How Your Public Relations Firm Should Be Using Analytics

Public relations and communications has evolved to blend together public affairs, marketing, branding, web development, digital marketing and social media to paint a compelling picture for the public at large. Advancing the communication goals of clients is a multi-pronged process and to truly deliver, PR firms can and must use data-based decision making.
The information available today, mined from countless analytical tools at your fingertips, provides agencies with an opportunity to build out strategies and campaigns unlike any other before. But to do so successfully, without getting lost in the immense amount of data available, requires a strong understanding of how analytics can be best used in the public relations wheelhouse.

Analytic data tells a story

From a PR perspective, data pieces form a client’s communication footprint. Taking emotion out of the equation, it shows the impact proper messaging and outreach can have based on a single campaign, event promotion or long-term communication strategy. But, for analytics to inform decision making or campaign success, you must first establish a story’s details, current baselines and desired outcomes. Only then can data be used to accurately measure goal attainment and further optimize marketing efforts.
For us, data delivers. And it’s not because we have a mathematician on staff, but because we’ve selected some amazing analytic tools that help us interpret what’s happening everywhere online, making it easier to connect with the media that matters the most for our clients and show measurable results. These are the tools our staff uses daily and why we love them.

Using Analytics to Find/Target Journalists and Influencers

In PR, your job is to facilitate right connections for your clients and get their story in front of key journalists, bloggers and social media influencers whose own platforms or channels align with your client. In other words, sending a generic email or pitch to hundreds of people is not going to get results.
We use Cision and Meltwater as our PR databases of choice.
Cision is the most prominent and popular, with 1.6 million listings, it’s touted as the largest PR database in the world. It offers integrated wire distribution service through PRweb, includes Help A Reporter Out (HARO), and has also acquired PRNewswire, one of the largest wire services in the world. Its media monitoring tools track key mentions of clients or competitors social, traditional, and digital media, and can analyze outward sentiment of a client by tracking positive and negative words used in all communications.
Meltwater began as a service that tracked media mentions and competitor information but has evolved to become a media database. It can help you effectively monitor news and pinpoint the specific bloggers or social influencers for your story. It also measures and ranks outlets and people by influence or “clout” further helping get a client’s story in front of the appropriate people.

SEO Analytics Tools

Your content could be the best out there, but if it isn’t optimized for SEO, it doesn’t really matter. We use SEMrush to pull out amazing keyword research, analyze rankings, advertisement copy and backlink profiles. We also use this tool to keep a pulse on the kind of content competitors are pushing out and what trendy worthy topics our clients can and should be building content campaigns around.
Moz is also a valuable site that offers a full set of paid and free SEO tools like keyword explorer, SEO site crawl checkups and fixes and Google PageRank. We use this in combination with SEMrush to fully optimize website content and search engine rankings. Both allow us to pull analytics surrounding how sites rank for keywords and how competitive they are, helping to drive more traffic towards our client’s website and social channels.

Best Social Media Analytics Tools

Hootsuite as well as Sprout Social’s social analytics capabilities are outstanding. From granular campaign elements to a large scope overview, using their platform we can pick from more than 40 metrics (such as Google Analytics, Ow.ly, URLs, Google+ Pages modules, and Facebook Insights) to customize social media reports on daily, weekly, or monthly basis. This helps us understand whether social media activities are having the intended impact on site traffic, lead generation, conversion activities, or specific event promotions and campaigns. We can break out this information by channel, content, influencer, geographic area, audience, amount spent, etc. to gain a strong understanding of the true reach and results.
Using these metrics, we can develop social media strategy that aligns with our client’s organizational goals, both by performing successful one-off campaigns for specific events and launches and partnering with them for long-term results.
All these analytics tools combined have one central function from a PR perspective – they help us remain constantly engaged in our client’s communication plan. We aren’t best guessing – we are making decisions based on numerical data that shows us what is working, and what isn’t. As a client, you should expect nothing less.
If you’re interested in learning more about how The Fearey Group integrates analytics into our suite of client services, contact us at any time! We would love to learn more about you and start something awesome.