By now you know that there is actionable data available to you around every online article and mention. Even if you don’t have a PR intelligence platform, you can get organized for a more successful PR strategy by using the data you have.
We're talking about looking back to benchmark your PR performance. And don’t stop there — benchmark the competition, brands you emulate, industry influencers you admire, maybe even brands you hate, too. What you need is perspective on how things are now, where they’re headed, and therefore what’s possible. Then you can use your benchmarks to get more of what your PR strategy needs to succeed.
Let's break it down
Mindshare. Start by quantifying past mentions per month and noting trends. Or you can start to establish a baseline by tracking mentions now. In three to six months you’ll have a chart of concrete numbers that show PR pushing the needle in the right direction.
Or not. Don’t be intimidated by less than stellar numbers. To create real and repeatable success, you have to know where you’re starting from and where you’re headed. Look honestly at strengths AND weaknesses.
Not all mentions are created equal. So, evaluate the publications in which you are mentioned. Does their readership hit your target demographic, geography, or industry audience? Assess the articles, too. What’s the sentiment? Are you appearing in impactful articles — ones being read or shared? Score your mentions to get the full picture of your PR strategy.
(We've included some product screenshots to show you what this tracking looks like inside of TrendKite's dashboard.)
Share of Voice. Track share of voice by comparing mentions and featured mentions versus those of competitors. Benchmark against companies in your industry, or industries you wish to emulate. Look at this over time, not just as a snapshot. Trendlines can show if you’re gaining or losing, and the impact of specific PR programs you run as part of your larger strategy.
To take it a level deeper, by assigning a topic or theme to each media mention. Common
examples include product launch, funding announcement, charity, industry topic, etc. Recording mentions by topic will help you spot coverage patterns, so you can adjust your strategy to take advantage of upwards coverage trends.
Then, use this in your competitive share of voice analysis. Why did your competitor get that huge bump in mindshare last week? If you know, you can then adjust your week to combat (or drown) their share of voice.
Social Amp. Is PR coverage resonating with your target audience? If you’re sending a strong signal and getting lots of coverage but the sentiment is poor or people aren’t talking about the messages you’re trying to deliver, you’re not achieving your goals. Social sharing is a good proxy for audience engagement.
Many publications include social share icons on every article. This, in turn, tends to include the number of shares across each platform. For a basic place to start you can record these numbers and note whether shares are positive or on topic. Sentiment and key message pull-through, along with the quantity of sharing, give you a data-driven take on reputation. However this is incredibly tedious to do by hand.
Something like TrendKite Social can save you a lot of time (we're only a little biased in our choice of example here).
Reputation. Finally, you can watch PR impacts on reputation over time. For example, compare specific event coverage like product launches or crises against total brand coverage to see the event’s reputation impact.
Benchmarking against historical brand events or those of other companies lets you describe the success of an event or the “seriousness” of a crisis.
Putting it all together
In a digital era, you can take measurement much further to guide strategies for repeatable success. But setting basic PR benchmarks can begin to open eyes about the power of earned media, and set you on the path to proving the value of PR activities and your overall PR strategy.
Looking back is a powerful move.
Want more? In our next posts on getting organized to make your PR strategy more impactful, we’ll discuss looking out and looking in to get organized. The goal is to get benchmarks behind you, refine outreach strategies, and define performance metrics.
Proving revenue results will help PR get the budget, team growth, and modern PR tools you’ve earned!
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