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PR Analytics: Essential Tools and Techniques for Effective Public Relations

PR analytics is one of those marketing buzz words that you might have heard fellow PR professionals talk about, but aren't totally sure what it all means.

Public relations has been around for decades yet this is an ever-changing industry that relies more and more on data to help shape strategies.

And this is where PR analytics comes in. Just like when you analyze the success of product sales or service agreements with clients, it's possible to use PR software to analyze your public relations efforts.

From gauging reach and conversion rates to running sentiment analysis, PR analytics helps companies understand what went right and wrong in their most recent campaigns.

You can assess your brand reputation, look at audience behavior, and feed the results of your analysis back to stakeholders.

This guide will explain how you can analyze your public relations efforts beyond simply looking at Google Analytics, and point you in the direction of industry-leading PR analytics software.

Learn how different PR professionals use tools to their advantage and discover how you can get a free demo with Cision.

In this article:

  1. Understanding PR Analytics

  2. Analytics Tools and Platforms

  3. Analytics for: PR Strategy and Campaigns

  4. Analytics for: Social Media and Digital Marketing

  5. Analytics for: Media Relations and Coverage

Understanding PR Analytics

Before we delve into PR analytics tools, it's important we step back and define what we're talking about there. PR analytics monitors, gathers, and assesses the effectiveness of your public relations campaigns.

PR analytics software, such as CisionOne, is able to scan multi-media coverage and decipher how your campaigns are resonating with target audiences.

By analyzing your PR efforts, you can measure their effectiveness and justify your investment in them.

Now, the main focus of PR analytics is to gather data from media coverage and use it to inform your future PR strategies.

You can monitor the performance of your PR campaigns, identify key metrics, and evaluate your PR efforts over time.

Common terminology around PR analytics include:

  • Media Database: A collection of media contacts and outlets you can reach out to for your PR efforts. You can usually house these in PR software.

  • Core Metrics: Quantitative metrics used to evaluate the success of your PR efforts, such as web traffic, click rates, and brand sentiment.

  • PR Measurement: The process of tracking, analyzing, and reporting on the performance of your PR campaigns.

  • PR Analysis: Assessing the impact of your PR initiatives for improvement.

Media Monitoring Essentials

Media monitoring is a fundamental part of PR analytics that involves tracking media mentions of your brand, competitors, and industry trends.

By monitoring different types of media like print, online news, and social media, you can gather valuable insights about your brand's media exposure and public perception. The best way to do this is with a PR analytics suite, which we'll look at later in this article.

A PR professional based in Illinois, for example, might monitor mentions of a newly-launched product to see how wide hype for the product spreads across the country.

With media monitoring you can:

  1. Track media mentions of your company or brand.

  2. Run sentiment analysis on your mentions (positive, negative, or neutral).

  3. Identify overall reach of your media coverage.

PR Metrics and Measurement

There are a lot of metrics you can measure when assessing the success of a PR campaign. Not all will be relevant to your campaign, and some might even be a distraction.

However, PR reporting often requires you to factor in many metrics to gain an overall insight of your PR success.

Here are some to be aware of:

  • Media Impressions: The number of times your content appears across various media outlets.

  • Impression Value: Understand the value behind your impressions. One mention of your brand in the New York Times might be more valuable than 1,000 mentions on X.

  • Share of Voice: The portion of media coverage your brand receives relative to your competitors.

  • Sentiment Analysis: Identifying the sentiment (positive, negative, or neutral) associated with your mentions.

  • Media Reach: The total number of people exposed to your media coverage or mentions.

  • Engagement: The level of audience interaction with your PR content, whether it be reading, viewing, clicking through, commenting, or sharing.

PR Analytics Tools and Platforms

Now we know what PR analytics is, it's time to look at some tools. A reliable PR analytics tool can streamline your data analysis and guarantee quick, relevant reporting.

In fact, the best tools aim to cover the entire media database, so you can gain deep insights into your PR efforts.

In order to analyze your PR campaigns properly, your tool also needs to provide other services such as:

  1. Full Media Monitoring: Track media mentions and sentiment of your brand across the entire media landscape. Receive alerts when your brand, competitors, or industry keywords are mentioned across various media platforms.

  2. PR Reporting: Simplify the process of creating and distributing PR performance reports, making it easier to analyze the success of your PR campaigns.

The analysis stage sits between monitoring and reporting, meaning you can obtain an overarching view of any PR campaign on a single platform.

Choosing the Right PR Tools

There are a few factors you need to consider when choosing analytics tools. This includes:

  • Point-to-Point Service: Find a tool that offers start-to-finish oversight of your PR campaigns, from publishing and monitoring, through to analysis, reporting, and strategy.

  • Functionality: Sign up for a tool that meets your analytics needs, whether that be focusing on one platform or branching across the media spectrum.

  • Usability: Your platform needs to have an easy-to-use interface that you and team members can easily be onboarded onto.

  • Integrations: See whether the tool can integrate with other software systems your business already uses.

  • Scalability: Choose a platform that can grow with your business, accommodating an expanding range of services and increasing data volumes.

  • Budget: Keep in mind the costs associated with the platform, such as subscription fees, training, and support.

Some popular PR tools that typically meet these criteria are Meltwater, CisionOne, and CoverageBook.

Best PR Analytics Software

Whether you're a small business with a localized audience, or a global corporation looking to expand into new markets, having an all-in-one PR analytics tool is important for nailing effective PR campaigns again and again.

Here are three to consider:

1. CisionOne

Get access to millions of articles, broadcasts, and social media posts from across the media spectrum with CisionOne. With built-in data analysts and ROI measurement, you can track credible PR metrics and accurately determine the success of your campaigns.

