How to make print press coverage count

I can still recall the first time I secured a comment in the Sunday Times for my first boss as a travel PR. Quoted in a column, which that day focused on the surge in fly-to-let holiday homes, his name and that of the company (it’s url too, if I recall correctly), were there in black and white. Print press coverage at its finest in his eyes.

Recently, in a Saturday edition of The Daily Telegraph, we secured a client mention and case study in a double page spread of the Property supplement. When the piece landed online they’d neglected to include the client name, let alone a link and our hearts sank. But come Monday and a conversation with the client, they’d already had two phone enquiries specifically referencing the article. It was like we’d found a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Vanity metrics

Back to that Sunday Times article I mentioned at the top of the post. It ticked many boxes:

  • Brand mention

  • Co-founder name-checked

  • URL included

  • Intelligent comment provided that tied back to the service provided by the business

  • Major Sunday broadsheet read by the business’s target audience

  • Inclusion in a column not ‘just’ a travel round-up

  • Very happy, smiley boss

Alas, these are largely vanity metrics.

The problem with print press coverage

There was just one problem: we were at the whim of the team on the phone and a dropdown menu on a web form to determine whether it had resonated sufficiently with anyone to either send a booking enquiry or enquire about listing their own holiday home on the site.

Fast forward 10+ years and very little has changed except that it matters much, much whether we can measure the benefit of the feature.

The value of print press coverage

Print press coverage has taken a bit of a bashing in recent years because:

  • it’s tomorrow’s chip paper

  • the reader can’t click on it and take immediate action

  • the latter makes it almost impossible to measure

As such it carries a reputation for ‘vanity coverage’ - looks great but so what.

However, when it’s something as specific as this particular article - holiday home ownership and letting your holiday home - and when your customer service team are clued up to asking how people heard of your business, it pays tangible dividends.

If you’re going to invest in PR, invest in ways to measure it. And agree with your PR agency how they will measure and present the outcomes.

You wouldn’t invest in a website without Google Analytics, so why invest in anything else without the ability to understand the outcomes?

Make print press coverage count

One very quick, easy and valuable way you can extend reach, the value and the outcomes from PR is through your social media.

Online press coverage

Hurrah, you have a link - you can share the article quickly and easily. You can add further comment, point fans and followers to the article and/or to your website.

If there was a link in the online coverage you can monitor traffic from that publication and set Google Analytics goals around it too. Track away!

Print press coverage

There may well be a url included in the copy - so do keep an eye on your website analytics to see if any traffic pours in.

Then it’s time to get clever without breaching copyright laws. You might be able to capture someone reading the publication in a photo and use that to show-off the coverage on your social media channels.

You absolutely want to get your PR to thank the journalist who wrote the article. You can do this publicly in a social media environment too, if they hang out there.

You’d be wise to find a way to showcase your press coverage ‘as featured in’ on your website.

And wouldn’t your email newsletter recipients love to know that a respected third party endorsed your service, venue, product or offering?

Lesson of the day? PR and press coverage doesn’t stop when the feature appears.

PR is our marketing specialism - we’re here if you’d like to chat about PR consultancy, project or retained activity.