Measuring PR in Today’s Data-Driven World

It’s hard to believe 2016 is nearly half-way over, but as mid-year approaches, it’s helpful for PR pros to gauge what’s working and what needs improving to successfully finish out the year. Such analysis means going beyond traditional PR “measurement” and taking a deeper look to further capitalize on meaningful insights.

Measurement in PR takes many forms, often consisting of deliverables like monthly activity reports and annual PR plans. These reports should log such outputs as the number of media placements, bylined articles written, or award nominations and speaking proposals submitted, along with mapping out crucial PR activities against and progress toward client goals. Assessing PR activity at various intervals throughout the year enables agencies to effectively examine successes and failures for ongoing improvement – crucial building blocks of success for any marketing or communications effort.

Granular analysis of campaigns and communication initiatives enables PR teams to build stronger and more accurate long-term strategies, versus relying on instinct for short-term direction. By observing what happened with a holistic view and beginning to correlate activities, efforts and strategies to outcomes, PR teams can repeat what works, pivot from what doesn’t, and capitalize on the successes and failures of competitors and partners.

Today, PR pros employ many tactics to dig deeper and analyze how certain benchmarks and achievements impact the business, helping identify what patterns often occur across the most effective PR activities. For example:

  • In analyzing media relations and influencer outreach, what times of day or days of the week tend to elicit a greater response?
  • What’s the larger influence of a particular publication or reporter? Do certain media outlets get syndicated more widely than others? Are there reporters who get retweeted and followed by a larger portion of the client’s desired audience than another?
  • What percentage of a brand’s coverage gets amplified across social networks, and which social networks play a greater role in driving interest in the brand?
  • Is there a pattern to show that certain key messages resonate more effectively or drive more referrals or leads?
  • When publishing white papers, do website visits and inbound leads increase, and if so, which white paper topics tend to perform the best?
  • Are brands getting the most out of each speaking opportunity or conference investment?
  • What customer or brand stories drive the most media exposure and accolades?

Taking time to analyze patterns and correlate data enables PR pros to look beyond the obvious and improve the impact and ROI of key messages, thought leaders, influencer strategies, social media efforts and more. PR teams that analyze activity can bring greater value to clients or employers, charting the course for greater impact and even justifying (an increased) budget.

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