Public relations is undoubtedly an art, but it’s also a science. Knowing how to collect, analyze, and interpret data allows you to identify key PR metrics rather than rely on subjective determinations of success.
While all the PR data that’s now available to us via the PRTech ecosystem may seem daunting to those who are not well-versed in analytics, proving the value of PR efforts doesn’t have to be a headache.
Here are three ways PR professionals can get more comfortable with data even if they don’t ogle over analytics.
1. Determine a focus before viewing PR data.
Before digging into PR data, think about your customer journey and the points along that journey that are purposefully affected by PR. For example, if your goal is to raise brand awareness, social media amplification and website traffic are key to track. Focus on the metrics tied to those areas.
This will give you a greater understanding of the PR data you’re viewing in the first place and how it supports your company’s business objectives. Focusing on specific areas from the beginning will also make reporting easier later on.
2. Allow the data to guide your discovery.
When data contradicts your suspicions of what’s working and what’s not, you might have a tough time accepting it as true. I like to call this PR data bias.
When the data tells you something surprising, dig into these points of interest further to discover insights that can be applied to future work. Chances are there will be a lot that surprises you if you’re just beginning to look at PR data and website analytics more regularly.
3. Incorporate use of data into your workflow.
This one seems obvious, but it’s an important reminder. The more you view data, the more comfortable you’ll become using it and creating data-driven PR strategies. The eventual goal is to create a cyclical process of campaigning, measurement, analysis and generation of insights which can inform your next campaign.
Once you change your perspective on measurement from “reporting results” to “a guide for next steps,” the entire process will become exciting. (I promise!)
The thing about PR reporting is that it’s really fun when you have positive results to share and the opposite when you don’t. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Even when a campaign doesn’t work out the way you’d hoped it would, valuable learnings always lie between the lines.
That’s why, this week, we’re sharing our top posts focused on reporting the qualitative and quantitative metrics that matter most to your CEO, CMO, or head of communications.
The first one, “Common Math Mistakes PR People Make,” identifies a few “problem reporting areas” that many of us, number-savvy or not, fall victim to. For example, reporting percentage growth can imply radically different things for small as opposed to large businesses. Read more here to make sure you’re not committing these communications faux pas.
And as much as we’d like to think we’ve nailed how to report PR results to the C-suite, chances are we still have a bit to learn given that AVE and impressions no longer rule the PR world. In order to report the metrics that matter, consider how the person you report to sees PR. Do they understand that all content is essentially part of your company’s narrative, or would it be beneficial to explain to them the idea of paid, earned, shared and owned media first? The “70% noise reduction rule” will help you with this too. Read the rest here.
Lastly, this article shares a few mini case studies about how Bayer Corporation and The Coca-Cola Company effectively measure and report internal communications results. These brands have comms down to a science, and you should too. Check it out on Forbes.
When it comes to marketing analysis, public relations has been known for output — media relationships developed, placements gained, awareness garnered, and perceptions changed. In-depth analysis and measurement of PR outcomes is a fairly new practice. Thus, standards around this measurement are still in development.
Often, when a PR professional views data that shows the results of their work, and that data does not show what they expected, many do not accept that data as true. This is due to an unconscious data bias.
But even if what you see or learn is surprising, having data about public relations efforts is always valuable. The following are examples of potential reactions to PR data, plus what they mean for you.
PR Data Bias Reaction: “This doesn’t make me look good.”
After reviewing data about the results of PR efforts, many are surprised by comparisons such as share of voice. No matter the reason for this surprise, the fact that you may feel this way means that the information is novel and you are learning something new from the data. When you feel surprised or impressed, the data that caused that reaction is worth investigating further and analyzing.
PR Data Bias Reaction: “The largest effort is not showing the strongest results.”
It’s very exciting when you see the magnitude of website traffic resulting from your PR efforts! But in analyzing this data, you may find that smaller publications or placements that were garnered in a shorter timeline happen to drive more traffic than more arduous content. Again, this is a key lesson. It is likely that you may find that a fraction of your outputs drive the majority of your outcomes. That’s okay. Use that knowledge to better align and direct future output.
PR Data Bias Reaction: “This data doesn’t help prove anything.”
