5 reasons why PR should be data driven instead of vanity metrics: Honey Singh

Imagine investing your time and money on your brand, and not being able to show the results? Imagine not being able to justify where you have spent the money? Imagine being a PR firm, not able to give measurable results to your client? Now imagine if you could do avoid all this, just by adapting Data Driven metrics instead of Vanity metrics. 

Many people doubt the value of Public Relations (PR). They ask themselves, is it necessary to engage in PR? Does it work? The very idea that PR is needed and requires budgets is unbelievable to many, and they are justified. This scepticism is because no one has been able to show the actual results driven out of PR. PR professionals have not been able to substantiate their work through measurable results. But all that is changing now. There are now ways that can help you find out the actual value of PR. Following are some of the reasons why PR should be Data Driven: 

1) Data can be used to make the entire PR process more efficient
It is the belief of many that data and analytics can be used only for research and measurement part of the PR process. It is true that such metrics play a significant role in research and analysis, but you cannot limit it to just these. Data metrics can help you analyse the type of message you need to develop, the selection of channels as well as tools, and even your target audience. 

Things to measure:

  • Traffic on your website, directly attributed to PR activities
  • Sources of traffic
  • Target audience behaviour and reactions

2) Audience Engagement
It should be the aim of every PR activity to not only communicate their message, but also to encourage their target audience to engage. This way you can get better results for your PR activities. Unlike impressions, it will give you a truer measurement of your activity, as most engagements come through clicks. 

Things to measure:

  • Social media shares, likes, comments
  • Backlinks to your website
  • Blog/Website Sign-ups

3) Measuring Share Of Voice (SOV)
SOV is a common term used by brands. One of the major objectives of brands is to gain a higher SOV in the market. It is not possible to track the online conversations about your brand unless you are using some software. You cannot accurately compare your SOV with your competitors manually, or without proper data points. It is not only important to analyse how much of the share you have in the industry, but also the quality of the voice you have. 

Things to Measure:

  • Key messages of your brand vis-à-vis the competitors
  • Posts across social media for your brand and your competitors
  • Understand what kind of content is more appreciated/ liked by your Target Audience

4) Push towards Automation
Not all PR professionals have the time or resources to measure the PR results regularly. Especially those at the senior level will not have a chance to go through massive amounts of data and come up with insights and then design their campaign around it. What is needed, and rapidly coming up here, is automation tools that can give us such ideas. For a PR professional, it is essential that you invest in automation of target audience psychometry, the creation of media lists, tracking coverage, campaign reports, etc. This will enable PR professionals to focus on developing new campaign strategies and not spend valuable time on such activities. 

Things to Measure:

  • Data points about target audience- engagement, behaviours, etc.

5) Review, Track and Evolve
Data driven metrics will not only help you evaluate your work, measure and track your success/ failure, but it will also help you to change and evolve according to your results. Data heavy results will help us understand what is and what is not working in our strategy/ approach. We can easily track our results and showcase them to whoever has doubted the importance of PR. 

Things to Measure:

  • Traffic
  • Engagement
  • Audience Behaviour
  • Results

It is high time we forget the Vanity Metrics which have been used for so long. It is important that we establish Data Driven metrics to help measure the correct results of PR activities. If measurable results are not brought to the table, the importance of PR will fade away. It is time we followed and developed tools that could measure the impact of PR by actual measurable Data. PR has a long term effect on the company’s image/ brand, but it is possible to measure that result. 

(Honey Singh is Co-Founder, #ARM Worldwide and CEO - PR and Content Marketing.)

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