Smaller businesses can localize their data and track PR analytics in real time, while bigger corporations and agencies can benefit from the platform's global reporting tools to get a clear picture of your brand.

Want to know more? Speak with an expert from Cision and discover the power of PR analytics today!

2. Mention

A cost-effective tool for those who need a quick win, Mention has outstanding features such as media monitoring, social media tracking, and competitor analysis. Generate automated reports to save you time and track audience behavior over the course of days, weeks, months, and years to build a complete picture of how a press release or media campaign are received.

3. Prowly

A platform dedicated to managing and distributing press releases, story creation, and monitoring results. Prowly gives users access to a pitch list where you can connect with publications and personalize your press reports. It's an ideal tool for PR professionals who need to get things done quick.

Now you've seen some of the tools available, it's time to look at what they can do for you and your business. Below are ways in which analytics in PR can be used for:

  • Strategy and Campaigns

  • Social Media and Digital Marketing

  • Media Coverage and Relations

So, let's dive in!

Analytics for PR Strategy and Campaigns

Having access to PR analytics is crucial for helping create strategies and guiding you through campaigns.

Developing Effective PR Strategies with Analytics

As a PR professional, it is essential to develop effective PR strategies that align with your business goals.

Your analytics tool can help craft this strategy by informing your decisions and ensuring you don't miss anything.

When creating your strategy, consider the following steps:

  1. Define your target audience: Understand who your key stakeholders are and tailor your message to cater to their interests. Make sure you can properly analyze them with your tool.

  2. Establish your objectives: Clearly identify what you want to achieve through your PR campaign, whether it's increasing brand awareness or boosting sales.

  3. Develop key messages: Use background analysis to craft engaging and concise messages that resonate with your audience.

  4. Research and analyze industry trends: Stay informed of the latest developments in your industry to ensure your strategy is relevant and up-to-date.

  5. Choose the right PR tactics: Mix your press release strategy with earned media, viral content, and targeted campaigns to reach your objectives.

PR platforms like CisionOne can help you on every step to developing a cohesive strategy that works every time.

Executing PR Campaigns

The best analytics tools also help you execute your PR campaigns. It's important that PR teams share duties across their employees to ensure campaigns run as smoothly as possible.

A tool that allows you to collaborate with others is therefore ideal.

When it comes to executing your plan, an analysis tool can help you:

  1. Coordinate with your PR team: Assign responsibilities to your team members on the same platform.

  2. Use multiple channels: Distribute press releases to various platforms such as traditional media, TV, radio, social media, blogs, and email newsletters to maximize your reach.

  3. Monitor media: Track media placements and mentions of your campaign with an in-built media monitoring tool to evaluate its impact and plan your next steps.

  4. Analyze your campaign performance: Dig into the data and look at KPIs and coverage metrics such as website traffic, social media engagement, and press impact to measure your campaign's success.

Analytics for Social Media and Digital Marketing

If you're tasked with handling your brand's social and digital marketing output, then a PR reporting tool can be invaluable. Not only can you see where your press releases have been published, but you can run sentiment analysis to see how they perform on each platform, and each publication's social accounts.

Social Media Management and Engagement

A tool like CisionOne performs vital social listening duties that track how audiences and customers engage with your PR activity.

For example, if you send out a press release to every major newspaper in North America, the eventual stories that are published could take wildly different angles to the same news.

The audience then responds to that angle, rather than your original press release.

Your report on the subsequent social shares may skew differently to how you intended.

Analyzing how audience personas react to your news via other publications will help you craft better pieces next time, and tweak them to cater for specific sources.

Analytics for Media Relations and Coverage

PR professionals often gravitate towards a select number of contacts when sending out press releases. Trusted contacts at friendly publications are more likely to print or broadcast what you tell them without scrutiny.

Building strong media relations is crucial to expanding your brand's presence, both online and offline. Software such as CisionOne houses a mass databank of media sources to help PR professionals target the right people.

Here's how such analytics tools help in other ways:

Cultivating Media Relations

Strong media relations between PR teams and journalists, editors, and broadcasters is crucial if you are to nail a public relations strategy.

As a PR professional, you should actively build relationships with your media contacts. Trust may be an issue but often PRs and journalists work on a basis of mutual benefits, even if they're not strictly friends.

Networking––either through attending industry events, contacting the right people on social media, and inviting journalists to PR-led events––has never been so important.

Of course, you don't want to network with just anyone. Find the right journalists with a tool like CisionOne and tailor your communication to said journalist's interest.

After you engage with a journalist, you'll need to offer something valuable––such as information on your new product launch or an exclusive interview with your company CEO––to help them create compelling stories.

Analyzing Media Coverage Impact

Analyzing the impact of your coverage is key when it comes to measuring the effectiveness of your PR and marketing efforts.

Make sure you keep track of the various types of media exposure your PR activities generate, such as print articles, online publications, broadcast coverage, social media posts, and podcasts.

You might find that one type of medium––for example, newspapers––ran more critical stories about your PR campaign than online news sites.

To assess the impact of media coverage, use your analytics tool to measure the following metrics:

  • Reach: The number of individuals exposed to your message, typically calculated based on the circulation or audience size of a specific media outlet.

  • Impressions: The total number of times your content is displayed and viewed, which can be useful for measuring the impact of online articles or social media mentions.

  • Sentiment: This measures how favorable the coverage is toward your brand by evaluating the tone and emotions expressed in the media piece.

By regularly analyzing your media coverage's impact, you will gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of your PR efforts.

This information can then be used for adapting and refining your future strategies to maximize media exposure and improve relationships with your media contacts.

Try PR Analytics Today

If you want to get closer to your target audience but need further advice from a PR perspective, get in touch with Cision today to speak to an expert! We're here to support PR professionals and companies through their journey, from crafting each press release to analyzing their impact.