How you measure the effectiveness of your media relations strategy is rapidly changing as the landscape evolves more quickly than ever before. Not even two decades ago, social media was unheard of. Now it’s hard to imagine a company without a social media presence, as brands scramble to go viral, collect followers, and count likes.
How do you measure public relations success in this new media age? Is it as simple as ROI? Impressions? No. While new metrics can provide insights when measured against good benchmarks, it’s actually very hard to accurately measure the effectiveness of content marketing and communication strategies. So, what’s a business leader to do?
What’s the Value of Virality?
The success of a media strategy often isn’t seen purely in numbers. Marketing and media strategy, while similar, are different. Marketing sells your product. Media relations sell your business.
Media relations sell through gaining brand awareness, building trust, and increasing your visibility over time. It’s a steady stream of authentic, quality content about your company, your mission, and successes targeting strategic media channels. Brand awareness is a slow build and isn’t measured as directly as the link between marketing ROI and sales.
Today’s fast-paced media landscape has made brands impatient and reluctant to undertake the vital slow build in media relations, Kimeko McCoy writes at Digiday. Clients want to go viral and get noticed, but a good media strategy is far more than the goal of having one post go viral.
“While there have been countless success stories on TikTok,” McCoy writes, “going viral isn’t guaranteed, making it harder for PR professionals to recommend it as a strategy or guarantee it will garner the results brands are seeking.”
Not every click or engagement is a means to success. While the recognition of going viral is a boost for a brief moment—and perhaps the brag of “we went viral” is a nice ego stroke—you’re viral this week. Next week, a cute dancing cat might be all the rage. Humans are funny that way. A long-term buildup of trust, reliance, and brand recognition will go much farther than even millions of impressions on TikTok.
Too many business leaders assume that because they can’t see an obvious ROI, the media strategy doesn’t work and it’s something to cut during a slowdown. It’s only after business continues to slow do they realize their mistake. The media strategy was working. Now momentum is lost, and the slow rebuilding of brand awareness must start anew.
Media Wins Come with Strategy, Not Outlet Size
At Inspire Agency, our focus is creating relationships between our clients and the media contacts that are ideal for their specific message. It’s a constant trickle of quality content placed in the correct locations to highlight the brand. Rinse. Repeat.
This may be a thought leadership post on Linked In, a series of social media posts that highlight the successes of your non-profit, or a specialized feature focusing on an innovation product on the local evening news. It just depends on what your company needs it to be. At Inspire, we understand how to reach out to those key media outlets that will build your brand.
Those key media outlets may be a large outlet, or a smaller and unexpected one. Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to media outlets, Kristine Maloney writes at Inside Higher Ed. Maloney points out that strategy is more important than market size:
“Today’s media landscape consists of a vast network of content sharing that gives smaller outlets disproportionate reach. (This is even before you start to take social media into account,)” Maloney says. “Many media outlets have formed critical partnerships that allow for efficiencies on the business end and broader exposure for content.”
A quality article in a smaller publication or website often could be picked up by larger ones, and content is key! In a media world based on content sharing, often a focused piece targeting a specific audience will have greater reach to that audience than a single line in a major media outlet.
Do You Like Me? Yes or No.
What should you think of social media engagement metrics? Often, the success of a content marketing and communication strategies aren’t apparent in the numbers. Are the numbers worthless? No, but they aren’t showing everything.
People may read your content and take notice but then never engage on social media. Remember, though, that they are reading. Clicks and likes are nice and give that wonderful boost of dopamine, but engagement doesn’t always correlate with results.
In “Content Market Metrics that Matter,” digital marketing guru Neil Patel writes, “On one hand, it’s clearly an engagement. On the other hand, it’s not a conversion. It might not even be a click.” Well, there goes that dopamine boost.
Inspire Agency creates compelling content placed in strategic media outlets that tells your story accurately and authentically. We work to build relationships with both our clients—to know their stories well—and those key outlets, making messaging go farther over time. People will read and watch your content, helping them draw good conclusions about your business which builds your brand. While one story may or may not result in direct engagement or a conversion, it doesn’t mean the message didn’t sink in.
Is your brand awareness growing? That’s how you know your media strategy is working.
Contact Inspire Agency and let us help you build a media relations strategy for your business that works.