Using Analytics to Drive Your Public Relations Strategy

Jun 18, 2014 admin

Public relations is often viewed as a “brand building” exercise – one that can’t necessarily be measured clearly in numbers. To some extent, that’s true. It’s not always easy to quantify the effect an article, analyst report or tweet will have on your business as there isn’t always a clear link between coverage and sales. However, with clients and boardrooms more reliant than ever on key metrics to justify expenditures and measure success, labeling wins as “brand building” simply doesn’t cut it anymore.

Fortunately today, there are tools that can help us track the performance of campaigns and content. Everything from Google Analytics to Twitter’s built-in metrics can now help you not only measure the success of a PR campaign but also provide clues for how and where to improve. By carefully tracking specific metrics, you can see what keywords and traffic sources are most effective for your brand and goals and adjust future plans accordingly.

To start you off, here are four things to keep in mind when using analytics to drive and inform your public relations strategy:

  • See what publications or sources drive traffic to your website: Coverage in the Wall Street Journal or New York Times can be great for company morale, wide-spread recognition and building credibility in your industry but if you are trying to reach a niche audience, analytics can show you who your true targets should be. By digging into your analytics, you can observe which kinds of stories, content and traffic sources drive the biggest spikes in traffic, helping you to refine your media targets. Be warned, what you find might surprise you. Sometimes, the smallest publications can often drive the most traffic.
  • Delve into more than just visits: While the quantity of visits is important, so are other metrics, such as the length of time visitors spend on your site and the average pages-per-visit. Often, less (but “better”) eyeballs can be more powerful than a lot of unengaged visitors. Keep an eye on metrics like time spent and pages visited for each social network, placed coverage and blog post.
  • Dig into your content: Analytics can help shed light on which topics or content formats are getting the most traction and driving eyeballs to your site. Analytics can reveal which keywords and topics perform consistently well, and which don’t. By understanding which ones are working for you, you can tweak your content calendar accordingly and deliver readers exactly the kind of content they are looking for.
  • Look for engagement: InkHouse’s own Beth Monaghan recently wrote an interesting article highlighting three different methods to improve PR measurement beyond branding. Of note, Beth highlights engagement, or “your audiences’ connection to your message and your organization.” For a long time, journalism and PR were almost exclusively a one-way conversation but social media demands two-way, personalized engagement. Your social media analytics can reveal which channels perform best for you and which content topic or format receives the most retweets, replies and social shares.

While brand building will always play a significant role in public relations strategy, increasingly advanced technology will continue to move the emphasis towards metrics. It’s difficult to say how far this trend will go in the future, but in the meantime it’s great to see the PR practice finally becoming measureable with metrics serving as a partner in taking success and accountability to the next level.


Topics: InkHouse, Analytics

To subscribe to the InkHouse Inklings blog, and for other thought leadership content just add your email address:



InkHouse has been recognized by:
  • TPTW_2019_grey
  • inc-bwp-2019-standard-logo
  • women-led-business-logo-1
  • PRNews_TopPlaces