September 25, 2017

Advancing communications measurement and evaluation

Don’t Set It and Forget It: Keeping PR Measurement Plans Updated

When I moved into my first apartment last year, I had to update my address with what felt like every person or business I’d ever spoken to. As I called place after place, they requested I update other information they had on file.

Was my emergency contact still my grandmother who no longer drove?

Was my primary phone number still my family’s now defunct landline?

Was I still 5’2’’?

Okay, the last one was still accurate.

But my exhaustive update of personal records taught me something: things change. And it’s useful to keep up with those changes so you don’t render your important records irrelevant.

The same can be said about your communications measurement plans.

You may spend hours syncing your CRM system with your automation tool, setting up keywords in a monitoring platform, and creating analytics reports, but this doesn’t mean these plans never need to be revised after their initial setup.

Businesses change, as do their objectives, and it’s important to maintain an up-to-date measurement plan that delivers accurate data, because if it becomes irrelevant, you’re missing out on important insight that your organization requires to meet its goals.

First things first

Before you worry about letting tools get outdated, you have to make sure you set them up correctly in the first place.

Measurement plans require a variety of tools to track digital PR and marketing activities. In particular, it is helpful to have a CRM system, an automation tool, a media monitoring platform, and a reporting tool, like Google Analytics.

These four tools can work together to automate many activities, track important metrics, and report on the data to provide useful insight.

Media monitoring tools track media coverage based on keywords created in the account. These results can be rated and exported in reports and/or spreadsheets to track a brand’s reputation. These tools can also be used to track competition and events like product launches to provide a comprehensive view of how audiences are responding to the brand’s work. There are free options, like Google Alerts, as well as paid platforms, like CustomScoop, that can keep track of this information.

A CRM platform and automation tool should be selected that allows syncing and sharing of information between each other. These tools automate communication with lists, catalogue information on prospects, and allow tracking of leads as they move along a sales funnel.

Additionally, if you use Google Analytics as your reporting tool, it can sync with some automation tools, which facilitates better tracking of lead attribution and reporting on conversions. Tools like Google Analytics track and report on metrics related to your websites, allowing analysis of, among many other things, traffic and conversions.

Revisiting your monitoring tool

Monitoring tools have evolved to become almost entirely automated. Some monitoring tools allow users to set up daily clip reports that send automatically via email, negating the need to even sign in to your account.

Although this can be helpful on a day-to-day basis, someone from your organization should login periodically, whether that means monthly or quarterly, to check on the account’s settings.

Particularly, it’s useful to log in to check on keywords. Seasonal or temporary keywords, such as those tracking an event your organization sponsored, should be removed, and others should be updated to include new information that needs to be tracked. These updates ensure the tool continues to collect the coverage that demonstrates the full scope of your organization’s progress and perception.

CRM systems and automation tools

Although these are two separate platforms, the two tools typically sync to share data. Automation tools manage lists of prospects and send them automated emails, while CRM databases manage the prospects as they move along the sales funnel.

Because automation tools facilitate just that- automation- it could be easy to ignore these platforms, but it is necessary to periodically check on them to make sure they’re still accurately recording information.

Dynamic lists, which are stored in automation tools, update themselves regularly by adding new candidates who fit a set of pre-defined rules. As these lists grow, spam addresses can slip through to clutter the list or the rules could become outdated, allowing unsuitable prospects to join the list.

Additionally, as product offerings and services change, automated emails, such as those sent as a part of drip campaigns, must be updated to continue sending customers and potential customers the most recent information.

Analytics reports

Whether you use Google Analytics, Excel sheets, or some paid version of these platforms, reporting tools provide the necessary insight on data collected from digital efforts, especially websites and social media accounts.

Similar to monitoring platforms, reporting tools allow users to set up and save reports. As professionals introduce new campaigns and digital activities, however, they should edit these reports to update the metrics tracked.

If, for example, a restaurant was opening another branch in a new city, they may want to edit their reports to target data from the area surrounding the new location. Their web traffic reports provide more value if they’re telling the restaurant’s communicators whether or not page views are coming from users in the area near the new location, since this could indicate positive interest in the new branch. This insight wouldn’t be available without edits to the reports.

Regardless of the exact products your organization uses to measure the success of communication efforts, it is important to review them on a regular basis to ensure you’re collecting the most relevant data that provides the insights necessary to succeed.

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