Before you begin data review and analysis, define a focus. This seems easy to remember, but it is hard not to get sidetracked when there are 4,625,397 data points, and you’re seeing spikes and dips in eye-catching data visualizations. After focusing on what is most important, let the data be your proof! Allow the facts to dictate your insights, instead of drawing facts based on your suspicions.
It definitely takes more than just numbers to see the whole picture. Using the vast data available to public relations teams can unearth lessons for future strategy development and provide data that may be used to createa cyclical process of analysis.
Ok, so if that sentence brought on mental flashbacks of repressed high school memories, fret not. This quiz isn’t meant to make you sweat, agonize, or relive painful 16 year-old nightmares.
In fact, its sole purpose is to provide some honest feedback on where your PR data strengths lie and where you may need a little more education investment.
So let’s get after it!
Data literacy (the ability to read, create, and communicate data as information) is all the rage, so to allow you to test your own level of data literacy, our rockstar communications coordinator, Alexis Anthony, put together this nifty quiz meant to put your data literacy chops to the test.
Can you beat the AirPR’s team high score of 90%? Take the quiz below and be sure to tweet to us and let us know how you fared!
Are you sick of talking about PR data yet? Good. Neither are we.
Data collection and evaluation are (or, at least, should be) integrated into the daily rituals of PR pros. With the bajillions of measurable actions consumers take every day, the massive amount of information PR pros must sift through grows exponentially, which, in turn, can make locating those meaningful insights challenging.
But let’s not get overwhelmed yet. To ease this gentle data giant, let’s start by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable pieces that can be leveraged distinctly at each step in the PR campaign process.
Categorizing PR data will help you identify relevant insights lickity split and in this field, who couldn’t use the extra time? Below is our non-exhaustive roundup of four of the main types of PR data you should start using right meow….
1. Assessment Data:Used to determine the desired level of achievement. e.g. Number of media hits, traffic to site, new leads generated, etc.
How to leverage: Assessment data creates the foundation for any PR campaign. Before you set your objectives, identify your target audience, or develop your press lists, use these data to evaluate your current situation. What is your average traffic? How frequently do media placements lead to conversions?
After you know where you’re starting from you can set your success metrics and KPIs (key performance indicators). What do you want to increase or decrease? What variables are the most meaningful for determining the success of your campaign? Clear assessment barometers will ensure you can definitively state which PR activities delivered and which ones might need to be reimagined after all is said and done.
2. Demographic Data: Used to decide which audience segment(s) to target. e.g. Gender, economic status, location, ethnicity, etc.
How to leverage: When looking at demographic data, think beyond the traditional segments listed above. If you’re launching a line of cologne, your audience should be more than “professional males with a full-time jobs”. Dig deeper, find out more (if you can), such as where these men shop, how many years of school they completed, marital statuses, industries they work in, job titles, etc.
This genre of data can include psychographics — people’s wants, interests, attitudes and opinions. What consumer segment is most in need of your new, musky scent? The more cold, hard facts you know about your audience, the better you can tailor your content to resonate with them.
3. Campaign Data: Used to execute campaigns and define plans, strategies, and practices employed by those executing campaigns e.g. Distribution channels, messaging, media targets, publishing schedules, etc.
How to leverage: Measuring and evaluating campaign data creates another dimension in which to assess campaign success. Consider these your independent (manipulable) variables, that can affect your output — assessment and perception data. Was your publishing schedule the key component to maximizing shares? Or would adjusted times prove more effective? Campaign data not only gives you additional insights into your campaign achievement, but helps you monitor your own performance and efficiency.
London-based Shine Communications used extensive research to help its client Plan UK identify channels most likely to reach the target audience for its campaign: Facebook, YouTube, outdoor advertising on commuter train panels and bus stops, video-on-demand advertising, high indexing broadcast, digital and print editorial, and digital advertising on female-focused websites. Then, these folks used more research to find the optimal multi-channel mix to implement their campaign. The results? Just what you expected: surpassed goals and happy clients.
See… isn’t this whole data thing cool?
4. Perception Data: Used to gauge how people are responding to your efforts and what to do next to optimize your strategy. e.g. Sentiment, message pull through, conversion, amplification, etc.
