In the Digital World, Utilizing Data is Key to Effective PR
Public relations specialists are generally more known for their writing and speaking skills than fluency with numbers and spreadsheets. However, the 21st century media environment has increased the need for a data-driven approach to public relations.
To some extent data has always existed behind the media curtain. But now, it’s even more important to know exactly how audiences are consuming information.
SEO metrics, social media analytics, and website traffic are just a few of the key performance indicators needed for PR professionals to effectively serve their clients.
Tracking an organization’s online following has become a mainstay of public relations. And tools and methods for doing so have only increased as the world becomes more connected through the Internet.
Companies like HubSpot, SEM Rush and Sprout Social track advanced analytics metrics such as follower and engagement growth on social media, as well as website traffic metrics and other trends. PR professionals can also use platforms like Critical Mention and TVEyes to track how many different eyeballs a story received on television or radio – and the story’s monetary value.
For PR professionals, using tools like these is essential to a growth-oriented digital strategy on behalf of clients. In addition, data can be used to dictate which earned media placements you target; data points to consider could include how many daily impressions an online news site receives, or how often an outlet’s stories are reshared on social media.
Even within the scope of paid content, data is key to targeting. For example, advertising metrics on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter allow users to determine their advertising budget based on how many people they can reach across a given geographic area.
All of this leads up to the big question: how do PR professionals effectively use the data they collect? Because in the end, data is only compelling in public relations when it’s used to achieve an end goal.
For example, if you are looking to grow an organization’s social media following, setting up a tracking system for industry competitors would be helpful for setting goals and learning best practices for the platforms. And if they are being outperformed, it’s key to find out why.
Are they tweeting a certain amount? Posting on LinkedIn at certain times of day? Spending money on Facebook ads? Regardless of a competitor’s tactics, staying on top of strategies to drive engagement, and deploying them, is a foundational piece of any digital campaign.
Similarly, data is essential to demonstrating concrete results to clients. Displaying how many impressions a placement receives in a certain media outlet, and the value of those placements, can be accomplished via any number of tools. Proving high levels of engagements online can be an encouraging sign to a client that an idea received traction and delivered a good ROI.
At Xenophon Strategies, we understand that a data-driven approach is critical to influencing the media and other target audiences. Learn more about our work at www.xenophonstrategies.com.