What Is Share of Voice and Why Does It Matter?

Share of voice is a specific PR and marketing statistic designed to help you estimate what percentage of stories within a certain niche are associated with your brand. But how exactly do you measure share of voice? Why is it so important? And how can you optimize your strategy to improve it?

Share of voice

Share of Voice: The Basics

Share of voice is “the percentage of media stories within your sector, niche, or industry that include your brand.” It can tell you two things at once:

  1. Your media presence. First, share of voice can give you an idea of how much your brand is being mentioned in the industry overall. In most cases, more coverage is a good thing; you want share of voice to be as nominally high as possible to represent the maximum level of visibility you can achieve for your brand.
  2. Your competitive standing. Second, share of voice can tell you where you stand among your top competitors. If your share of voice is relatively high, that’s a good thing – but if you have a competitor with an even higher share of voice, you may want to adjust your strategy to try and compete more directly with them.

Why Is Share of Voice So Important?

Measuring and optimizing for share of voice is important for several reasons.

  • Visibility and familiarity. First comes brand awareness, and then comes brand familiarity. The more visible your brand is, the more people will become aware and eventually familiar with it. And the more people you have aware and familiar with your brand, the more customers you’ll likely acquire and retain.
  • Competitive dominance. Improving share of voice is both offensive and defensive, ensuring that your competitors don’t leave you in the dust. When an average person or business has a need for a business like yours, they’ll often turn to the one that comes to mind first. If you can consistently get an edge over your competitors in press coverage, your brand will be much more top of mind.
  • PR and marketing evidence. Share of voice is also a reliable metric that can tell you how your PR and marketing campaigns are performing. If you’re making a concentrated effort to produce more content, build your reputation online, and achieve greater visibility across a variety of PR channels, share of voice can tell you, quite objectively, whether you’re doing a good job.

How to Increase Share of Voice

So what efforts can you make to increase share of voice for your brand?

  • Define your objectives. The first step of the process is to define your objectives. What is your current share of voice? How do you want that figure to grow? What is your plan to get there? What other metrics are going to inform your courses of action and when will you celebrate reaching your goals?
  • Measure consistently. You need to measure share of voice consistently throughout your campaign, from the very beginning. At the start, you’ll need a basis of comparison, and throughout your campaign, you’ll need steady feedback to gauge the impact of your efforts.
  • Differentiate your brand as much as possible. It will be much easier to secure press coverage and get your brand mentioned if your brand is differentiated. If you and a competitor are practically indistinguishable, a journalist or writer from a third-party organization may not have much reason to mention both of you. If you offer a unique product, a lower price, or a different brand perspective, you’ll likely win more visibility.
  • Become a thought leader. Thought leadership is becoming a somewhat tired term, but it’s still an important concept to incorporate into your business. If you want people to pay more attention to your brand, you need to say something that’s truly different. Demonstrate your expertise, go against the grain, and don’t be afraid to stir up a little controversy with your viewpoints.
  • Do newsworthy things. Similarly, you should be motivated to do newsworthy things in your business as often as possible. Introducing new products and services, upgrading existing products and services, opening new locations, and partnering with other businesses are just a few examples here.
  • Prioritize quality press coverage. In pursuit of share of voice, many brands are tempted to publish as many stories as possible. But as with most marketing and PR applications, quality beats quantity. It’s better to have a smaller number of higher quality pieces, especially at the start of your campaign.

Share of voice isn’t the only PR metric that matters, but it is one of the most important ones. If you can gradually increase your share of voice through careful planning and strategic optimization, you’ll eventually gain the upper hand in your competitive landscape and acquire more leads and clients.


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