A Traditional PR Pro Take on Analytics

PR Pros Take on Analytics

It’s the age-old question…or the ‘PR-age’ old question that is. How to measure the impact of our work? With many agencies still stuck offering client reports relying on impressions or number of social shares, you’ve likely seen many posts on the SHIFT blog about how to move past these antiquated forms of measurement. In fact, you’ve seen an entire team form within the SHIFT walls dedicated to quantifiable PR. As potential and current clients more and more often seek full service agencies that can deliver on great coverage, but also on solid results, us traditional PR hacks here at SHIFT have also learned a thing or two of which I’ll share.

First, impressions don’t really mean much. Sure it’s gratifying to send your client a Yahoo! News placement with tens of millions of Unique Monthly Visitors – but what good does that do if it’s not moving the needle? How many people actually see the hit? Usually the answer is not many. So what does a gal who wants to prove to her clients the value of a placement do? Tap into Google Analytics™. WOAH. Yes other PR peeps, I said it – analytics. While most of us are a breed who respect from afar anything having to do with numbers, we don’t have to live in fear!

With a little training on how to view baseline metrics, the tool can do wonders for a PR program and a PR professional. Take for example one of my clients – a quirky, sarcastic (and hilarious) t-shirt company whose typical retail value per product is around $20-$25. Tapping into Google Analytics™, we were able to see that BuzzFeed drove sales for the brand. After securing two product placements with the outlet, we went back to Google Analytics™ to determine results. Boom. Nearly $90k in sales. That’s a lot of t-shirts. And here content syndication, another marketing tool to amplify eyeballs of earned media placements, steps in to boost ROI further.

Placements with good quality (key messages, links, thought leadership, etc.) are also key. So, account folks here tap into the Marketing Technology team to help us build news and awareness by driving research that reaches our core audiences. Now PR friends, we’ve all worked with survey vendors who charge tens of thousands of dollars for limited results and reporting, but tons of hand holding. At SHIFT, we survey for our own data and then use other forms of data collection to get the best picture that is statistically accurate and relevant. No more suffering! Instead, we get quantifiable information that we trust and understand which the team can turn into meaningful stories for media.

Some questions that have floated around in my brain since analytics became a game-changer for SHIFT, now a data-driven PR agency:

  • Will bloggers continue to drive results over time, or become obsolete? We use industry best-in-class tools such as Sysomos and Moz to validate claims and ascertain who is truly influential and aligned with our client’s business goals.
  • Are events worth it? While the marketing team may not be able to answer this question for us, they can make us think more strategically about how to measure beyond foot traffic and look at things like trackable app downloads on site, purchase changes post-event, etc.
  • Is there anything that Christopher Penn doesn’t know? Probably not.

Net, net – I’ve learned not to be afraid to push my personal or team boundaries in terms of how we can drive better, more measurable, results for our clients in an era when UVMs just don’t cut the mustard.

Julie Staadecker
Account Director, Consumer
Twitter @jstaadecker


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