It will shock no one to hear us say that we believe data analysis is an increasingly important part of the practice of PR. The smartest PR pros gather information from a PR analytics platform, marketing automation solutions, CRMs, and Google Analytics. But of course, getting the data is only the first step. It’s what you do with it that really matters. We’ve written before about how website traffic is a critical PR metric. Here’s how it can help amplify the story of your brand.
Shape Content Strategy
Based on the performance of earned media that is actually driving traffic to your site, a brand now knows what keywords or messaging are resonating with visitors. You can use that data to create content (blogs, social media posts, videos, infographics, etc.) on your website and then promote that content.
Web traffic analysis also gives you a much better picture of who your visitors are based on the publications they are coming from. Once you understand the interests of your audience, you can craft the right content that is geared towards them.
Create Media Convergence
By understanding the publications your visitors are coming from, you can now target those publications with paid media. This helps you control the narrative around your brand in the ecosystem where your potential customers reside. It also helps you craft a more complete and integrated media strategy.
In addition to paid advertising in the publications that successfully refer visitors, you can invest more effort in earning coverage on those sites. The reverse is also true, if earned coverage in a particular publication doesn’t move the needle on website traffic, you might consider spending your resources (time and relationship capital) elsewhere.
By tracking competitive domains you can now see the actual articles, publications, and journalists that are performing well for your competitors. You can use this data to run earned media campaigns that target the publications that are attracting customers for your competition.
We recommend taking a wide view of the companies that make up the competition. Include:
- Brands offering the same product or service
- Brands offering similar products or services
- Brands that you have reason to believe might offer the same or similar products or services in the future
- Brands with products that could remove the need for a product or service you offer
The number of visitors is an important metric, but it pays to dig beyond that and analyze what people do when they make it to your site. If you have a mention that is driving traffic, that’s great, but are those visitors finding relevant information when they get there. Your time on site and bounce rates will give you some insight into whether that traffic is creating value.
If you have a high bounce rate, consider whether the site content is well aligned with the message and promise of your earned media. If it isn’t, consider changing the content to be more aligned with the visitor’s expectations. If on the other hand, your traffic is engaging visitors, causing them to explore the site and share their information, you know that you’ve found a message that works.
With the right monitoring tools in place, you can trace events that lead to revenue right back to a specific earned media mention. Revenue generating activities include form submissions, items placed in a cart, and orders placed. Visitors might not take these steps on their first visit after being referred by a publication, but you can monitor whether PR has influenced any given conversion or transaction. This is the metric that will get the attention of executives and help you justify increased investment in PR.
Website analytics should be a prime consideration when it comes to PR strategy. The data provides key insights on the effectiveness of past activities and insight into exactly what you should do next.