Secret #2 – Let data be your guide

Here is the second secret in our series about using measurement to create winning PR strategies:

Stop for a second and think about your PR program. What are you trying to achieve with your campaigns? While every business has different goals, the focus of PR should be on producing defined business outcomes.

Many PR departments are unsure if their programs are on track to accomplish business objectives. Hoping that campaigns will produce results, PR pros are often left guessing where to focus their efforts because they don’t have the information, processes and tools needed to make informed decisions.

The good news is that by simply making an effort to set a baseline and measure PR efforts you can gain a tremendous amount of direction. Measurement helps to identify what’s working and what needs to be fixed. Companies that measure their PR efforts have the data they need to respond to competitive threats, identify weaknesses in their program, and make the adjustments necessary to achieve more.

Let data be your guide. As you begin your measurement program you’ll want to make sure you’re capturing the information that is related to your business goals. Then, once you start collecting your baseline information, you’ll need to analyze it to determine if you’re on target and making progress towards your objectives. Look at things like company mentions, executive quotes, analyst quotes, customer stories, product coverage, or other selected criteria. If you’ve invested time mapping measurement to goals, your data will clearly show where your campaign is succeeding and where it needs improvement. Use what you’ve learned to make adjustments and fine-tune your campaign so you can get the absolute most out of your PR spend and beat your competitors.

Speaking of competitors, as you evaluate your PR program look for signs that show how your business is fairing compared to the competition. Are you getting more or less coverage than your competitors? Is your coverage (and your competitors’ coverage) in relevant, widely read publications – or is it in tier two and tier three publications? By digging deep into your data you’ll know if you are falling behind. You can then create a plan for focusing your efforts to ensure you are competitive.

Let’s look at an example. Say your competitors are garnering more and better coverage than you in trade publications. You can dig deeper into the data to understand why. The data may show, for instance, that customer stories are driving a large percentage of competitor coverage. Armed with this information, you can place a higher priority on your company’s customer reference program to drive increased coverage. The data you’ve collected directly results in improvements to your program.

Hard evidence has a way of moving teams into action. Don’t let your program falter because you don’t have data to guide your efforts.

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One Response

  1. ..January 19th 2009……Posted by Michael Poston Product Manager.As a rule of thumb you should gather competitive intelligence CI for your business. As a result you will be empowered to make more informed decisions about your product and strategic initiatives..To do this effectively you should implement a process designed to filter large volumes of data into clear and actionable insight.

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