Analyze PR results and identify opportunities to outdo competitors

If you’ve watched any coverage of the 2012 Olympics you may have noticed that the athletes rely on some pretty advanced equipment to give them every available competitive angle. Things like uniforms, shoes and helmets have evolved to be lighter, stronger, and more aerodynamic. Clearly athletes understand the tools they use impact how they perform, and that they need to take advantage of anything that will potentially put them ahead of competitors. This concept translates well to PR. No, I’m not suggesting PR pros show up for work decked out in spandex Nike attire, there are other ways to get ahead in the PR world. Instead, I recommend measuring and analyzing PR results to help identify opportunities to get ahead of competitors.

In my last post I shared four steps for using measurement to beat competitors. They are:

Step 1: Monitor and compare coverage – be sure PR is in alignment with competitive business goals

Step 2: Analyze results and identify opportunities to outdo competitors

Step 3: Make intelligent PR recommendations and implement strategic action

Step 4: Evaluate on an ongoing basis

One of the points I just can’t stress enough is that you really need to be collecting data for your brand AND its competitors. A lot of PR teams skip that step and therefore don’t have the information they need to understand what it takes to be the pack leader. Of course, just having competitive data is not enough. You need to understand how to use it to your advantage. That is where step #2 (analyze results and identify opportunities) comes into play. Once you have competitive data in hand you need to look for insights that will help you improve your PR efforts and strategy. Here are some things you may want to consider:

• Are you or your competitors earning more media coverage?

• How does the quality of your coverage compare to that of your competitors?

• What publications or reporters are covering your competitors but not you?

• What sort of visibility do your executives have compared to competitor execs?

• Is your message getting through to your intended audience, or are competitors drowning out your voice?

• Is there a topic or area of your industry that lacks a leadership voice – is there an opportunity for you to fill the silence?

These examples are a jumping off point and can help you get started. Sometimes your data analysis will reveal problems with your current PR course – that’s okay. Uncovering problems is a GOOD thing. What’s important is that you’re able to recognize problems in the first place and that you respond to them intelligently. Here is an example:

• Are you or your competitors earning more media coverage?

By analyzing coverage results for you and your competitors you’ll easily be able to see who is earning the most media coverage. And guess what, it might not be you. If earning more coverage is a priority then you’ll want to look for ways to make that happen. Maybe you need to target different journalists, ramp up your outreach, or revise your pitch. Turn to coverage results and use the information to figure out which of your competitors is getting the most coverage. Try to determine what they’re doing right. Are they capitalizing on industry trends? Are their executives more quotable than yours? Digging deep into your data will help you identify opportunities for how you can earn more coverage and achieve greater visibility than your competitors.

Ultimately, keep in mind that analyzing your results against those of your competitors will help you identify weaknesses in your program so you can make the adjustments necessary to pull ahead.

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