An excellent paper from the Institute for Public Relations outlines how PR professionals can use Web analytics to gain insight into the power of their media mentions, both earned and paid. This analysis goes beyond the traditional analysis of where articles appeared and dives deep into the effect of the media on actual business results.

Marketers have long valued the ability to gauge the value of an ad campaign by tying sales figures to advertising expenditures. With the explosion of social media and the move of mainstream media to the Web, the ability to measure specific results through Web analytics has become a reality. Now PR pros can better analyze and quantify results and measure them against other forms of promotion and marketing.

For the first time, data from Web analytics can provide direct correlation between business results and all forms of marketing, from online coupons and promotions, to search engine marketing, to paid and earned media. Now the effects of advertising and PR can be placed side by side and each type of marketing can be measured using the same metrics.

Want to know how different media coverage drives visitors to the Website, and what interaction they have when they are there? Not a problem. This paper does an excellent job of explaining what Web analytics are, what to look for when doing an analysis, and for a technical subject, is a remarkably good read.