Share of Voice in PR: How to Calculate Your Brand SOV
 · 10 min read · April 17, 2024

Share of Voice in PR: How to Calculate Your Brand SOV

Gina Nowicki

PR success is best confirmed through careful PR measurement, and your brand’s share of voice is one of these key measurements. 

But what is share of voice exactly?

Share of Voice, also known as SOV, is the percentage of mentions your brand has of all brand mentions in your market.

In this article, we’ll dive into the definition of share of voice and discuss its importance to marketing strategy, then answer the big question of how to track share of voice for your brand.

If you’re looking for a tool to measure your Share of Voice, try Prowly’s Media Monitoring which delivers SOV analysis for free and see if it’s a match for you.

What is Share of Voice (SOV) in PR, and why does it matter?

We’ll begin by pointing out that we’re discussing PR share of voice. The share of voice for advertising is slightly different.

Share of voice for PR refers to unpaid, organic search online number of mentions of your brand in media websites, blogs, and discussion forums. Essentially tracking your brand visibility and brand awareness among your target audience.

Share of voice for advertising is still a measure of market share percentage, known by marketing metrics such as PPC share of voice and others. Thus, you focus on paid ads and PPC or pay per click. Calculating this marketing measurement mostly involves data found in Google Ads to help establish total share of market.

Why should you measure Share of Voice:

1. PR professionals measure share of voice online to gauge the effectiveness of their campaigns. Spotting increases in share of voice before and after a dedicated campaign helps point out successes.

2. They also use it to assess their general ranking in the competitive landscape

3. Comparing a brand’s share of voice against other market players determines which brand is leading. It reveals what aspirational competitors to follow and which industry topics get the most engagement from your demographic. 

4. Finally, it indicates which brand is gaining on you and stands a chance of taking over your narrative

This share of voice calculation in competitive analysis essentially points out which brands are leading the pack, setting their footprints on results pages or SERPs. It prompts your team to look into their latest marketing campaigns and decide whether the leading trends filling the hashtags are territory your brand should pursue.

So, how do PR pros measure share of voice? It’s calculated using a standard SOV formula.

Thankfully, it’s no secret how to find your share of voice. Continue reading and learn how to calculate it. It may lead to major shifts in your brand’s marketing and PR efforts.

If you want to learn more about PR measurement, catch up on PR Episodes 2024, where industry experts discuss PR metrics in-depth and offer practical insights and strategies to improve your results.

How to calculate Share of Voice

Let’s answer the million-dollar question now: how to measure the share of voice?

To appropriately calculate the share of voice, you need first to determine two things: 

  1. The total online mentions for your brand name during a given period
  2. The total mentions of all brands in your market during this same time

Then, you can refer to this common share of voice formula: the total number of your brand’s online mentions divided by the total number of brand mentions in your market. 

This allows you to understand the percentage of share of voice your brand has achieved in that time period, similar to calculations for impression share.

While the formula is simple, getting your hands on the calculation factors can be tricky. They involve searching and tallying mentions for not only your brand but all competing brands across multiple search engines.

We should note you’ll be working with best estimates versus concrete data.

This is doable, but obviously not easy, and where many PR professionals turn to outside share of voice tools. We’ll discuss those options in the next section.

However, if you’re committed to calculating share of voice on your own, you may want to ignore total market SOV altogether.

Instead, you may want to simply focus on how many mentions you are seeing against your closest competitor. You can use their total monthly mentions as a benchmark for your own brand mentions.

Don’t forget sentiment analysis

As a rule of thumb, you should be reviewing your brand share of voice monthly. And there’s an important note to add here: a sudden increase in brand mentions and website traffic may not always be a good thing.  

It’s absolutely crucial that you check the sentiment of your mentions too. Along with reach and engagement, sentiment rounds out your brand’s full online presence and gives you a complete picture of the discussion around your brand.

For example, an emerging PR crisis can be marked by a sharp increase in share of voice on LinkedIn or other platforms but with a purely negative sentiment. You’ll want to track this change as soon as possible.

That’s why it’s not enough to just measure your total social media share of voice. You need to analyze every mention and mark it as positive or negative.

