Using Data in Your Daily PR Initiatives

Marketing and PR were once considered the hardest departments for a business to quantify because there was a lack of definitive return on investment (ROI). With the rise of digital marketing, this has become a slightly mitigated problem with pay-to-click data, Google Analytics, and other various tools used to track engagements digitally.

This is a far cry from trying to determine the sales impact of a billboard on the side of a highway, but it can still be challenging to prove that money invested in PR efforts has been felt by the company in one way or another.

Fortunately, at Dittoe PR, we’re left brained and right brained. We’re creative and resourceful, and we’re also analytical. We strive to show our clients both the tangible and intangible value of media coverage and we use hard data to fuel those efforts. Today, we’ll explore a couple ways that data and PR can go hand-in-hand.

Leveraging UMVs and ad dollars.
When working with clients, we want to ensure they can see the value in a piece of secured media coverage, whether it’s a splashy feature story in a national publication or a brief mention in a trade outlet. One of the ways we do this is by tracking the readership an outlet gets each month. For more on essential reporting tools, check out this blog post!

Once we know how many impressions a piece of coverage gets (i.e. the circulation of a print publication or the number of unique website visitors a website gets in a given month), we can quantify how much it would cost to purchase ad space to reach the same number of viewers or readers. We can also leverage ad rates available in publications’ media kits, when available.

Often times, these figures are far higher than what it costs a company each month to outsource PR efforts. We highlight these numbers for our clients in real time, as well as totaling our efforts at the end of each month, so they can see where their money is going and what the ROI is.

Using data to get coverage.
As much as we love providing data to clients after a piece of coverage is secured, we also love leveraging data to catch a reporter’s attention, especially if the data comes directly from the client.

Using statistics or demographics that are relevant to a clients’ industry always makes a pitch or story angle stronger. While the type of statistic and what is considered interesting will vary across the different trades, providing data to back up a claim such as “we’re the best in the business” will make it an easier sell to reporters and outlets.

For example, if you send out an annual survey to poll your customers on certain industry-related habits, we can leverage that data in our media outreach to earn additional credibility for your company.

Targeting the right audience.
When it comes to media relations, each client has a different reason for hiring a PR team. Some want to increase their brand awareness to an audience that was previously unaware or unengaged with their company. Others might want to strength relationships and move deeper into a certain demographic that’s already proven to resonate with the brand. Knowing these goals and understanding how to reach key demographics can help us determine the right outlets and reporters with whom to connect.

If a company is already trending well with women ages 25-45 and would like to continue that relationship, we research reporters and outlets that target that group. If they’re trending well with that same group of women but would like to increase sales or awareness with men ages 60-75, that often times directs our attention to different publications and different story angles.

Knowing a client’s customer base and their goals associated with growth is a key piece of data that Dittoe PR will revisit again and again to ensure that media relations is serving the need at hand.

Including links back to the website.
Whenever a client mention is secured on a digital platform, we’re always crossing our fingers (and toes) that the client’s website link is included in the story. While this doesn’t always happen, when it does, we’re able to use Google Analytics to determine if recent traffic to their website is driven from that mention. Not only does this show that our efforts are increasing brand awareness and engagement, but it helps us to know what kind of stories, outlets, and demographics are the most engaging to readers.

I’ve often found that while the trade publications might have a smaller number of impressions, they often times have the largest click-through rates. Getting a story in front of the right group of people can sometimes be more valuable than getting a story in front of the largest group of people.

At the end of the day, increasing brand awareness can seem very open-ended and in a lot of ways it is. However, there are plenty of tools, resources, and dedicated PR teams out there to help you achieve those results and back up the claims with data.

Interested in learning more about how we provide tangible value to our clients? Contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com to schedule a consultation today!


Four Tips for Writing Award Nominations That Win

“And the award goes to…”

This phrase has been engraved in my mind since I was a kid and first watched the Academy Awards. I dreamt about being a movie star someday, or even a singer, and receiving what I thought was the highest recognition anyone could ever receive. However, here I am, 20-some years later, working in public relations and writing this blog post about those dreams.

While I may never win an Oscar or a Grammy, I do get to help craft meaningful award submissions on behalf of my clients. In fact, I typically draft at least one award nomination each month. Crafting award submissions is a fun and creative way to break from our typical routine of media pitching and can sometimes create just as much value as a media hit. Awards help businesses or individuals build their street cred. It’s one thing to say you’re the best in XYZ, but it’s another to have an award showing that others also believe you’re the best.

Every award win is ultimately up to the judges, but below I’ve outlined some best practices when drafting submissions on behalf of clients.

Do your research.
How many times have you heard us say that before? But with award opportunities, this is insanely important. We typically begin research for the following year in the fall and continue researching opportunities throughout the next year. During this phase, you will need to think big, sometimes small, and always outside of the box.


Things to include in the calendar:

  • First, check and see if your client has already received awards in the past. Doing this first is a great starting point and can potentially help you start an initial list of new opportunities.
  • You should also research what awards their competitors have won in recent years. Seeing this list can help you realize an additional area of awards you might have never thought of applying to.
  • Additionally, use key words during the research phase. If your client is a retailer, use search terms like “retailer awards” or “best places to shop awards.”
  • Lastly, ask if there are any awards your client wants to apply to. They know their industry the best and there might be one they’ve had on their mind for a while. 


