It can be scary trying to measure and be data-driven with PR campaigns. It’s especially scary when you’re doing it for the first time. There’s an overwhelming amount of tools and resources out there. The perspective we have is to try and use no external tools for your first campaign, and build a framework from scratch. This allows you to understand what you’re doing from the ground up.
Measurement is becoming more and more useful. Being data driven is a necessity nowadays, not just nice-to-have. There’s a lot more avenues to get press for your clients, and data allows you to narrow and find the best ones. Without having numbers, it’s incredibly overwhelming to try and figure out what’s best.
What do you want to measure?
What does success look like for your campaign? Break down the variables that would lead to your campaign being successful. These could be increase in hits on your client’s websites or increased number of shares on Twitter for your client’s tweets, etc. Write down all of the important variables that you want to track. For example, mine could be:
- Number of hits on client’s website from article
- Number of user sign that signed up because of article
- Revenue created because of user sign up from article
- Number of shares on social media
How to breakdown & find these metrics
Each of the metrics you’d like to measure above should be able to be broken down into concrete things you can record. For example, the number of hits on a client’s website from the article can be recorded using Google Analytics. You’ll be able to use the client’s Google Analytics account to get how many unique visitors came to a particular URL.
For each of the items you want to measure, make sure you know how to measure them. Write them down on a document somewhere, along with how to measure them:
- Number of hits on client’s website from article => Google Analytics
- Number of user that signed up because of article => Google Analytics (setup required)
- Revenue created because of user sign up from article => Google Analytics & Client Revenue Dashboard (setup required)
- Number of shares on social media => Mention.com or using Twitter search manually
For the number of user’s that sign up, you might need to add some custom elements to Google Analytics. You might need to work with the client in order to do this. It’s important to understand which are easy to do, and which are complicated. For example, I would have to ask the client to give me access to their revenue dashboard, and their Google Analytics account.
The revenue created is a complicated metric to measure, but an important one. This one will allow your agency to directly show the client the revenue generated because of PR. If your client is looking to maximize revenue, then this metric is an important one to measure.
It’s important to break each of the metrics you want to measure into values you can actually record. Then, you’ll be able to research and find out what tools to use to record them (this part get a lot easier as you understand what the best tools are). Additionally, it’s also important to spend time researching your options before you start your campaign.
How to record these metrics
Don’t use fancy technologies if you’re doing this for the first time. Use simple Excel sheets, and learn what your ideal workflow is. Then, you’ll be able to use this to find the right solutions to record your metrics.
Initially, the only thing you’d want to record is what you’re recording, the value, and the time. For example, I’d record:
- Number of hits on client’s website from article, 1,569, May 23rd, 2017
- Number of user that signed up because of article, 10, May 23rd, 2017
- Revenue created because of user sign up from article, $1,300, May 23rd, 2017
- Number of shares on social media, 4,850, May 23rd, 2017
This could be laid out in Excel format. You can have what you’re measuring on the left side, and your dates as headers. For example:
Excel is usually flexible enough in the beginning. Later on, as you understand your work flow better, you’ll be able to automate most data collection parts. Excel will let you sum up all the revenue, shares, and other metrics using the “=SUM” feature at the end of each campaign.
How to iterate on the campaign using these metrics
Having metrics is important as it allows you to understand what publications and articles work best for your client. It lets you understand what the best channels are for getting hits or revenue. Having a good framework for metrics and measurement allows you to A/B test different channels, and learn from successes in the past. You’re able to try out more things, and then filter down to what works.