Key PR metrics to examine—and act on—for 2016

Measuring the ROI of your efforts can be tricky, but these steps can help you figure out what works and what doesn’t, as well as proving their worth to the higher-ups who set budgets.

It’s autumn, which means back to school, back to work and planning for 2016.

Both in-house and agency marketing teams will be defending the current year’s work, gearing up for 2016 and securing (or expanding) budgets. Realistic goals and metrics are at the center of that effort.

How can you showcase your ongoing work in the best light and set the stage for an even more successful 2016?

Unfortunately, there is no “silver bullet” measurement tool. That does not mean we have no resources to help define PR success and set the agenda for an even more data-driven PR program in the coming year.

Let’s review what you can and should be doing today:

Tracking key indicators

Beyond number of clips or unique visitors per month, what did all your hard work translate to, regarding:

  • Number of new followers: Your expanding audience means you’re generating interest and expanding your sales potential.
  • Coverage traffic: This shows how media outlets’ mentions of your brand boosted consumer awareness and helped you target influential figures.
  • Engagement metrics: Which content made the biggest splash with fans and followers? How did it affect social media traffic and SEO?

Many of these metrics are found via tools in the Moz suite, through the native social media platform dashboard and through Google Analytics. If you don’t have Google Analytics access, make the case for setting it up in time for 2016 benchmarking.

Download this free white paper to discover smart ways to measure your internal communications and link your efforts to business goals.

You have gathered the data to defend your program, you’ve run data-driven analysis, and you’re ready to create an even better PR plan for 2016. How do you make the most of those data? How can you improve your plan?

Include amplification

The value of media coverage is still unquestioned, however it’s harder and harder to get those messages in front of your ideal audience. Propose syndication for that great business hit.

Pilot the A/B testing of remarketing coverage and content on multiple platforms. Figure out where your audience is, and don’t be afraid to remind them with targeted advertising.

Think about the content/sales relationship.

Have a great but highly technical white paper? Maybe it’s not a great piece to pitch as is, but you can break it up into blogs to promote awareness. Then use other avenues (syndication, targeted social advertising) to drive potential customers toward a purchase.

Track, track, track.

Track everything that moves to measure how a campaign or a piece of content performs. Cross-reference same-subject content in different formats to see how to craft your outreach and content for deeper engagement.

Creating your PR plan in this way helps your client (your agency contact or internal marketing chief) start to draw a cleaner line to your work and how it is affecting the business.

Derek Lyons is senior vice president of integrated services at Shift Communications, where a version of this article first appeared.

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