Press Release Engagement: When Your Reader Takes “The Next Step”

A few weeks ago, we added the Instant Access button to our popular ReleaseWatch reports, providing immediate access to the comprehensive Visibility Reports press release measurement reports  PR Newswire provides with each message we distribute.  At the same time, we also started sending a “Five Day Reporting Snapshot” via email, to make it easier for everyone to see the results their releases are generating.

(Related reading:  New Press Release Measurement Reporting Features!)

Press release engagement, defined

In addition to simply telling you how many times your press release was read (which we call “views,” we also summarize the number of times your readers took a “next step.”  We call those actions “engagement.”

Simply put, when someone reading your press release on PR Newswire.com takes another action with the release, we consider that to be engagement.     So what are these other actions readers can take when reading a release on PR Newswire.com?

  • Clicking through on an embedded anchor text link within the press release
  • Clicking on a URL within the press release
  • Sharing the press release on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+ using any of the sharing buttons we embed on each release page
  • Printing or e-mailing the press release
  • Bookmarking the story on sites like StumbleUpon, Digg and Delicious, using the buttons embedded on the release page
  • Embedding the press release in a blog post or other web page, using the Embed button on the release page

Engagement actions are important, which is why we call them out separately within the press release reports we provide.  When one of your readers takes one of these next steps, they get closer to the ultimate objective of your press release, whether that is selling a product, generating support for a cause, encouraging downloads of a white paper or driving traffic to a web site.

The Engagement Index

On the Five Day Snapshot, you’ll also see a reference to the “Engagement Index.”   This index is designed to give you an idea of how your messages are performing when compared to press releases issued by other organizations within the same industry category.   While these categories are fairly broad – the “retail” category will group giant retailers and small mom & pop stores together – they do a good job of giving you some feedback on how your messages are faring within your sector.

Index scores range between 0 and 100, and 50 is an average score.   Scores above 50 are highlighted in green on the reports, and scores below 50 are colored yellow.

An important sample of audience reaction & message effectiveness

While the reports just capture the activity your releases generated on one web site (PR Newswire’s), the information is nonetheless informative, and provides a solid indicator of how audiences responded to your messages.

The index scores are especially useful when you log into the Online Member Center, and access your entire Visibility Reports dashboard, which aggregates all of your press release reports in one place.   (The Instant Access link only provides access to the report for a single release – to access all of you .) When you’re in the dashboard, you can see clearly which releases generated higher engagement scores.  Why is doing this important?  Simple.  Comparing the engagement results of different releases will help you develop an understanding of what sort of content your audience prefers – and what content is most effective.  Taking the analysis a step further and looking at the activities the releases generated can give you more insight into how your audience is using the press releases you issue.

We think engagement is important to think about, because ultimately, engagement describes whether you captured your audience’s attention, and inspired them to act.  It’s a far more involved measure than many, but we think it’s one of the most important, because it helps you understand whether or not a message was effective in inspiring action, not just acquiring eyeballs.

Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media.

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