How data and numbers can change the way you strategize and execute a PR campaign

Do you remember Brad Pitt’s famous movie Moneyball, where the general manager of the Oakland Athletics used the player’s performance instead of relying on the old school eye tests while making a selection? It’s like evaluating a player’s performance based on real numbers, instead of going by wild hunch. Similarly, data and numbers can change the way we strategize and execute a PR campaign.

But the truth is, as per a Cision '2018 Global Comms Report: Challenges and Trends ' study states that 77% of Marcom leaders feel that communications can do a better job at measuring and proving its impact on business objectives.

A data-driven mindset, therefore, can and will save the PR industry from an impending ossification. For a long time, it has been challenging for the industry to show measurable results. The result is a largely impression-based impact, which is unquestionably one of the weakest metrics to measure a PR campaign’s success.

Creating relevant brand noise: The BizBuySell story 

With brand stories flooding in every passing second, it is obvious that yours also will fall short of creating the noise, unless it has something different to say. Data-backed pitches can help a story cut through the clutter and get the media hooked. 

The campaign for BizBuySell may explain why a data-driven PR campaign is the need of the hour.

The prime challenge of BizBuySell was unambiguously straightforward. They wanted to penetrate the market and reach out to its core demographics of small and medium scale business in the United States. Research showed that a large volume of its target audience was interested in getting consistent information about their position and economic status in the highly competitive U.S marketplace.

What BizBuySells did to attract its target audience was absolutely amazing. Riding on its data assets, BizBuySells has fetched a detailed sales and listing prices of small businesses across the United States based on over 45,000 businesses for sale and those recently sold. It was then published in American City Business Journals in order to reach out to the wider audience. That’s how the BizBuySell Insight Report was born a data-backed quarterly report on the economic status of the small and medium scale business economy in the United States. 

Today, this quarterly report has become – a recognized economic indicator that tracks the health of the U.S. small business economy by analyzing sales and listing prices of small businesses across the United States. The PR stories generated more than 341 million PR impressions. BizBuySell's coverage included mainstream media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, MSNBC.com, CNN Money, Inc., Reuters, Chicago Tribune, PBS Nightly Business Report, LA Times, and the Huffington Post. 

Beyond media stories, BizBuySell.com's web traffic increased by almost 27 percent over the course of the year, with about 373,000 visits per month in January 2010 versus 474,000 visits per month in January 2011. This award-winning campaign has been recognized by the Public Relations Society of America for the impact on the client's business.

How the companies can act on to measure the PR efforts

Measuring the success and impact of a campaign is the trickiest thing ever. There are, however, multiple data-backed social tools that let you track the efficiency of your PR strategies.

You can also add an insightful analysis with your top competitions and identify their traffic sources, online and offline marketing strategies, as well as their social media audiences. It’s going to give you a detailed insight into what’s working and what’s not. 

Tracking leads: It’s extremely informative as far as measuring your campaign’s success is concerned. Tracking leads gets you insightful details about your referral traffic and the actionable outcome, such as signing up for the newsletter and email subscription, downloading an eBook or filling out a contact form.

Social shares: Social shares are most importantly a definitive way to scale the success of a campaign. By knowing the number of social shares, you can practically analyze which topics have worked better and fetched more user interactions.

Brand mentions, impressions and links: To launch a marketing move, a company needs to know its position in the industry and how they are sited in the online space. And brand mentions are vital in this case. With various third-party tools like TalkWalker, SocialMention, Google Alerts, it’s easier for the organizations to know how many times the brand name is mentioned in the online space. At the same time, you can also keep track of the number of times a post from your page is displayed.

Data Drives Thought LeadershipData is an integral part of the marketing communication of B2B enterprises, harvesting data for storytelling won’t be a problem for them. Moreover, there are a plethora of built-in marketing tools that automatically generate extremely insightful data-driven stories. It helps in populating the company’s data bureau with thought leadership materials like whitepapers, blogs, webinars, and so on. The result is elevating your brand’s authoritative reputation to the potential B2B and B2C segment.

The Prime Takeaway

Keep in mind that the PR campaigns, nowadays, are more about individualized marketing. Thus framing your story with valid data can help you reach out to highly targeted prospects, which further translates into sustainable leads.
At this phase, you simply cannot ignore that data-backed PR is nothing but the future of the industry. 

Himanshu Raj is India lead-PR and marketing communications-Zeta and global communications lead-Flock 



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