One of the big benefits of the rise of PR metrics is that we can use them to develop more successful public relations strategies for clients.
In the pre-web days of newspaper and magazine cuttings, you could measure coverage in column inches and advertising value equivalent – but it was much harder to quantify PR value and results.
You were relying on a new customer telling the client: “Oh, I read about you in the …"
Now, PR measurement is more advanced and we can establish PR value using traffic to dedicated URLs or pages, click-through rates from key news portals and myriad other digital marketing metrics.
But quantifying coverage is not the same as evaluating it.
Inform the next stage
Evaluation moves on from saying: “Look at all these mentions” to asking: “What does this mean for our client, how does it impact on their business and how can it be used to inform the next stage of the campaign?”
Using what you have learned, you can understand what is going on among target audiences and stakeholders. This helps us tailor the next stage of activity.
The review process should really be as much forward-looking as it is reflective. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate to the client the business value of what has been achieved and how. Once you know the “how”, you can use that to refine public relations strategies.
If, for example, you have access to Google Analytics data, you can identify where a client’s web traffic is coming from and continue to target the websites that are providing the best click-through rates.
If there are certain industrial sectors or trade publications that crop up in customer referrals, again those are areas where efforts should be focused.
Look at what earned that coverage – what set it apart from work which did not achieve the same success, and how could a similar approach get great results in a different topic?
Are there any trends emerging in what succeeds best for the client? And are these trends reflective of their industry as a whole – or something in your public relations strategies that sets your client apart?
Ask what further opportunities are there to engage with the websites and publications that are helping shape the client’s success.
Do they have guest business columns that you could ghost-write? Is there an opportunity for a thought leadership blog? Is there an exclusive news story or feature you could tempt them with? Are there opportunities to provide them with richer media – videos or infographics, for example?
All great stories start with great questions. Interrogate your data ruthlessly and you’ll find more questions that need to be answered.
PR measurement doesn’t begin and end with raw data about coverage and how that affects your key performance indicators. It’s the interpretation of that data so that you can take the client on to the next stage of their business development that demonstrates PR value.
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