Public relations and effective measurement have never been synonymous with each other.
Despite having the ability to report on tangible results and prove their ROI through the use of analytics, there remain many in the PR world who continue to struggle through clipping books, media impressions and the three-letter form of measurement which will not be mentioned.
When it comes time to quarterly meetings, this list of headlines and vanity metrics sounds great until the inevitable question comes: "What value has all of this added to the business' bottom line?".
Digital PR has changed the way consultancies operate and measure their campaigns, or it should have done, and the evolution of this change is the emergence of "Inbound PR" which is the amalgamation of Earned, Owned and Paid media channels to create complete and measurable campaigns.
What is measured during an Inbound PR campaign can differ from client to client depending on their own business requirements but, in general, every successful Inbound PR consultancy bases their success and proves ROI of a set of key metrics.
The main aim of Inbound PR is drive traffic to a client's website and get them moving up through the pages of Google so they can be easily found by prospects. Gaining media coverage and using blogs and social media to drive interest and visitors is the primary goal of any Inbound PR consultancy so is something they should be giving attention to.
Gaining headlines in print newspapers is still an aim for Inbound PR, but when those headlines become chip wrapping the next day what good are they doing.
Inbound PR should be aiming for placements online and measuring how much traffic is being generated from links via external sites (like national or trade media). This not only shows that PR content is being picked up and used by journalists but can also help inform future planning and identify which publications you are having most success with - or which are driving the most traffic back to a website so should perhaps get more focus.
Historic PR stopped at the newspaper headline. The client is in the news, the press release has been picked up and that was job done. Inbound PR takes this a step further and can be used as a content engine for your wider marketing campaign, creating collateral like blogs, eBooks and market research reports to get prospects moving down lead funnels and converting into customers.
The death of the press release has been announced prematurely and it remains an essential element of the public relations toolkit. But the days when a single press release could be produced, picked up and then forgotten about are long gone.
Inbound PR consultancies understand the value of content so should measure and assess how else it is being used. Has it only been used once in the press? Can it be repurposed as a blog or turned into a few social media posts?
Is the content long form - like a market research report - and usable as an infographic?
Getting the most out of every piece of content is the hallmark of a successful Inbound PR consultancy and content audits and reports are a key form of new PR evaluation.
Inbound PR is all about measuring digital metrics to judge success, but at the end of the day public relations remains an exercise in generating media coverage and building brand awareness in a client's target media.
Of course, any Inbound consultancy should be focussed on web traffic and links, but don't discount the value of a great item of coverage in a key publication.
If you want to know more about Inbound PR, get in touch.
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