Greatest Hits: Track Your Media Relations Efforts with These 7 Tips

Media relations programs are a cost-effective, credible way to reach your key audiences and position your company as an industry thought leader. They can also be a tricky initiative to measure effectively—with an emphasis on the word effectively. It’s like measuring the energy expended by a toddler having a tantrum. Sure, you can see the effect. It’s just hard to quantify in real numbers that actually mean something.

Our digital project manager wrote about vanity metrics and how to interpret your data in a way that has meaning to your company. The writer asks the existential question, “What does it all mean?”  And unlike some existential questions, it supplies answers you can really use.

We typically measure our media relations efforts through basic stats such as impressions, media value and hits. But do you truly know how many people opened a printed trade publication and read your article or found your specific post online? How do you know that article inspired them to take action and engage with your company? And even more hazy (but crucially vital to figure out) is the link between these actions and actual company sales numbers. In the search for answers to these questions,  you’ll discover plenty of ways to show real meaning behind your efforts and get results in tune with goals.

1. Pump Up the Jam: Amplify and track your content via owned channels. You could let a media relations article end at the pages of the publication. But wait! There’s more …  ways to repurpose the content and share it out once it’s been published (and you verify the publication is OK with you sharing). Here are a few ideas to get you started:

-Share it on your company’s social channels.
-Include a link to it in your e-newsletter.
-Link to it on a visible spot on your website.
-Send it to the sales team to share with their client contacts or in sales presentations.
-Use it to reach out to prospects.
-Take a different angle and turn it into a blog post.
-Create an email series of your best work to reach out to clients.

The more you repurpose it and link to it through your own efforts, the more you can track engagement and show reach beyond the publication’s viewership. Be sure to use a Bitly link so you can track clicks.

2. Get it Together: Create an online hub of your best articles. Once you receive permission from a publication to use and promote your article, consider housing all relevant ones to it in one location on your website. A publication’s logo (with permission) and a quick write-up of the article with a direct link will give users a place to explore all your thought leadership pieces at once. If you do business with multiple industries, consider tagging each article and making them searchable so it’s easier for users to navigate.

3. 867-5309/Jenny: Use UTM codes when possible. UTM codes are an easy and free way to track clicks back to your site and monitor the customer’s journey they took after they clicked. This will give you a peek behind the curtain as to what content users are finding most valuable and where their interests lie. It might also tell you areas of your site you need to enhance due to bounce rates. Since UTM codes can only be created for owned websites, try to use them when sending digital publications a link to share as a call to action at the end of your article (when these opportunities arise) or when you share an article through your content repurposing efforts like those listed above.

4. Simply the Best: Focus on quality over quantity. If your goal is to jog three miles every day, that’s great. But if the jog is all downhill with a gusting wind at your back, will you get the results you expect? It’s the same with media relations. Hitting a goal you set for the number of articles at the end of the year is great, but does reaching your goal translate to desired results? These days, one in-depth article in a credible trade publication that positions your company and SMEs as thought leaders can be more valuable than 10 publications rerunning a company press release. Make sure you’re reporting back on the types of content that are being shared and how they measure up to and support your company’s strategy and focus for the year.

5.Something to Talk About: Leverage SMEs to further your reach. Your company’s greatest advocates are your employees, and a well-respected thought leader sharing your content has more clout than a company-owned channel sharing it. It’s coming from a person rather than an entity and feels more genuine and trustworthy. Furthermore, SMEs sharing content can lead to engagement and conversations with prospects—another valuable metric to consider. Keep your company’s SMEs informed of when articles run so they can share them on LinkedIn and through other communications channels. Take it a step further and suggest content for an accompanying post when you share the article link with the SMEs so they have something to work from. It’s one less step and makes it easier to share during their busy days.

6. Building the Perfect Beast: Tie messaging back to corporate strategy. Everything can be connected to something bigger. No matter the article opportunity, tie key messaging back to your company’s strategy. Even something as singularly focused as a new product launch or staff change is connected to your organization’s bigger vision. Echoing the overall goals of the company through each effort will give your program even more credibility and importance when sharing results back to the C-suite. To help you infuse the bigger picture into each piece of content, simply answer the question “why are we doing this?” when developing it.

7. Takin’ Care of Business: Make your reports meaningful. All the above might be for naught if your reporting doesn’t reflect the hard work and thoughtfulness behind your program. Generate reports at least quarterly to share your successes with your team and key decision-makers within the company. The more succinct and visual you can be, the better. Make sure to include key stats but also the answer to the question “what does this number mean?” Connecting the dots back to the bigger goals of the business will help others—even those who may not fully appreciate PR—better understand the value it brings to the company.

The beat goes on. Though media relations is one of many different initiatives that can help lead your customers and prospects through the buyer’s journey, it’s an integral part of your company’s overall strategy. Meaningful metrics that highlight your efforts in relation to the larger vision will only set you up for more success, buy-in and harmony with key company stakeholders.