Create a calendar.
Once you’ve completed the initial researching phase, you should then move into creating a content calendar. Having a calendar can ultimately be your saving grace when it comes to organizing all upcoming opportunities. Typically, we’ll create an internal calendar for our team to reference throughout the year. We’ll put all of our initial opportunities in the calendar and then organize from there. If it’s helpful, you can always share this calendar with a client via Google sheets.

A quick glance of what that calendar can look like is below: 

Things to include in the calendar:

  • Month
  • Opportunity name
  • Cost
  • Submission deadline
  • Status
  • Other helpful columns you could include: Who’s handling (you vs. client, you vs. another team member), “about” section, link to receipt and more


Outline all details.
Now that you’ve done your research and created a content calendar, next it’s time to outline the award details for your client. Every client is different, which means there will be a different process for each one. Find out which process they prefer to establish a proper protocol moving forward. Different processes include sending all opportunities via email once a month, sending individual opportunities via email as they arise, share a Google sheet that will notify every time a new opportunity is added, and more.

Things you could include in your outline:

  • Name of opportunity (linked to website)
  • Deadline
  • Cost
  • About the award
  • Anything you might need in order to complete a submission (additional information, supporting materials, etc.)


Create a draft before submitting.
Now it’s time for the fun part – create a draft version of the entire submission! I’d recommend doing this whether you’re drafting a nomination for your client or even yourself. Most applications allow you to view all questions and criteria before submitting, which is a great practice to have when drafting a submission. Creating a draft allows you to create comments or variations of the nomination before you send it to your client for approval. This also limits the back-and-forth questions you might have while working on the nomination in real-time.

Once you have all the questions from the award included in the draft, it’s time to actually start drafting the content. Over time, submitting award nominations for a client can get easier and quicker if they have preapproved messaging. In the meantime, get creative to see what type of messaging sticks with the judges and which submissions lead you to award-wins.

After the draft has been approved, it’s easy peasy from there on out. You can take the approved messaging and paste it into the online submission and voila! Make sure to always forward on the submission and/or payment confirmation to your client as well.

We can’t promise any Oscars nominations, but we can secure some award wins for you. Think your business or organization could use help with drafting submissions? Or need help in other areas, too? Check out our services page or reach out to Lauryn Gray (lauryn@dittoepr.com) for more information!

How Graphic Design Fits into the PR Puzzle

Graphic design and public relations are often considered two mutually exclusive professions. So, when I tell folks that I handle graphic design at our agency, they look a bit puzzled. In fact, graphic design tends to be considered more of a marketing responsibility, and this is just one example of why there are a lot of blurred lines when it comes to public relations and marketing. However, while marketers utilize graphic design to help sell a product, PR professionals incorporate graphic design to help tell a story.

Our world is rapidly evolving due to the advancement of technology, and as a result, the public relations landscape is continuously changing to accommodate new media channels and content types. Storytelling in the 21st century is becoming heavily influenced by the demand for visually appealing images, graphics and overall appearance. In order to stay relevant in this highly-saturated content world, it’s important for companies to understand how graphic design and public relations are intertwined, and how joining the two can greatly increase the impact of your strategic efforts.

Storytelling
The art of storytelling is constantly taking on new, innovative forms and in today’s world, digital storytelling is all the rage. The average human processes images 60,000 times faster than text, and with over 3 billion people using social media, stunning visual elements are more crucial than ever. Design has become its own medium for storytelling and visuals have become a staple of PR.

When telling a story, you want to create an experience for the reader in order to pull them in and engage on a deeper level, which by the way, is a PR professional’s main goal. Whether it be in a story, a pitch, or a social media post – visual components serve as an excellent form of communication. Visuals can capture a piece of the story that words sometimes cannot or tremendously enhance the message of the story when combining the two.

Take infographics as an example. Alone, you have a dozen bulleted statistics and informative messages that serve as key components to a story. But in today’s world, that’s not enough – it’s boring. Instead, incorporate that information into a beautifully crafted infographic, and boom! Audience engaged.

Don’t say it
Don’t say it.
Don’t say it.
A picture is worth a thousand words.

Credibility
The look of a company plays a significant role in the decision-making process amongst consumers, investors and talent. Graphic design serves as a remarkable tool for communicating clients’ credibility and professionalism. Companies that have aesthetically pleasing visuals and a more “professional” look are typically perceived to be more trustworthy and innovative.

In addition, maintaining cohesive visual elements throughout all aspects of the corporate identity – social media posts, annual reports, case studies, internal presentations and more – increases your client’s ability to build brand recognition among key decision makers. Successful visuals will be personalized, thought provoking and mirror company values. By integrating this puzzle piece, PR professionals can better position a client as an expert in their industry while influencing behavior and invoking change.

Convenience
Ultimately, PR pros want to help make our clients’ jobs a bit easier. At Dittoe PR, we consider ourselves an extension of each of our clients’ internal teams. Therefore, merging graphic design with already existing media relations efforts saves clients from the hassle of having to outsource for visual elements.

By manning the design elements from the start, PR teams can properly integrate visual or digital components in the initial ideation process, which will improve the execution of the strategy and maximize results. And this may be a no-brainer, but it also gives your PR agency a very nice competitive edge by optimizing your service offerings that will meet client objectives and even exceed expectations.

If your company is in dire need of eye-catching graphics, we’re just a click away from creating professionally-crafted visuals tailored to your company’s unique needs.