Using Data In Your 2018 PR Planning Process

It’s nearing the end of Q4 and 2017 altogether. You know what that means — PR planning is in full swing.

PR planning is so valuable, especially from an internal operations standpoint. It’s a good feeling to organize what your clients are doing, who on your team is doing what (and when) and putting goals to strategies. As much as I love creating a solid PR plan, it’s also very time consuming if you have high-strategy accounts. And let’s be honest, it can be a bit maddening anticipating and predicting all the elements needed to keep your client happy.

For PR pros in the midst of the planning madness — myself included — there is a better and more efficient way to create PR plans, and it all revolves around data.

Nowadays, with all the digital tools available to PR pros, I rely on data to show me the biggest priorities for clients and there is no way I’ll ever go back to uninformed planning. By that, I mean I’ll never start working on a PR plan without taking a critical, data-driven look under my “client’s hood.” Analyzing your client’s overall marketing and PR performance gives you an in-depth look at how they perform against competitors and how PR can fill in the gaps.

Before you start PR planning for 2018, here are five data-driven areas to consider analyzing to understand how your client stacks up against competitors based on their marketing and PR performance.

  • Search — tools like Open Site Explorer and Spyfu give you a glimpse at the traffic volume and keyword focus of your client compared to key industry players. This is important data for content and metrics planning because it shows you how much ground you have to gain in terms the quality, volume and focus of coverage (from a keyword standpoint).
  • Owned — if your client’s owned content isn’t performing well, chances are the same themes and perspectives you’re pushing from a PR standpoint aren’t making much of an impact. By understanding site and referral traffic, you get a sense of the impact and interest on blogs, white papers, ebooks, etc. From there, you’ll know what content to push harder on and what to leave behind in 2018.
  • Earned — this is an important area to understand because you can see how the volume, quality and authority of your coverage stacks up. Using Sysomos, I not only like to look back at the last 90 days to see how many pieces of coverage my client’s competitors received, but also look for patterns and themes my client hasn’t promoted, new publications to consider and how my client’s competitors are being talked about or talking to the media. This always gives me new pitch or campaign ideas for the plan, and detailed insight on how to alter messaging and perspectives for clients to better compete in the market. 
  • Paid — by understanding a competitor’s paid keyword strategy (i.e. what words and terms they’re paying for) you can get a pretty good sense of where they’re taking their company and the media themes they’ll be pushing in 2018. This type of information is incredibly valuable because it gives your client’s a leg up on beating competitors to their own game and securing stories they care about before the competitor can even press send on a pitch.
  • Social — by analyzing social referral traffic and follower engagement of your client compared to competitors, it’s easy to see how and what their audiences are engaging with. Tools like FollowerWonk and SEMRush are great to use for understanding social performance. Analyzing this type of data helps you put together a strong social strategy, as you’ll know the sources and channels of conversation that are most important for your client to have a presence on.

If you aren’t sure what data-driven strategies to use when PR planning for 2018, drop us a line!

Natalie Townsend
Account Director


Keep in Touch

Want fresh perspective on communications trends & strategy? Sign up for the SHIFT/ahead newsletter.

Ready to shift ahead?

Let's talk