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!


PR Reporting 101: The Essential Measurement Tools

This time last year, I was barreling toward a quarter-life crisis by unnecessarily stressing about post-grad life. Despite rationally knowing I was prepared to work as a “real-life” PR pro and function as an active adult, I was terrified. Today, I can reflect back and say that my rationale was exactly accurate – minus my juvenile snack habits (Java flavored Monster, anyone?) – and I was much more prepared than I thought I would be.

If you’re preparing to graduate in May, you may be wondering what my biggest (or most surprising) learning curve has been in my first full-time agency role. Since my days as an intern in a small NYC agency, I’ve realized how vital measurement and reporting tools are for showcasing successful public relations efforts.

Thankfully, I was already somewhat familiar with Cision, a contact-finding tool, upon starting at Dittoe PR. However, I felt a smidge intimated when I received my onboarding schedule on my first day, which included an overview of several platforms I’d never heard of before. For whatever reason, I wasn’t taught or even familiarized with reporting tools in college and only received real-world experience during an internship with one of several important tools.

To give you a head start in your first agency gig, I’ve rounded up a few of the software VIP’s every PR pro should know.

Cision.

This online public relations tool allows professionals to tap into a massive database of journalist and blogger contact information for earned media outreach. The Cision platform gives PR pros access to intelligence, influence and insights and is commonly used to monitor news and social media sites, as well as distribute press releases.

The majority of the time, Cision is used to build or bulk up press lists. We consistently build specifically-tailored press lists for clients that include specific markets, outlets and reporters. Taking it a step further, we organize by reporters’ beats and our pitching and/or press release topic. Cision can also be used to provide circulation and ad rate numbers for digital and print publications, allowing us to track the potential reach of a secured earned media story.

Alexa.

This tool is, by far, the easiest to learn and is perfect for producing quick results. Primarily, PR professionals use Alexa to monitor the competitive analytics of a website’s traffic. Alexa has a large database that displays the historic data for the number of page views, unique monthly visitors and the estimated page views for a website of all sizes, all over the world.

Mainly, Alexa is used to track the audience impressions of a specific piece of coverage and, from there, the estimated advertising equivalency for all stories secured on behalf of a client during a specified amount of time. We track our efforts in real time, sharing this data with our client contacts as these stories are published, but we also aggregate the data in monthly and annual reports to showcase our efforts over time.

Critical Mention.

This reporting tool allows PR pros to access broadcast television and radio news clips in real-time. Critical Mention search, tracks and report clients’ significant media moments almost instantly. Additionally, Critical Mention tracks the number of viewers and estimates the advertising equivalency for the earned media.

When a client is mentioned on-air, we search Critical Mention using keywords and phrases, viewing the “word play” of the segment (this means the closed captioning) to find the broadcast coverage, pulling all mentions into a single, easy-to-view report before sharing the link with the client for internal use only.

Sprout.

This tool is a super-handy social media management platform. Sprout Social allows users to draft and post content, engage in two-way communication, conduct social listening, monitor audience demographics and track efforts through reporting.

Mainly, we use Sprout Social to manage the social media efforts for a variety of clients on our roster. Not only can we monitor post metrics, such as which posts received the most engagements or impressions, but Sprout also shares insightful audience demographics, including which time of day or days of the week were best for reaching the largest audience. At the end of each month, we use this platform to report our efforts, including the total number of impressions, engagements, link clicks and more.

TrendKite.

This platform tracks digital media mentions over a period of time. TrendKite allows users to build dashboards for clients, including top content, digital impressions, ad equivalency and more. Even further, PR pros can monitor a company’s “share of voice,” which allows you to compare competitors based on earned media coverage, mentions and overall media attention.

At Dittoe PR, we use TrendKite to build monthly reports for our clients’ digital coverage, tracking share of voice, total number of media mentions, readership, audience sentiment and more. We also digest the competitor coverage to search for new publications and writers for future outreach.

These tools are vital for tracking and reporting important metrics to prove the ROI of our efforts. Think your company could benefit from more in-depth research, tracking and management? Contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com to schedule a consultation today!

Pitching 101: Media advisories, press releases and more

Being a young professional in the industry, many of my closest friends and family still don’t understand exactly what public relations and media relations consists of. To keep the conversation short and sweet, I describe my profession as “emailing reporters and asking them to cover my client’s story,” which isn’t technically wrong. But it’s also so much more than that.

 

From drafting media advisories and finalizing press releases, to tailoring the perfect email pitch to the lifestyle reporter, my job can get pretty hectic!

 

In order to get coverage for a client, these tactics are the most important pieces to the media relations puzzle. Check out the most common – and successful- tools for pitching your ideal reporter below:

 

Press release

A press release, also commonly referred to as a news release, is a PR professional’s greatest asset and tool (besides the AP Stylebook!). A press release is a short, compelling news story with statements from the company that outline the most important details of an announcement. A few examples that warrant a press release include:

 

  • Moving to/opening a new location
  • Announcing a new product or service
  • Announcing a key new hire or promotion
  • Winning an award
  • Company rebrand
  • Promoting an upcoming event

 

Press releases are written with the intention of sending to members of the media. Yes, sometimes they can be housed on a company website, but the sole purpose is for the media to pick one up and decide to cover the announcement in an upcoming broadcast or draft a story online or in print.

 

Media advisory

A media advisory is not a press release and the intent is actually different, too. A media advisory is written for the media, but it’s used to make them aware of your announcement, and hopefully to cover it, too! Media advisories work best for events, press conferences or grand openings. It’s common that an event might warrant both a press release and a media advisory, if it’s important enough.

 

The best media advisories should include the “5 W’s” or the who, what, where, when and why of the event. If your advisory is lacking any details or information, it’s likely the reporter won’t take the time to reach out and ask for clarification.

 

Basic pitch

Believe it or not, sometimes your email to a reporter doesn’t have to include a release or an advisory. If you have something newsworthy for a client, but you’re not necessarily inviting them anywhere or it doesn’t warrant a release, you also have the option to simply draft the perfect email and hit send. It’s a great, quick and easy way to get your client’s name out there without spending hours on creating an extra deliverable.

 

If you decide to send a pitch, personalize it! Depending on who you’re pitching, reporters can get upwards of 500 emails each day. So, make your pitch stand out against the rest.

 

A few ways to do this include using catchy emojis or their first name in the subject line. Personalize your email further by finding out what the reporter enjoys or what they typically write about and tying it into your intro. I like to visit reporters’ Twitter accounts to gain insight before hitting send. Whatever you do though, make sure your pitch is filled with information and leave nothing to the imagination.

 

Hopefully I’ve given you enough basic information to get you started. Remember, include all the details, make it unique, make it personal, and you’re bound to have luck! Just keep pitching.

 

Need help drafting your next press release? Looking to get results for your next company announcement?  Contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com to set up a consultation today!