Evaluate Your Public Relations Efforts
Comprehensive reporting shows stakeholders the value of strategic communications
PR is an important part of the daily operations for every organization. If you didn’t know that before COVID-19, you certainly see the value now! Crisis communications are in full effect. It’s important to start measuring your communications efforts prior to a crisis. Often, this is the time executives want to see coverage reports, sentiment analysis, and share of voice calculations. Strategic communicators, this is your moment to shine! Show your value with proper reporting that demonstrates the impact your communications make on customers, employees, and the market. Measurement is best begun at least three months prior to provide historical and behavioral perspective, you especially need a before and after in a time of crisis. It’s never too late to begin measuring your PR performance.
Here we break down where you should focus your tracking and analysis.
Communicators today are responsible for much more than writing an occasional press release and producing coverage reports. Public relations has evolved to include social media management (77%), content marketing (77%), influencer marketing (67%) and SEO (56%) link building. Many industry insiders even suggest changing the name to “strategic communications” rather than PR to accurately account for this expansion of duties. As the role becomes more digitally-focused, it’s important to refresh reporting to include these efforts and showcase how valuable PR is to achieving your company goals.
Many communications practitioners provide a tally of the number of stories, impressions, ad equivalency value, clicks to the online media kit, social media reactions, among other metrics when analyzing campaign efforts. While insightful, these don’t provide a complete picture of if and how communication efforts contributed to the project goal.
Companies need to first start by knowing its current positioning in the marketplace. Measuring a company’s share of voice tells how visible and valuable the company is in the market compared to its competitors. The greater market share a company controls speaks to its popularity and authority among current and prospective customers. The tactics and resources in your strategic communications plan aim to shift opinion in your company’s favor by educating audiences and building trust. That consumer trust then provides a platform for influence. Share of voice evaluates brand awareness and engagement by reviewing the conversations generated about our brand as compared to competitors. Your SEO link building, content marketing, and influencer marketing efforts will contribute to a stronger share of voice. Share of voice will compliment the measurement of the number of backlinks, content downloads, and influencer giveaways. Organizations link back to sites with strong authority so be sure to use share of voice as one means for measuring your brand’s awareness.
Listening, understanding, and responding to the voice of the customer is essential to any successful communications campaign. The voice of the customer provides more specific feedback on the target audience’s response to our company, messaging, products/services, and people. This is also a good time to review your target audience personas and refresh consumer demographic information. The feedback you receive will help streamline what you’re doing well and determining areas where you can improve so that you may better serve current customers. As customer needs change over time, you can use their direct input to refine your target audience profile. Combined with share of voice, customer feedback and the analysis of your demographic data will provide an overall assessment of your company’s influence, pre-and post-campaign. When you take into account the voice of the customer, you will learn what content your audience appreciates most, as well as areas of improvement. The topics highlighted in the customer’s feedback will even give you new ideas to add to your content marketing so that the company can better respond to customer needs and wants.
In evaluating the volume and frequency of consumer conversations about your company, you want to analyze the sentiment of what they’re saying. Sentiment tells us how a person feels about a topic and once we understand the context of consumer engagement, companies can tailor messaging and tactics to strengthen the customer relationship. Sentiment analysis is exceptionally helpful in identifying concerns before they escalate in addition to monitoring consumer engagement during and after the campaign. Social media engagements are a good place to measure sentiment, reviewing what people say about the company and how they interact. You want to evaluate the volume of comments, shares, clicks, and new followers as well as the context of the engagement.
Sentiment analysis will help you find influencers among those consumers that are superfans of your company. It will also vet influencers to make sure they have the following and engagement they say they do. Influencer marketing is increasingly part of B2C and B2B communications campaigns through discounts, contests, giveaways, attending events and affiliate marketing. Whether the influencer relationship has an allocated budget or it’s based on the trade of goods/services, you want to measure return on the investment. Metrics used to prove influencer marketing ROI include influencer reach, engagement, click-through rates, and conversions to sales.
With all the strategy, planning, and resources you dedicate to executing a communications campaign, take the time to measure the impact of your contributions. Expand your reporting to include share of voice measurement, customer feedback, new demographics, sentiment analysis, and influencer analytics.
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