Measuring PR can be tedious, time consuming and expensive.
And the fact that many PR professionals are not numbers people only makes matters worse.
The old way of counting and measuring exposure (column-inches) and monetizing them is no longer enough. They don’t adequately tell us the results our PR efforts bring. So what if that print interview has a potential readership of 500,000? We still don’t know exactly how many eyeballs we reached.
However, since PR has moved into the realm of social media, we are able to take advantage of the measurability of social media. This helps us put hard numbers on the work we do and the results we bring.
Take Google Analytics for example. Google Analytics is a free yet robust web performance analytics tool that can tell us a lot about how well our PR efforts are doing, particularly our PR efforts in social media. You install the GA code in your website, and Google crawls your site and records your site visitors’ activity.
Google Analytics and Your PR
Some of the things GA can tell us about PR are:
Who’s interested in you, your product or service
Google Analytics can tell you how many unique visitors you’ve had every day, week or month. You’ll also see which countries they come from and even what web browser they used. You will know how long they stayed on your site and whether they clicked from one page to another to learn more.
By tracking your traffic over time, you can tell if your publicity and advertising efforts are paying off in terms of audience reach. Remember, these are not potential audiences, but actual visitors to your website.
What your audience is interested in
With Google Analytics, you can find out which of your website’s pages had the highest amount of traffic for any specified time period. This gives you an idea of what topics, products or services your audiences are most interested in.
This knowledge can help inform your PR efforts by pointing you to content topics that will mostly likely catch the interest of your prospects.
How prospects find you
Google Analytics tells you a lot about how your website visitors find you. For example, you can tell which keywords they typed into the Google search engine to find your website. Use these same keywords every time you write press releases and other PR content.
With Google Analytics, you can also fine out which social networking sites and websites – including online press release sites – refer the highest amount of traffic to you. If you use Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube, for example, Google Analytics will tell you exactly how many visitors come from these networks and click through to your site. Same thing goes for blogs you network with.
You may find that you spend a lot of time and effort on Twitter and yet LinkedIn brings you more traffic. Or that taking 3 minutes to post a comment on a blog actually helps you attract a significant audience. This knowledge helps you adjust your communications efforts as well.
Which online campaigns are more successful
By using the conversion tracker, Google Analytics can help you determine which online campaigns are most successful. You can use this feature to determine which of your white papers or free reports are most popular, for example. It also lets you test different versions of a web page to see if changes in the headlines, color or other elements can bump up your conversion rates.
These are only some of the intelligence you can access through Google Analytics. It has many more advanced features that are beyond the scope of this blog. But you can learn more directly from the Google Analytics site.
If you haven’t installed Google Analytics in your website yet, I encourage you to do so. If not, use something similar to help you gather hard metrics. Look at your stats at least monthly, but don’t get obsessed about it and keep checking every hour.
Use your statistics to track and measure your social media efforts, and make intelligent adjustments along the way. Other metrics, such as keywords, can even help you conceptualize new strategies and approaches.
Speak Your Mind
Do you use Google Analytics? How do your GA metrics help shape your PR efforts?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, or on Twitter or Facebook. I’d love to hear from you!
Elena is founder of a technology PR agency that works with startups to billion-dollar companies. She is passionate about helping marketers and small business owners with practical publicity strategies.
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