It has long been known that insights and analytics are the backbone of PR campaigns – without measuring a campaign, it’s difficult to gauge the success of your strategies. The data you gather in one campaign can be used to guide and inform the next to ensure constant improvement. This is increasingly important with the worldwide shift to digital content. Social media, blogs and vlogs and the rise of virtual reality, are all causing priorities to change when we’re analysing campaigns. There’s more content than ever before being produced across the PR industry, especially in the science and technology industries.

Consistent metrics

Actually using the data you gather is just as important as creating the content! Generating consistent measurables allows you to see patterns and trends that lead to better insight. As the platforms change, a digital offering can both simplify and complicate things – better stats are available, but too much data can be overwhelming and stop you from using it to your best advantage.

The introduction of the Barcelona principles, an overarching framework for effective PR and communication measurement, has gone some way in helping to quantify PR results. The Association for measurement and evaluation of communication’s framework looks then to operationalise the principles, turning them into action and proving the value of PR. Although it’s a useful basis, we look to create evaluation frameworks and tools for our clients based on their specific needs, as well as ensuring any content produced aligns with SEO activity to improve organic searches for target terms.

Increasingly, marketing departments are asked to verify the value of public relations and communications activity but, unfortunately, there’s no silver bullet. That makes the need to make measurable contributions that inform business strategy more important than ever.

Here are three pointers we’ve found useful to keep in mind when delving into analytics:

Explore the publications that drive traffic to your website. While a big hit on the BBC website might be good for widespread brand awareness, only a small percentage of the readers will be in your target audience. Often, it can be quite surprising that the smallest but most targeted publications, or even Twitter users, drive the most traffic. Looking at the types of stories or content formats that contribute the most hits is also useful to see what you should make more of in the future.

Look deeper than purely number of visits. While the quantity of website visitors is important, the time spent on the website and number of pages visited can be more useful. These stats can show which areas of content have your audience most engaged, and which pages pique their interest.

It’s a conversation! As PR is no longer a one-way street for pumping out information with no way for your audience to respond, looking at engagement is of the utmost importance. Social media in particular requires two-way, personalised engagement. Your social media analytics can reveal which channels perform best for you and which content topic or format receives the most retweets, replies and social shares. There’s an array of strong LinkedIn groups which are useful for posting content in to drive discussion, especially for more niche science and technology areas.

As technology continues to increase at such a rapid speed, it’s great to see PR become more measurable and, in turn, more accountable. If you’re interested in PR with more proof, get in touch today at [email protected].

By Alexandra Walton, Account Executive, The Scott Partnership.