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What You Should be Measuring and How Digital PR can Help

The biggest hurdle for most brands when it comes to PR measurement in the digital age is figuring out what, exactly, they should be measuring. When everything is increasingly measurable, it's easy to quickly get overwhelmed and not know which metrics to focus on for your brand. 

If you're looking for a fresh start in the new year, we're applying the digital PR process to measurement to help clarify what brands in an increasingly interconnected communications world need to focus on. 

Let's dig in. 

What is digital PR? 

The quick version? It's a framework for everything you're already doing in your job as a communications professional. 

More specifically, it's a communication process built for today's often fragmented digital media ecosystem. Digital PR combines targeted storytelling and scalable influencer relations with the aim of improving your overall marketing strategy through the unique credibility of earned media. 

It cycles through: 

  • Understanding the digital activity of your customers so you know where to reach them and can identify their influencers 
  • Engaging those influencers in their preferred space with purposeful, valuable content informed by audience and media intelligence
  • Quantifying and optimizing how your message is impacting the key business metrics that matter to your brand (and your boss) 
  • Integrating earned media credibility into your paid and owned marketing for the best possible outcomes in things like improved advertising efficiency and brand lift 

Traditional PR did not fully integrate with digital marketing tactics and strategies; digital PR does. 

What you're measuring now  

Is it everything that's available, sourced from several different tools and platforms, and crammed into several spreadsheets that make creating clean, readable reports an increasing nightmare? 

Is it a bunch of KPIs chosen by a team that came before you, that hasn't been reviewed in several quarters or even years? 

If you want to prove the value of what you do as a communications professional to those who aren't part of the day-to-day work, you need a better way. 

Here's how digital PR can help. 

Reframe with digital PR 

Use the digital PR process to make sure you're focusing on what matters most: Building real relationships with your target audience and their influencers, so you can engage with them and use their feedback to optimize your content and general communications strategies in a sustainable, ongoing way. 

Focus on metrics that show increasing engagement over time, such as: 

  • High value social engagement metrics: Most of us use social media regularly (constantly, even) and know that it takes more effort to do a Quoted-Retweet than simply clicking retweet or like. Tracking these higher value engagement metrics lets you focus on creating more of the content that's resonating the most with your target audience.  
  • Audience growth metrics: Real relationships take time to build and sustain; focus on metrics that reflect this kind of work, like blog or newsletter subscribers, the growth over time of your followers across platforms, etc. This is the approach you should be taking in building and nurturing relationships with influencers. 
  • Alerts that help you optimize: It's not exactly a metric, but having a combination of summary and key real-time alerts in place around certain topics and keywords can not only help your brand's crisis communication strategy, but tweak your content strategy in real time to get the most out of a campaign, influencer partnership, etc. 

All of this will help you clearly prove your value as a communications professional..