The online environment has revolutionised the way we create and deliver PR messages. It has also changed the way we measure PR effectiveness. The days when a number of issued articles was the only criteria of a PR success are long gone. Even assuming that a lot of people read the publication, where our articles issued, we have to admit that there is always somebody who might not be interested or simply miss our message. In today’s PR world, we cannot afford assumptions anymore, and the internet gave us an opportunity to dig into real insight data of customer behaviour and find out exact PR results we achieve.
Media you own
The internet has become a unique cost-effective platform for new media creation from corporate websites to social media accounts, which brands own, can control and use for communication activities. A company’s voice is now available to the public at all times. More than that, you can get information on who hears your voice through multiple options of the owned-media measurement tools.
Google analytics is the ears of our website providing a full analysis of the visitor traffic. So if you distribute a press release and have it published, it will be reflected on the graph of your website traffic. When the message is delivered properly and this message is accepted by the audience, the traffic will be higher in comparison with situations when it hasn’t reached the target. Now you can measure the pulse of your PR performance.
Social Media pulse
The online environment is constantly changing and a real-time analysis gives a huge advantage in terms of online reputation management. It’s simple, we can’t get access to all website analytics and see how many people read an article about our company there, but we can watch the effect of this article through people’s reaction online, where social media monitoring tools are very helpful.
Radian6, Brandwatch, Sysomos and many others provide a view of the social media ecosystem with sophisticated monitoring and reporting technologies. They catch what people say either on microblogs or in proper blog posts, comment on news websites and wherever your message appears. People discuss everything that happens either online or offline and that’s why monitoring their opinions is important from a PR perspective. By using them, you can see the full picture of your brand’s perception and make the next PR move in time.
Not just numbers
Finally, have a look at the number of followers and likes of your social media accounts. These are not just numbers, they are listeners who fancy getting more content from the particular brand or company. What we always wanted from PR – to deliver our messages to the doors of a target audience and make sure it opens it, has become possible via online communications.
When you post any news or announcements on your Facebook page or put it on a Twitter feed, all fans and followers see it at that very moment. More than that, if the content is valuable they can do the most important part, share it with their connections generating networking effect. So the main task for any company is not to disappoint listeners and give them this content value.
Nearcast your message
The best way to do it is via nearcasting, which, as opposed to broadcasting, has a clear focus on a particular topic or business area. If you want to reach your audience, you need to use content they would like not only to hear but to share. No, it shouldn’t be dry and boring. Emotional posts are important – it’s still you owned media, remember – but if they touch the professional area, it would be even better. The right content will become an invitation to engagement, which can lead to happy and long-term relationships.
Now online campaigns through owned media are an essential part of communication efforts and they are sophisticated, quick and targeted. They prove that PR works not only in our imaginations, but has a real effect on business performance.