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The New Era of PR Attribution: Tracking measurable results from your PR channel

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The days of sending out press releases without knowing their effectiveness, managing contacts in Excel spreadsheets and arduously performing PR functions over numerous platforms are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Attribution has finally made its way to the PR world—with a new wave of technological advancement, PR professionals have the ability to quantify, track and measure their efforts.

PR is a channel that’s in transition, poised to become just as important as an influencer marketing plan or viral video campaign in the new digital marketing ecosystem. The endless number of tools in the market intended to optimize PR efforts means that performance from every single effort can be measured and backed up by tangible data. Marketing, communication and PR strategies can be adapted in accordance with performance indicators, allowing for flexibility as audience preferences change. In a business landscape where numbers are the foundation of growth, being able to quantify the effect of your PR strategy is essential. Businesses that are reigning supreme on the marketing stage are using this newly available feedback to ensure their efforts are being directed into the right channels.

With the right resources, you can transform your brand’s public identity, refine your strategy through attribution, streamline your processes through automation, and establish your presence in today’s competitive market. For a business channel that has been subject to doubt in the digital revolution, PR’s power is back on the upswing

PR’s unquantified past

At its core, PR is an earned media channel. It’s not flashy advertising, hard selling or paid publicity, but instead a method of creating solid relations with customers and instilling trust among clientele. Think press releases, brand storytelling, news programs, and press conferences. By generating a positive reputation through adding value rather than pushing products, companies are able to win over potential customers and establish mutually beneficial, lasting relationships. Reputation is everything, and PR professionals have been masters in promoting company value and reputation for decades.

Yet until now, the effect of these tried-and-tested methods has remained largely unquantified. How many people are actually opening those generic emails? What percentage of customers are really reading your press releases? Until recently, these questions did not have a definite answer—the real effect of PR efforts was unmeasured, unknown and consequently of little use in a successful marketing campaign.

Welcoming PR into the digital arena: Understanding the symbiosis between PR and digital marketing

In order to keep up with the digiterati, PR has had to adapt its techniques to remain relevant in an industry where being technologically savvy is paramount. While the fundamental principles and best practices remain the same, the platforms and software employed have undergone significant transformation.

Social media marketing, influencers, SEO, CRMs, CMSs, and marketing automation are the new buzzwords of PR teams today. Businesses that aren’t keeping up are losing out: Companies leveraging CRM systems have achieved 65 percent of their sales goals in 2018, compared to 22 percent by those that don’t. Savvy PR specialists are utilizing the power of these new tools to streamline their workflow and really understand the value of each member of their target audience.

With change comes enormous potential

Although these new developments and advancements can appear unnerving to veteran PR and communication pros who have had to adapt their practices to the demands of digital, the potential benefits that can be reaped by engaging with new digital marketing techniques is unparalleled. Embracing change is key to staying ahead.

Speaking PR’s new language: Exploring new resources

Digitalization of PR has created a landscape in which traditional methods are no longer limited by the restrictions of outdated technology. In this exciting new era of marketing, the digital realm has paved the way for endless advancements and opportunities, while simultaneously improving efficiencies. Results can be measured, key performance indicators identified and subsequently clever marketing strategies can be refined in accordance with results. PR attribution brings with it a new wave of possibilities enabling businesses to spend wisely on what really works.

Analytics

Most systems implemented to aid with PR functionality are now fully equipped with built-in analytic software. What does that mean for marketing strategy? That our efforts can now be tracked and monitored. Those emails being dispatched can now be analyzed to see how many people are actually opening them, which photos and infographics are being downloaded, and how many times your video has been viewed.

Instead of blindly following the traditional methods of the past, we now have access to software that will allow us to determine their effectiveness.

Built-in analytics means we can see the true effect of our marketing strategies in real time.

PR strategy can now be refined and adjusted to optimize results; the days of wasting time and money on ineffective marketing communication techniques are over.

ROI

While outdated PR practices generate virtually no indication of ROI, the latest software systems to hit the market have the power to measure ROI effectively. Stakeholders are much more likely to invest in PR practices when its value can be quantified.

According to a study carried out by Hubspot this year, proving the ROI of marketing activities accounts for 40% of company’s top marketing challenges. PR and communication often fall under this broad marketing umbrella—two vital channels for any business that is looking for ways to prove its own efficacy.

All-in-one software solutions

The “all-in-one” trend has also found its way to the digital PR stage. Most antiquated, manual tools used by PR teams cannot compete with multi-platform software that can now control numerous operations with a single click, all from the same place, including:

  • Creating, publishing, and distributing content.
  • Managing and publishing to social media channels.
  • Automating HTML emails.
  • Managing workflows.

Data-driven PR is ready and waiting

The time to start optimizing your PR marketing strategy has never been more relevant or necessary. PR attribution is here and it’s making enormous headway in the world of successful business marketing. The new era of tracking results, monitoring performance and channeling resources into avenues that actually work are just some of the revolutionary possibilities now on offer to the modern communication professional. The PR game is changing rapidly—don’t get left behind.

Sharlene Dozois for