Blogs  / June 9, 2021

Data-Driven PR Campaign Planning: Part 2

by Greg D'Andrea, Senior Director, Customer Success & Insights

Welcome back to our blog series about data-driven PR campaign planning! This week, we’re concluding the series with an overview of how to craft your messaging, identify the right authors and outlets, distribute strategically and proactively, and finally, measure success.

Set your messaging, write the story.

Your messaging and your story are the heart of your PR campaign. Producing valuable, relevant content and releasing it at the right time and in the right place is key to building a strong connection with your audience.

Ask these questions to create your messaging:

  • What’s the right angle?
  • How will it break through the noise?
  • Which messaging and stories worked best in the past?

To determine the right creative angle, ask yourself—why would my audiences care about this topic? What’s in it for them? The right editorial hook is often what makes someone want to learn more. At this stage, it is useful to go back to the insights about what’s currently trending in your industry, what your competitors are talking about, and what is being covered by the media.

How do you go about surfacing the current trends across the media universe? Onclusive’s research tool, Research Trends™, helps communications professionals understand what is trending in the media and on social platforms. Discover the most relevant conversations and topics, what’s hot on social media, who is talking about it and where these discussions are happening.

It is also critical to understand which messaging and which stories worked for you—and others in your industry—in the past. Measuring the performance of your key soundbytes should be an essential part of your ongoing PR evaluation efforts. Knowing exactly which messages garnered not only the most media attention, but also the most amplification and interaction, is a key input into your story development.

Gain insights into which soundbytes are actually performing with NEO™ Messaging, Onclusive’s message optimization tool. Measure your message pull-through from an article all the way through to conversions on your website and get automatic insights for optimizing your strategy. 

Identify the right authors and outlets.

Now you’re ready to think about who will tell your story. A solid media list is a foundation of any PR strategy and program, and media outreach in the form of pitching journalists and placing articles is one of communications pro’s main responsibilities. Take the time to review your media database, including carefully researching and building a pitch list of key publications, authors and influencers who will be essential for your campaign. 

Ask these questions to target the right authors & outlets:

  • Who will be interested and why?
  • Who are the most impactful ones based on past data?
  • Which authors, publications, influencers that are most crucial to connect with and/or influence your audience?
  • Which messages and content are you crafting for specific media and influencers to take into account the right style and format for them?

It’s important to understand which reporters and outlets can play the biggest role in reaching your target audiences, including ones that drove the most impact in the past, and whether their sentiment was positive, negative or neutral. It’s also useful to find out which reporters write for your competitors but not for your brand. 

An AI-powered media database, such as Onclusive’s Author Intelligence™, is a great resource to help you identify which journalists, influencers and outlets can have the biggest impact on your businessdriving the most website traffic, social amplification, brand interactions, and revenue. Discover who influential authors are, what they write about, how often, and in which publications so that you have an edge in your conversations with them.

Distribute strategically and proactively.

The next step is campaign activation and distribution of your story to these authors and publications. At this stage, it’s important to continue to build and nurture your media network connections and make sure it’s a win-win on both sides. 

You must also have a follow-up plan. Remember, your ultimate goal is to break through the noise, and sometimes it requires reaching out more than once and reiterating the newsworthy angles of your story. You can also include extra resources, such as customer reviews and testimonials, additional data and insights that only your brand can provide, exclusive photos or “sneak peaks” and other items of interest.

Also, don’t forget to include owned and social media in your distribution plan. Blogs and social media channels have become an integral part of communications strategy because they offer a way to have an active conversation with your audience. They are also excellent vehicles to control your message. 

Measure success.

Don’t leave the evaluation until the end of a PR campaign. You’ll need to decide how you will measure success early on in the campaign planning process. Keep in mind that your leadership team wants to see metrics that matter to the business—like website traffic, actions driven and ROI. How will you show that your strategic PR campaign contributed to meeting your communications and organizational objectives?

AMEC’s Integrated Evaluation Framework is a helpful tool that uses the concepts of out-takes, outcomes and impact to prompt your thinking about each element of your PR campaign planning process, including your desired results and metrics associated with them. We have also added key PR metrics that we recommend tracking for every measurement bucket:

OutputsOut-takesOutcomesImpact
Basic measures of the volume of your activity, e.g. posts, social shares, event attendees, potential media coverage readers.Response and reactions of your target audiences tothe activity, e.g. audience attention, recall, understanding of the topic, audience engagement.Effect of the communications on the target audience, e.g. changed attitudes, increased trust or preference, increased brand consideration.Business impact of the communications, e.g. improved reputation, increased sales, change in policy, or improved social change.
What media and influencer activity has been generated by your PR campaign?What do you want people to think differently as a result of your PR campaign?What do you want people to feel differently as a result of your PR campaign?What do you want people to do differently as a result of your PR campaign?
Example metrics
Number of articles
Readership
Share of voice
Power of Voice™
Message pull-through
Example metrics
Brand awareness
Audience reach
Reader engagement
Example metrics
Brand sentiment
Brand consideration
Brand impact
Example metrics
Website traffic
Website actions
Info / demo requests
Sales / orders
New talent hired

Ask these questions to evaluate your PR campaign effectiveness:

  • What were the results of the PR campaign?
  • What has worked well against your communications objectives?
  • Which activities, stories, channels, authors, publications have driven the best results?
  • What did not work in the way you expected? Why?
  • What should you continue to do in the future? What should you start doing? What should you stop doing?

A major PR campaign can define your brand for years to come, for better or for worse. That’s why it requires careful planning and preparation before, tracking and adjusting during, and thorough evaluation after.

Join us for PR Campaign Planning: Why Analytics is Key to Success webinar on Thursday, June 10th. In this session, our panelists will discuss PR planning principles and some popular models, how to use AMEC’s Integrated Evaluation Framework as a planning tool, the role of PR analytics data & insight in PR campaign planning, and what metrics are most helpful for PR campaign planning.