Whether you work at an agency or on an in-house PR team, there will always be management or clients asking you to show results. In truth, not all communications tactics will directly influence the bottom line.
However, there are plenty of ways PR pros can prove the value of their work in tangible ways. This is where measurement tools and dashboards come into play. Implementing these tools into the daily work of PR will help reveal the true value of social media or the real impact of a media hit.
Measurement tools offer the quantitative data needed to answer many questions. The trick is to realize that these tools exist to help make proving PR’s value easier. They aren’t just another piece of software for PR pros to learn. By taking the time to dive into the data, communicators will be better prepared to defend their work in the boardroom.
Tori Sabourin, marketing analyst at SHIFT Communications, shared three key questions with readers of PR News' Book of PR Measurement Strategies & Tactics Vol. 9 that will help prove PR’s value through the use of measurement tools.
1) What is the real impact of a media hit?
While a media hit will increase a brand’s reputation and bring it top of mind for consumers, it will also increase website traffic, SEO ranking and a host of other measures. When media impressions aren’t enough, measurement tools like OpenSiteExplorer from Moz can help demonstrate the strength of that media hit on the client’s website search ranking and the number of external links back to said website. These external links from the publication itself and any other websites, blogs or forums that syndicate or reference the original article will show the marketing and communications team that a simple “hit” actually goes beyond a link in its impact. More links mean more traffic. And, if the website converts, it means more sales.
2) Where does our brand rank against competitors?
Think about the metrics you’re presenting and consider adding new dimensions or perspectives such as conversions, engagement and sharing behaviors. How many times did your brand’s latest blog post get shared across social channels? Did anyone who visited the website from social convert? Try digging into features like custom segments and demographics within Google Analytics or the native analytics dashboards of social channels to get a more tailored and granular image of whom your audience is and how it’s interacting with the brand. The more data you can provide, the more insightful your future strategy will be.
3) Why should we bother with social media?
The answer to this question will depend heavily on the industry and where the brand’s audience resides. With access to measurement tools like Google Analytics, we can see how much traffic is being directed to the brand’s website from social networks. Google does the heavy lifting for you. Google Analytics automatically separates social traffic (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) from other referrers such as organic search or paid ads. For some brands, traffic volume from social channels will be enough to demonstrate value. When the client has goals and conversion values established in Google Analytics, you also will be able to see how social drove an increase in the bottom line or helped a client complete another goal.
Follow Mark: @MarkRenfree