In this digital age, public relations is about so much more than the reputation management of your company or its products through traditional media like magazines and TV. Now, it's all about digital PR and influencing how customers perceive you via your website, social media and email campaigns. Tracking digital PR is much different than older methods... if you're still tracking Ad Value Rates or Nielsen Ratings, Please Keep Reading! If you want to make the most out of your PR strategies in 2018, here is what you need to be paying close attention to:
Sales are a very important PR metric. This fact may be obvious to some, but it is still an area where some businesses fall short on tracking. You need to provide a robust CRM (customer retention manager) software to your sales team in order to track client behavior and find out where clients found out about your products. There are CRMs appropriate for any business size, even one person operations. The most popular CRMs, like Hubspot or Infusionsoft allow you to customize fields, getting all of the data you need to see what type of audience your PR efforts are reaching, as well as the direct source. #1Hack – make sure your sales team and/or customer service reps are trained to always ask customers how they heard about your business. Keep track of this information within your CRM so that you can get a baseline understanding of how customers are finding out about you.
In PR, reach is the total number of people who have been exposed to your brand through your efforts. It might seem impossible to track this somewhat esoteric sounding metric online, but with modern technology, there are actually many ways. There is something called a tracking pixel which is exactly what it sounds like. It's one tiny pixel embedded in an image that can track things like how many people have seen it, and other powerful analytics. It's the basis of how many features of Google Analytics work. If Google relies on it - you know this is good technology. The pixel is completely transparent so it doesn't interfere with the browsing experience at all.
There is also an incredible tool called Critical Mention that helps brands find mentions across the web's many social media channels, online news channels, radio shows and conventional TV broadcasts. This is an amazing way to find out who is talking about you on the web and beyond.
Awareness is how many people are actually aware enough of your brand that they might actually think of it when they need a product that you offer. Champions of brand awareness include McDonald's, with their iconic golden arches that some kids recognize before they even know their own name, and Disney, with their signature logo and Mickey Mouse ears. How can you even begin to measure this metric?
Surveys are a wonderful way to track awareness. In the past, businesses performed surveys in person or over the phone, but now they can be done online and can even become a part of the sales process. You can ask clients questions online after their purchase to discover how they first became aware of your brand, or you can perform surveys to the general public to how much the average Joe knows about you. SurveyMonkey is an affordable tool that allows anyone to create a survey on any topic. However, there are more powerful methods made specifically for this purpose like FocusVision.
Google Analytics is a powerful tracking tool that every business with a website should use for many reasons. It is especially important for tracking these important digital PR metrics.
A backlink occurs when a different site links back to you. Tracking these will help you know who is talking about you and what they are saying. Google does this by showing social media conversations containing your link in an easy to use interface, and a list of general links too.
Visitors are also an important PR metric that is easily tracked through Google Analytics. However, this information is practically useless if you don't have properly trackable links for your different PR efforts. Links within your digital PR assets need to have unique URLs that make it easy to see which PR tactics lead to the action you want your customers or client to take.
Google Analytics also allows you to set up lead captures and conversions. This is another essential tool for any digital PR campaign. If you set it up correctly, you will be able to track how many people are making it through your predefined online funnels and completing goals online whether that means they make a purchase or they fill out a form for more information. This information is truly indispensable for any PR campaign.
Compared with the above tracking methods, getting your brand into certain publications that are particularly in line with your business is probably closest to what people think of as traditional PR. However, it's no longer about sending out press releases, but about telling a story online that interests your target demographic. There are now many specialty blogs with small audiences that fit into extremely specific demographics, as well as larger digital publications. A modern "goal outlet" could be getting a retweet from a celebrity or a Facebook share from a major industry influencer. Similarly, native advertising and organic looking advertorials are another way to get your brand in front of your target audience in a goal outlet. As always, make sure any links used are unique and trackable so you can see how your efforts affect online metrics.
Need help with your company’s Digital PR strategies? We can help. Send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 480-305-2017 for more information.