How to leverage: With this data type, you qualify your KPIs. Maybe your article received 4,000 social shares, but what was the sentiment of the comments? Did people share it because they agreed or disagreed with your message? Did your message reach the audience you had targeted? Use these data as both checkpoints and springboards — never conclusions.
Think back to physics: perception data are like a ball sitting on the edge of a cliff; they have potential energy, they just need a force to push them to motion. Use those insights to fuel campaign strategy in the immediate future.
As mentioned earlier, this is not an exhaustive list of the types of PR data. There’s also competitor data, influencer data, relationship management data, and much more. But we encourage you to use these four major types of PR data as a starting point to begin organizing your insights and strategies.
Soon enough, you’ll be adding a data science hat to your growing PR hat collection.
Last week was a whirlwind of PR awesomeness. We had the pleasure of attending the 5th annual PR Summit in San Francisco (thank you Shaun Saunders), the Publicity Club of New York’s New Media Influencers Luncheon (thank you Peter Himler), and the first round of AirPR’s PRTech Awards in NYC (thank you Mediabistro and Porter Gale).
Curious about what hot topics are being discussed across the country by PR pros, media, marketers, and technologists alike?
Of course you are.
Below you will find three PR trends that permeated every event, oh-so-tweet-worthy PR tidbits, and the individuals leading thePRTech evolutionthat should definitely be on your radar.
Let’s kick it off with the trends, shall we?
#1 – Data must be used to drive marketing and PR decisions
No longer can PR rely on purely anecdotal or observed data. For the first time ever, companies and publishers have insights into what is working in terms of content and messages and PR professionals across the globe are now required to use data to drive and optimize their efforts.
#2 – The role of PR is finally getting the credit it deserves due to technological innovation
The lines are blurring between social, content, media relations, media buying, and analytics with PR assuming more responsibility in all of these areas. PR is breaking out of its silo and establishing itself as one of the most important layers in any organization. Technology and measurement is helping cement PR’s seat the table as a key business driver and decision maker.
#3 – Social, content, and measurement are the 3 elements shaping the future of the PR
This trifecta demands that PR rock at the intersection of the strategic insight and creative thought. From social and blogging, to partnerships, thought leadership, contributory writing and beyond, PR pros must create relevant communication in real time and ensure all pieces of content marketing are connected, supportive and of course, driven by data.
And now, in case you’re looking to quote bomb Twitter this week, we’ve got you covered.
From PR Summit in San Francisco
“To better relate to people…Write an amazing story first and then fit your company in later.” – John Rampton
People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Start with the “Why?” not the “What?” – Jill Rowley
“We are programmed to pay attention to things that violate our expectations.” – Ben Parr
I’d like to point out that I’ve never met “Stevie-J” (that’s my pet name for him) in person, but I did see him speak at a conference once: it was definitely a nerd soul connection, at least on my end. I’ve also tweeted to him a few times, only to be completely ignored – but it’s cool, I know he’s super busy and probably, no definitely, thinking about my tweets even if he’s non-responsive.
Bill, on the other hand, I have the tremendous pleasure of spending time with on a somewhat regular basis – as he has been advising AirPR even before I took my place at the proverbial table. P.S. I happen to know and adore Bill’s wife so this is all totally kosher. My gushing about “The Tancer.”
A lil’ bit about Bill (beware: you may develop a crush too!)…
#1 – DATA GEEK: As the world’s preeminent expert of online behavior, he’s spent the last 10 years analyzing a sample of 10 million Internet users and what they do online every single day. In other words, he lives and breathes “big data.” He is also the general manager of global research at Experian Hitwise.
#2 – PATTERN FREAK: He studies 5-8 million search terms every week to reveal insights into online behavior patterns. These patterns, in turn, are used to help businesses find customers, anticipate trends and improve performance.
#3 – MEDIA CHIC: Last but not least, he’s is the author of New York Times Bestseller Click: What Millions of People Are Doing Online and Why It Matters — Unexpected Insights for Business and Life. His analysis of the online landscape has been quoted extensively in the press, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today and Business Week.
While data may be Bill’s main jam, what he finds most compelling are the stories derived from what people are searching for: The quantitative front-end to the qualitative back-end, if you will. (more…)