Paul Muret’s recent article in the Harvard Business Review, which explores measurement and buying behavior in our constantly connected world, got me thinking about PR’s role in the B2B landscape. Every day, we draft articles, manage social media channels and conduct research in order to increase our clients’ brand awareness. For us, this means more coverage and exposure – for our clients, it means easier access to leads.
It’s important for PR professionals to realize that, because we live in a world where consumers are constantly connected to the Internet and social media, our clients’ customers and prospective customers have ample opportunity to do research and share reviews of products online.
As a result, it has become even more important that PR professionals find ways to measure and leverage the interactions between our clients and both their current and prospective customers.
In his article, Muret outlines three key ways businesses should adapt to the newly connected customer:
- Practice holistic measurement
- Attribute the right value to their marketing channels
- Act, measure and repeat
So, what role does PR play in all of this? Well, first, it’s about understanding clients’ customers and industry influencers. We do this by monitoring and assessing the nature and quality of various types of interactions, from comments on a blog post to a discussion in a LinkedIn group or a response to an email newsletter. Then, we can help optimize clients’ investments in various marketing initiatives — is it events and speaking opportunities? Is it building a customer reference program?
And, finally, it’s about experimenting creatively with outreach campaigns. For example, you can see how many downloads a white paper or eBook gets, and compare that with the number of interactions the client has in a given time period. You can measure the page views for specific blog posts, along with shares, likes and comments on social media channels and determine how many people are talking about a client/brand/thought leadership argument based on that piece of content. You can track views of a YouTube video and see how many people it directed to a client website and how many of them responded to a call to action on that site.
As all PR professionals know, you can’t improve what you can’t measure, and we’re constantly on a quest to streamline our reporting processes. These are just some of the measurement tactics that can influence PR strategies/campaigns moving forward. What are yours?
*This post originally appeared on March Communications’ blog, PR Nonsense, by Sarah Hurley. Want to learn more about the changing world of PR and content marketing? Download our eBook!*