Is a “Share of Voice” Right for Your Business?

05.06.2013 | Heather Campbell

Our main priority when we work with any client is securing results that help the business achieve its greater objectives as an organization. Helping clients find return on investment (ROI) on their PR expenditure is something we strive to do with every client in our portfolio.

Providing metrics around PR are a helpful way to understand where (and if) a company is getting significant ROI from its PR efforts. However, measuring results in PR can be logistically challenging, as results are often qualitative (i.e., did a recent editorial placement reflect messaging?) rather than quantitative. However, regardless of the nature of PR and communications, we do understand the importance of metrics in evaluating success.

An excellent tool to measure and analyze PR results can be a Share of Voice (SOV). An SOV typically measures a company’s “ownership” of a market or niche (Source: BurrellesLuce). In PR, you might hear this type of analysis referred to as a “share of conversation” or “share of discussion.” An SOV compares your business against competitors to determine how much of the buzz your business is getting, relative to its competitors. To accomplish this, an SOV might compare numbers of press releases, editorial mentions, awards won, speaking opportunities, blog posts, etc.

Although helpful in some cases, an SOV can be time consuming to create. At Communiqué, we recommend considering the following before deciding to create an SOV regularly:

Can you isolate a “universe”?

In order to create an SOV, you’ll need to gather and analyze the same types of metrics for both your business and your competitors’ businesses. To do this effectively, you’ll need to come to agreement internally on a few facets that will make up the “universe” you’re analyzing, whether they be number of press releases, number of editorial mentions, number of times an executive is quoted, etc. For some companies, measuring the number of some of these can be hugely time consuming (e.g., if your company or one of its competitors receives hundreds of editorial mentions every month). Consider this both when determining what elements your company’s SOV will contain, and if the effort of pulling together an SOV is worthwhile.

Do you have competitors that you can reasonably measure your business against?

The more companies you’re drawing statistics from, the more time an SOV will take to develop. Furthermore, some companies you may consider competitive with your businesses’ offering may receive much more media attention. For example, you might consider Microsoft a competitor to your business’ technology. However, in an SOV, Microsoft is not likely to provide a realistic standard for you to measure your business against. In order to realistically assess where your PR efforts are getting your business, you’ll want to compare your business against organizations of a similar size and offering. If you can come to an understanding internally on what these competitors will be, you’ll be better equipped to prepare an SOV.


Measuring results is important in all elements of a business. Although PR can be difficult to measure and analyze, there are ways to do so. One excellent way to understand the results of your PR efforts is measuring your companies “voice” against its competitors in an SOV. While this is a time consuming undertaking, if you answered yes to both of the above criteria, you might consider preparing an SOV to help measure the results and ROI you’re receiving on your PR efforts.




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Filed under: COMMUNIQUÉ PR, EXPERTISE, Monitor and Measure, PR trends

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