Developing a successful PR strategy to conquer your industry becomes impossible if you lack knowledge about who is discussing your brand. Read our guide about how to do media monitoring effectively and learn best practices and tips.

Judging your Share of Voice successes

This is the point where many PR pros ask: what is a good share of voice percentage?

When you consider sentiment, you can now see why there isn’t an easy answer to this question. The answer depends completely on the type of discussion around a particular brand, as well as the total number and relevancy of its competitors.

The major benefit of Share of Voice tools 

You now know how to calculate share of voice and want to begin calculating it for your brand and all your competitors.

It also quickly becomes apparent that measuring your share of voice is extremely time-consuming and is in desperate need of optimization.

And we’re guessing you’re wondering if there is an automated analytics tool that can take care of this for you in real-time (share of voice calculator, anyone?). We understand–gathering all of that data through countless marketing channels by yourself is daunting.

So like most PR professionals, you start looking for a share of voice tool that will save you valuable time and get you what you need as quickly as possible.

If you find yourself in this position, you’ll want to turn your attention to media monitoring tools. They can measure share of voice and conduct share of voice analysis, including sentiment analysis. They essentially become that SOV calculator you’ve been dreaming of!

How to calculate Share of Voice with Prowly

Monitoring share of voice is best left to media monitoring tools. Among the tools to measure share of voice is Prowly’s PR automation software with handy SOV widgets.

We’re talking about measuring your share of voice quickly and easily.

How do you calculate your share of voice with an automated PR tool like Prowly?

Prowly tracks share of voice across online media for you. More specifically, delivering the ability to:

  • Focus in on your competitors’ brands and the keywords relevant to your company.
  • Choose custom filters like media type, sentiment, backlinks, and languages.
  • Track mentions in blog posts and in discussion groups like Reddit and Quora.
  • Select your preferred type of reporting graph, like bar or donut, and even put insights on a timeline to visualize changes by the day.
  • Track your brand experts and their current positioning, for example, the number of times your CEO was mentioned alongside your brand.

Essentially, Prowly’s media monitoring tool delivers the valuable SOV analysis you’ve been looking for.

It can easily calculate the number of times mentions occur for your brand and all competing brands.

Take a look at an example of Prowly share of voice calculation to see how the data is organized:

Using insights to increase Share of Voice in PR 

So, you’ve either decided to manually calculate the share of voice for your brand or are using an automated tool to gather the data.

What comes next?

With these share of voice metrics in hand, you can now begin to strategize how to increase your share of voice measurement against the competition.

💡The time-tested tactics we recommend trying:

  • Utilize your social media platforms and keep them up-to-date with frequent content that both provides value to your customers and nails home your brand messaging.
  • Consistently add new SEO-rich blog posts to your website that focus on current topics of importance for your current and potential customers.
  • Regularly engage with customer comments, either on social media or in discussion forums and engage with both positive and negative comments to build trust and loyalty.
  • Consistently reach out to the media with exciting story pitches around topics getting attention in your market. Even better, use an automated PR software tool to manage and deliver consistent media outreach.
  • Run paid ad campaigns to supplement your earned media efforts. Keep brand messaging consistent.
  • Share the expertise of your brand spokespeople, offering the media your brand leaders as experts in current trending topics.
  • Get customers more involved with your brand. For example, conduct online polls where customers can help influence small company decisions like voting on a style of dress to manufacture for a new season.

When building out these strategies, take note of what type of messaging and content works best for your competitors. There may be opportunities to build your own brand stories around these topics.

Looking for a way to measure your PR performance? Read our guide “PR Reporting: How to Measure Media Coverage”.

Start Media Monitoring now

At this point, you should be convinced of the value of share of voice in PR. You’ve learned what share of voice is, why it’s important, and how to calculate it. 

You’ve also heard how automated PR tools like media monitoring can help you gain share of voice insights more quickly than calculating them on your own.

And finally, you now know how getting your hands on share of voice data can be turned into planned marketing and PR tactics that will advance your share of voice strategy.

Ready to get started? We offer free demos and trials before we ever discuss pricing so you can start discovering your brand’s share of voice today.