If you’re an avid (or even a sometimes) reader of the SHIFT blog, then you already know data-driven public relations is something we know well. Our PR teams have been taking an analytical approach to forming their account strategies for some time, and our clients have been very pleased with the results.
As one of the only public relations agencies that is a Google Analytics Certified Partner, we are always looking to see how we can use Google’s tools and programs to strengthen both our PR and marketing teams’ efforts. Over the years, we’ve uncovered some amazing, easy-to-use and best of all – free – tools the search engine offers that can make a big difference in a media relations program. Google Trends, Google Correlate and Think with Google are three of the tools we use most often. Here’s a quick overview of how each can help support your PR program.
Google Trends is a public web facility that analyzes Google search history to come up with data that shows how often a particular search term is entered into the platform. Users can analyze specific timelines or regions, and compare different terms side by side. The homepage generates Trending Stories in real time as they are happening, which PR teams can help use to optimize rapid response opportunities. They can also use Google Trends to help dictate the timeline within their pitch calendars. By analyzing terms that are related to the content of each pitch, PR pros can see when and where people are most likely to be researching similar topics, which helps them to better understand who their target audience should be, and when the best time is to reach them.
Google Correlate is a program that finds search patterns (based on Google Trends data above) that show when specific terms correspond with real-world trends and with other terms. You can filter results by time and location on this platform as well. One way Google Correlate can help PR teams is by providing past trend data that can be used as supporting evidence for predictions they make on behalf of clients and include within their pitches. For example, if searches for two seemingly unrelated terms have correlated heavily over the past five years, you can leverage the Google Correlate charts and data in your pitches to prove to media contacts why they would want to cover both at the same time, and why that time is now.
Think with Google
Think with Google is the most comprehensive of the three Google subsites we’ve outlined. This platform is a one stop shop for consumer trends, marketing insights and industry research, all presented in an easily digestible and deck-ready format. It does a deeper dive into Google data and trends, making comparisons and predictions based on historical data and results of real-life advertising and marketing campaigns. Think with Google generates full feature articles that tie together individual data points to provide users with a more holistic view of how they fit into the larger industry story. This can be useful for PR teams when deciding what information should be included within a pitch, as well as how that information should be positioned. Understanding how and when your content fits into the customer purchasing journey, for example, gives PR professionals an idea of what information consumers already have by the time they begin searching for your topic. This makes it easier to identify what information these consumers still need, and therefore, should be included in the pitch.
Leveraging data to strengthen your public relations efforts can be complicated – but it doesn’t have to be. Taking advantage of the insights provided by these three free, easy-to-use tools is a quick and easy way to impress clients, while also helping SHIFT to maintain our reputation as a data-driven PR trailblazer.