How to Make Your PR Data-Driven
We had our last webinar about two months ago, and we’re still thinking about it.
Propel CEO Zach Cutler and Customer Success Manager Julia Francis tag-teamed for an educational, yet fun, webinar that covered data-driven PR tactics… but also Jonah Hill? Yes. Amazing.
Before getting into the bulk of it, Cutler explained the importance of business outcomes and ROI in the PR industry, based on his own experience.
“We see a lot of reporting around PR,” Cutler said, “but a lot of it is not getting to the true heart of the matter of, ‘Have I delivered ROI on my investment?’”
The takeaway: current reporting in PR is lacking for a few key reasons..
There is a lot of reporting on:
- Outputs (outlets pitched, responses etc.),
- Coverage achieved, and
- Vanity metrics (e.g. advertising value equivalent).
But not a lot of reporting that truly proves ROI.
Without proving the ROI of your earned media, … Well... you kind of have to do it! These days, CMOs, CEOs, and your clients are demanding nothing less in exchange for their marketing dollars, Cutler said.
With the continuous surge of media, there are so many competing areas within marketing where comms execs can pick and choose where to allocate their budget. For us PR pros, that means serious competition and a growing need to prove ROI from our services.
According to Cutler, a seasoned PR pro of 10+ years and former agency owner, here is the trio of meaty data that will make your PR skyrocket….
The three critical buckets to have make your PR data-driven and ensure you’re achieving your goals/prove ROI:
1. Journalist Pitching Preferences: PitchPredict
Knowing journalists’ pitching preferences is “the silver bullet of pitching,” Cutler said.
Going into a pitch knowing details about when, what and even how often a particular journalist wants to hear from you can dramatically improve your pitching stats.
Propel has made this possible through its aggregated data on millions of pitches sent within the platform. We uniquely have the industry’s first and only Gmail and Outlook email plugin, which has allowed us to analyze and draw in data from our clients’ pitches, in an anonymized way, of course.
‘We're able to say, X journalist has been sent X amount of pitches, and then determine their open rate, response rate, etc., at a global level,’ Cutler said. ‘We can show you the time of day and day of the week when each journalist is most responsive. And even a step further, we show you the topics they’re most likely to respond to.’
2. Performance Metrics
Even Holt from Brooklyn Nine-Nine can’t hold back his tears at the beauty of data-driven performance. Just like Jonah Hill and Brad Pitt in the film “Moneyball,” we know that data works wonders for a team.
Just like baseball, we enable you to track your team and campaign batting averages… except in the form of pitches sent, open rate, response rate, publish rate etc.
This way, you can coach your team members in much smarter, more efficient ways that are tailored to their quantified strengths and weaknesses. You can also use this data to see where your team’s efforts pay off the most across different accounts and/or campaigns, so that you can apply those best practices across the board. Nice.
Propel collects all of these juicy details, and presents them in pretty, easy-to-read “Shareable Dashboards” that display an overview of all media coverage pitching activity.
This way, your stakeholders always know where campaigns stand and have the peace of mind that you are on top of things.
“It’s the dashboard I dreamed of having when I ran my agency,” said Cutler.
3. Business Outcomes: Direct & General Attribution
Tracking business outcomes is the perfect way to prove to your boss, your clients, or even your colleagues, that your efforts are certainly paying off.
The Propel “Business Outcomes” feature is directly integrated with Google Analytics, so it is able to show our users both a direct attribution graph and a general correlation graph that connect media coverage to business outcomes. What’s the difference between the two? Let’s see.
The direct attribution function “is very precise, like an arrow, where you’re understanding exactly who came to your site via an article because they clicked on the backlink, who filled out a form, who made a purchase, or whatever [other] goals you might have,” said Cutler.
Here is an example of a direct attribution graph from Propel:
Because direct attribution cannot show the traffic that occurs outside of backlink clicks, we were led to creating the general correlation feature, in addition.
General attribution shows users the bigger picture. Here, you see a correlation between total traffic and goal completions going on at the same time. This way, you can cross-reference between media coverage and progress toward your business goals and make insights into what efforts may have achieved what results.
Of course, not every metric is perfect, so it is important to note that this might not be the most effective tool if your organization has many marketing activities going on at the same time. In this case, it would be very difficult to make a connection between one particular initiative and the results you’re seeing at large.
These graphs are all shareable in a variety of ways, including live link, PDF download, and select download of individual charts from the collective page.
And, that’s a wrap! Now let’s get out there, and crush PR.
Q: Do you feel your product is valuable to a brand or agency doing many local PR distributions in large markets? Or is this geared more for national press?
A: Definitely both. A lot of our customers are pitching in their localities, whether it’s their city or a bunch of nearby cities, and then we also have customers who pitch nationally. We’ve made sure to build our database in a way that you can discover targets that are local or national, so Propel definitely sounds relevant to your use case.
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