Press Mentions a Good Measure of Brand Awareness?

Have you heard the saying “all press is good press?” Well, most PR people would tell you that’s not true. To take it a step further, different types of coverage, even if the coverage is positive in sentiment, carry a varying amount of weight.

Which story would you prefer to secure for your brand? 

It’s a bit of a trick question, because both pieces are valuable. But, objectively the Moogsoft feature in the Wall Street Journal can move the needed further in terms of brand awareness. Consider the following: 

  • A larger portion of the story is about the Moogsoft brand
  • The publication has a larger audience
  • The website has a higher domain authority 
  • The piece explores a specific use case with measurable KPIs

But, no matter how hard your PR team works, the reality is that not all coverage can be a home run hit. And, the Chorus coverage listed above does have value. It lists Chorus as a leading brand on the forefront of digital transformation, aligns the company with aspirational brand Zoom, and reaches a target audience of marketing and sales professionals. Plus, consistent coverage in trade and local publications plays a key role in helping to secure top-tier coverage over time. That’s why we tout the importance of a healthy coverage mix: 50% news, 25% contributed content and 25% interviews and quotes.

Yes, mentions can be great for your brand…

Some would argue more mentions signals more brand awareness. Earlier this year when we analyzed the coverage of 25 companies on the SaaS 1000, we found that as total coverage grew, so did percent of coverage that was mentions. For the top brands we examined that secured more than 100 pieces of coverage, 90% of their coverage was mentions, as compared to just 65% for companies further down the list. 

“As a brand grows in recognition, it becomes synonymous with the category in which it falls. Take Gainsight for example: As the customer success space emerged in the early 2000s, and coverage of it began to climb, many authors used Gainsight as an example of a company helping to define the space, to provide context to readers. As competitors in the space popped up, the Gainsight name continued to be used as a point of comparison.”

…but, not all mentions are created equal 

If you’re not in the above camp, you might argue a disproportionately large percent of brand mentions as compared to other coverage types signal the lack of a developed PR program. If all you’re getting is mentions, are you working to secure larger features stories, or investing time into creating contributed content?

Mentions we value less than the above example from Chorus would include negative press due to a scandal, data breach or unhappy customer, and anything stemming from a flash in the pan announcement made simply to drum up noise. Usually, if it falls outside of those two categories, mentions can generally be viewed as positive. 

A note about share of voice 

One of the main reasons we deliver coverage quality metrics like outlet reach and domain authority along with share of voice reports is because share of voice doesn’t tell the whole story. PR Daily defines share of voice as “the percentage of all online content and conversations about your company or brand, compared to those of your competitors.” In other words, if you were to round up every article mentioning either your brand or your competitors and create a pie graph, how big of a slice would your brand get? That number is your share of voice. 

Remembering our example, if Moogsoft and Chorus were competitors, and all they secured in the time surveyed were the above pieces, their share of voice would be equal. Share of voice cares about volume of mentions, not article context, outlet quality or reach. A full feature in the Wall Street Journal counts for the same as a mention in a trade publication. 

While you shouldn’t build an entire PR program around increasing your mentions, it is certainly a metric you can track to support an argument of growing brand awareness. Looking at BLASTmedia’s client coverage from Q3 2020, about 20% was mentions, 25% was features, 25% was company news, 15% was quotes and 15% was contributed content — a truly balanced mix. 

So, when you think about what a successful PR program should look like, a solid coverage mix with an increasing number of mentions is a great one-two punch. For an analysis of your brand’s coverage mix, email me and ask about our media landscape analysis. 

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About The Author

Grace Williams

As BLASTmedia’s Senior Vice President, Grace oversees account services, working with agency leadership to understand and react to changes in the media landscape. Using agency data on open rates, placements and OKR completion, she leads the agency in developing best practices and benchmarks to ensure successful campaigns. Grace champions BLASTmedia’s pro bono efforts, supporting minority-owned or operated SaaS organizations, and is a founding member of the agency’s DEI committee. In her free time, Grace enjoys hiking through Indiana’s state parks and working on her 100-year-old bungalow in Indy.

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