Do you have the right audience?
One of the core tenets of effective public relations is building the right audience. You don’t need to be as popular as Taylor Swift in order for PR to deliver real results to the bottom line as long as you have the right audience. (though it certainly doesn’t hurt) Conversely, you can have millions of fans and followers, but if no one does business with you, you’re going to be in trouble.
The question then becomes, how do you know that you’ve got the right audience? Certainly, you can look downfunnel and see how many closed deals you’re getting in your sales CRM, but if your website is broken or your retail staff are surly, you may not see the results you want no matter how good your PR is.
Fortunately, in the age of social media and digital marketing, we have more tools and resources than ever to understand our audiences, to know how we’re doing. First and foremost, let’s understand if we’re even reaching new audiences. For that, we’ll turn to our stalwart, Google Analytics. Fire it up and turn on the New Users audience segmentation.
In this example below, how are we doing? Looking good – a 65% increase year over year in new audiences. We’re reaching new people.
The next logical question is – are they the RIGHT new people? Are they people with whom we could establish a mutually beneficial relationship? For that, let’s look first at social media. There are any number of tools that can allow you to download the biographical data of your Twitter following, such as tools from Moz, Sysomos, Simply Measured, and even Twitter’s own API. Here, I’ve downloaded 70,000 or so of my Twitter followers and randomly sorted them using a spreadsheet, then randomly sampled the first 50 or so. As I write about marketing and PR, I’d hope that at least a portion of my audience’s biographies indicate that they’d be interested in marketing and PR.
Looking good. I see that about 50% of my audience has a Twitter bio that is in alignment with the content I share. That means I’m not woefully off-topic.
So now we know that the very top of the funnel is in good shape. The next question is, does that translate down funnel? The odds of someone moving down funnel that’s in my target audience are about 50% – after all, in the above example, 50% of my social media audience wasn’t relevant. To do this, we’ll repeat the same exercise by opening up either a marketing automation system or an email marketing system. I’ve downloaded my list, randomized it in spreadsheet software, and then sampled the first 50 or so people:
Here, I’m at roughly a 40% on-target audience. 40% of the people are people I’d work to do business with. This is a good indicator that my content, my marketing, my calls to action are aligned with the audience I’ve got, and from here, it’s entirely up to my sales and marketing skills to turn them into real business results, but I’ve gotten the right audience.
Using these methods, you should be able to ascertain who is in your audience and therefore understand the quality of the audience you’re created with earned, owned, and paid media. Do this exercise with your own data! If it turns out that you have very few people in your audience that you’d want to do business with, then you have to question whether your current public relations strategy is working. Even if you get millions of people to follow you, you may not see a bottom line impact. Conversely, even if your audience growth doesn’t look like Grumpy Cat’s, as long as it’s filled with people you want to work with, you’re on the right track with your earned media.
Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology