Measuring the efficacy of PR campaigns can be a challenge, with PR measurement options ranging from simple and cost effective Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE), to tone and relevance models for print and expensive surveys and focus groups to look more into your brand’s reputation. Online PR opened up a whole new world of opportunity to analyse who is picking up on your content and what works.
This blog will mean different things to different people. A politician trying to influence the opinions of the electorate, an engineering company trying to educate a distinct market about a new technology, and a software house trying to generate product leads and build its prospects database through inbound marketing have very different goals – but getting the content right is common to any PR campaign.
Embracing web analytics gave PR and marcomms professionals access to a mind-boggling array of cost-effective (or even free) information about their audiences. It won’t measure reputation, or how your audience perceives and reacts to your content, but web analytics give valuable real-time insight into what content works, with which geographies, and where the audiences come from. Deep analysis of analytics has its place, but to avoid getting lost in the details, keep a regular eye on these PR-friendly fundamentals:
- What’s popular? Which keywords are driving traffic to your content from search? Which pieces of content are most visited, and what’s the average duration of visits for that content? This will give you an idea of what strikes a chord with your audience, and therefore what will work in the future.
- Who is your audience? Which traffic sources do your visits come from (search, social sites)? Where are your incoming links from (blogs, forums, social platforms)? Is your content attracting visitors from the right regions? This can help you identify the gateways for drawing traffic to your content, and aid targeted campaigns.
- Is your audience engaging with your content? How many times is a piece of content is shared, either through referrals or social interaction? How many pages does a visitor view? This shows whether they are interested in your content and actively looking for more.
- Are you retaining visitors? Do you build your RSS subscriptions? Does your social following increase? Are people signing up for your newsletter, and are you rowing your contact database? Analytics can give you a good idea of whether your content is helping you achieve the goals of your PR campaign – whether its filling your inbound marketing funnel or building a following as a thought leader.
The important thing to note with analytics is that they are always changing. To use this information effectively, you can’t just measure up after a campaign to see how well you’ve done – you should look at it throughout the campaign and adjust your approach accordingly. That way, you can learn how to tailor your content to your audience and keep them coming back for more.