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How to use PR analytics to get better PR results

What is PR analytics?

PR analytics is a key tool in measuring success when sending out a pitch or a press release to journalists or planning a campaign that provides precise data. Great PR Analytics can tell you:

  • Who has opened your press release
  • How quickly they opened it
  • Insight into whether they might use your story
  • Percentage of your emails that were delivered and opened
  • Comparison of the performance of your story to the industry average

Analytics provide the key to measuring the effectiveness of your public relations campaigns by giving you insight into key figures that can help you to send out releases with intention. The values of using PR analytics include insight into;

  • The journalists you should follow up with based on opens
  • The peak time and days to send releases
  • Emails that are bouncing and need to be updated

In this article we will look at the following areas:

  • What is PR Analytics?
  • Why is PR Analytics important?
  • Three steps to get effective PR analytics.
  • PR Analytics - what determines success?

Why is PR Analytics important?

Tracking the analytics of your pitch, press release or campaign can help you to figure out what is working and what needs some work when it comes to your PR strategy. PR analytics can help you to learn the right time to send a release, which journalists are interested in your campaign and understand their behaviour to amplify your coverage. It is essential to have easily accessible analytics as they make it simple to know which contacts regularly view your emails and which can be removed from your list. They can also inform you of any opt-outs, bounces and clicks as well as the total opens and opens by the hour. The goal of a campaign is to get positive coverage but navigating this without intention and sending mass emails to journalists inboxes can quickly land you in a block or spam list. Analytics is the key to focused and strategic campaigns and can be a helpful factor in your story making the news. Below are some steps you can take to see effective PR analytics.

Three steps for effective PR Analytics

  1. Set your intention

A good campaign starts with a story, but reaching the right people is key when it comes to getting coverage. When sending out a press release, you can either go in blindly, sending it to a random list of journalists at a random time and hoping it will get picked up, or you can go in with intention, building lists to suit your story.

  1. Write the story

Your story is the most important part of the press release process. Try writing a snappy headline that will stand out in a sea of emails by making it short and eye-catching. Without good tools, a good story alone won’t make the news, so selecting your list carefully matters. Read our piece here on ‘How to write an effective press release’.

  1. Build your media lists

Curating a list of journalists who are likely to cover your story is key, and PR analytics can help you to discover your audience. It is essential in the PR industry to know your target audience. Having dedicated lists of journalists who cover specific topics relating to your release eliminates the pain point of sending mass emails to journalists who may have no interest in your story. At MediaHQ, we believe that the tools needed to build lists, send releases and track your analytics should be under one roof. MediaHQ allows you to filter your search to put together specialist lists that will go directly to those who cover the niche of your story. The MediaHQ research team also put together national, regional and specialists lists to help you target your desired audience in one click. Using these lists to ensure that the right people are getting your press releases increases your chances of getting a story picked up.

  1. Measure your results

Tracking and measuring PR analytics provides a huge benefit to your company as strong PR impacts sales and growth. The most important use of PR analytics comes down to the measurement of the data. On the MediaHQ dashboard, you can create a pdf report of a particular release and use the bounce rate, open rate and click-through rate statistics to inform future campaigns. It is crucial to measure both the successes and failures of campaigns and press releases. Measurement highlights the places you’re doing things right and which areas could do with improvement.

How does PR analytics deliver better PR results?

How it works

PR analytics provide a company with insight into the activities that are yielding positive results and those that are not. Tracking the analytics of your press releases allows your team and your company to strategically plan when to send your press release and to whom to reap the best media coverage. Targeting your campaigns to a specific audience allows you to cut out the confusing game of sending out emails en masse and hoping that it will get picked up while not knowing if it has even been opened. As journalists get hundreds of press releases in a day, it is essential as a PR professional to know your audience and to accommodate them. If you are looking to get coverage in a weekend magazine, you don’t want to send out a release on a Friday evening as they will already be going to print. Consider sending it earlier in the week and following up with journalists who have shown interest in the release or opened the email multiple times. This is a great way to build a relationship with a journalist who may cover your pieces again in the future. Targeted and intentional work cuts out the guessing game and brings a higher ROI to your company and communications team.Here is how MediaHQ does PR Analytics:

How it can drive better results

Tracking your PR analytics is a simple yet effective way to know which releases have been successful and which have not. PR analytics allow you to monitor your press releases and campaigns and track their impact and success. The MediaHQ database allows users to send releases and track their progress under one roof. It allows you to view your most recent release or choose a timeframe of emails to view, compare the analytics of your past sends and see them delivered, opened and link click rates among other statistics while comparing them to the industry average.A PR analytics tool allows you to track things like the number of times a journalist has opened your release, click through rates for links included and the industry average in comparison to your release. The detailed feedback provided can inform your campaigns.Analysing trends is another great way to use PR analytics as this gives you insight into what is currently getting traction and how best to fit your campaign around it. Working proactively to keep up with trends will keep your company and your story relevant which can lead to increased traction of your releases and campaigns.

