“In the past, the notion of measuring engagement with editorial content was largely theoretical. Circulation and readership figures were treated as proxies for engagement,” say Smith.
But for online PR, Google tools provide hard numbers. Parker and Smith define reach as the number of views that a page receives and engagement as the amount of time that a person spends on a page.
They find that visitors spend a widely varying amount of time on different news sites and predict how many words they are likely to have read per page.
“[…] as a general rule, specialist titles seem to have lower numbers of visitors and page views, but tend to have far higher engagement with content,” says Smith.
There is one exception. News sites such as Reuters that act as a syndication service have a high level of reach and engagement.
The lessons for online PR are clear.
- Don’t chase sites with large circulation numbers as engagement is likely to be low
- Plan your campaigns and target content at sites where your audience is engaged
- The higher up a story you get your content the more likely it is to be read