PR analytics - What determines success?

  • Your Story

Having a good story to share is crucial in the world of public relations. Keeping it brief and including statistics, bullet points and key figures is essential when competing with hundreds of other stories in a journalists inbox. PR analytics allow you to track the success of your story and provide essential insights into what stories frequently make the news.

  • The Context

In the PR world, context and timing are everything. What is the context of your piece? If you’re sending out a release on a big news story when is the right time to send it? If it centres around a national holiday or an event, it is important to send your release a day or two before it is due to take place in order to give a journalist the time to write their piece.

  • The Timing

Figuring out the optimal time to send out your piece so that it gets the most coverage is crucial in having a successful story. Read our piece here on the ‘25 Must Know Irish Media Deadlines‘ to get an insight on when to pitch to the biggest Irish media outlets and programmes. A general rule of thumb is ‘early in the day, early in the week’. The further into the week you get, the more complicated the media landscape becomes. At MediaHQ, our PR analytics page allows you to not only track the opens of your last press release, but it also gives detailed information on hour one, hour three and total opens and compares your release to the industry average and to other sends. If your release does not do well in the first hour, it likely won’t recover so tracking its progress over the first three hours is crucial. If your stories aren’t getting picked up by the press, maybe it’s time to take a look at why. Once you know that something isn’t working, it opens the path to take a different approach.

  • Your Media Contacts

Seeing who has and has not opened your release allows you to make a note of who to contact. If a journalist has opened your release five or six times, it might be worth giving them a call to answer any questions they may have. On the other hand, if there is a crucial journalist on your list who has not opened your release hours after it has been sent, this is a great incentive to give them a call and follow up on your email.

PR Analytics - Tools to guarantee success

MediaHQ takes the guesswork out of communications. The days of putting together a list of emails, sending them from your gmail and hoping for the best are over. The tools provided by MediaHQ allow you to contact relevant journalists through specialised lists and track the success of your releases.

  • The golden first hour

The first hour after you send a press release provides crucial information on how your story is likely to get picked up. If your story doesn’t get much traction in the first hour, it likely won’t recover so using the MediaHQ analytics page and being aware of trends can help you to overcome this and get maximum traction for your story.

  • How did the audience like it?

The release reports page on the MediaHQ system allows users to see detailed reports of how their press release fared. It brings insight into:

  • Percentage of opens
  • Percentage delivered
  • Link clicks
  • Opt-outs
  • Bounces
  • How did it compare to other releases?

The insight provided through PR analytics allows you to compare your release to both your previous stories and the industry average of opens, link clicks and delivered status.

  • How much coverage did your story get?

Tracking the coverage of your story can lead to big success for a communications team or a client. The coverage of a story can inform you of what campaigns do well in the news and impact your work positively.In the PR industry, you measure what matters and what matters is what you measure. Measuring the impact of your campaigns can help you to learn what works and what doesn’t, stay relevant and improve on future campaigns.Want to see more of MediaHQ? Check out our video below:

PR Analytics Checklist

Use this checklist before sending out a press release or campaign to ensure that you are on the right track to get the most out of your PR analytics:

  • Have you set your intention?
  • Do you know your audience?
  • Do you know the peak time for sending your release?
  • Have you double-checked your lists?
  • Are you using the right tool for accurate analytics?

If you answered yes to these questions, you are ready to send out your press release and start gaining insight from your PR analytics.Looking to send your own Press Releases? More than just a Press Release Distribution tool. MediaHQ helps you find journalists, build media lists, distribute press releases and analyse results

Ciara is a Research Executive at MediaHQ. Ciara has a degree in Media and English from DCU and has been working with MediaHQ since graduating in 2019.Connect on LinkedInFollow MediaHQ TwitterLinkedIn

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