How I Used SeeDepth To Improve PR Measurement
As I wrote about in my last post, my approach to PR measurement has evolved over the years. In my last two jobs – one agency and one in house - I’ve used SeeDepth to monitor and measure results. Here’s a look at how I used it to tackle some of the measurement challenges that I previously mentioned:
- Linking PR to other marketing activities: SeeDepth connects PR to inbound marketing measurement by showing how many site referrals come from each published article over time, further defining Google Analytics metrics that only show how many referrals come from each media outlet. This distinction comes in handy when a company is covered in or contributes to the same publications often, and helps narrow topics and types of coverage that resonate most with specific audiences. This feature further streamlines a PR team’s pitching activity by assigning focused objectives to each target publication on a media list, and contributes more effectively to digital content priorities. For example, I’ve used these types of insights to create highly integrated plans that best capitalize on company news across all available media and company content platforms. Additionally, because SeeDepth tracks keywords in media coverage, I’ve also used the platform to better link PR to SEO objectives, increasing organic search results. Now, SeeDepth can also show all site traffic and how people engage with a company website (landing pages visited, time spent on the site, etc.) Users can then easily report on PR’s impact by showcasing the PR event/timeline and the subsequent spike in traffic - for example, during a speaking engagement or at an event or appearance of a specific piece of media coverage - furthering its ability to connect PR results with overall marketing analytics.
- Defining share of voice: When asked to measure share of voice, you should first ask “Share of voice for what, specifically?” In my most recent experience modernizing PR metrics for an organization, the company wanted to track awareness and market traction against key competitors. To do this, I used SeeDepth to set up campaigns for the company and each of its competitors. I then entered all the campaign criteria for the company - messages, keywords, publication tiers, spokespersons, etc. - and replicated this same criteria across the competitive campaigns. This allowed me to directly measure competitors against only the criteria the company desired to measure. Using the platform’s “Compare Campaigns” feature, I could then easily report on share of voice within tiered publications, domination of keywords and messages, or compare overall quality scores across all campaigns, as needed. (SeeDepth has a proprietary Campaign Performance Index, or “CPI,” algorithm that scores each piece of media as well as overall campaigns, allowing you to easily benchmark and organize the most successful efforts.)
- Providing actionable advice: The detailed measurement capabilities of the SeeDepth platform not only help with monthly or quarterly reporting, but also help you refine activity by showing measurement trends and campaign performance over time. As patterns emerge, you can make concrete activity recommendations backed by data. Recommendations can range from cutting or adding publications from a media list, focusing on certain journalists with extended social reach, hyperlinking to top performing landing pages more often, or adjusting topics for specific audiences. Sometimes the data confirms assumptions made about activity, and sometimes the data can contradict activity thought to be a best practice. For example, I recently worked with an executive who had a column in a top-tier business publication. The column was used to comment and share opinions on newsworthy, industry trends, and sometimes used to share company-specific data relevant to the market. However, over time SeeDepth metrics revealed that the trend articles underperformed, while the company data articles were consistently the top performing pieces, and readers often visited the site directly from the articles in order to download gated thought leadership content. This realization was surprising, as it goes against the common assumption that contributed content should be vendor-neutral, and completely changed how we approached content development for the column.
- Creating a new agency revenue stream: SeeDepth offers an agency pricing structure that easily accommodates the ebbs and flows of agency activity. It charges per campaign, rather than a flat fee for the service, so that the cost always reflects the current business needs. To make the pricing structure profitable when I used the service in an agency environment, we included one campaign and a monthly or quarterly report in the general expenses that accompanied all retainers. Additional campaigns or reports could be added a la carte, depending on client needs. We also packaged certain campaigns and reports and pitched them at certain stages based on client resources and business objectives - competitive tracking, a publication audit, message or market penetration, etc. Most often, our services were more affordable than in if the client invested in purchasing and maintaining its own PR measurement platform. In addition, we made a profit on the services and we solidified a more strategic relationship with clients because we could help them make more data-driven decisions, as well as prove our business impact. SeeDepth also allows agencies to “pause” campaigns, but not lose data. This comes in handy if a client ever needs to pause work, or if you only work with a client for a certain time period within the year.
PR measurement is finally having a moment, and there are a few good services to choose from. Make sure you know your goals and what you want to measure and analyze before starting your vendor research, as “PR analytics” is a hot buzzword that is often used to describe what’s really just the media relations analytics in a PR program. I chose SeeDepth for a few key reasons. First, it can double as a media monitoring service and is reasonably priced. Second, the Founder and the service team have backgrounds in PR, which means they understand my world and the language I use when I make requests or need help reporting a metric. This really makes a significant difference in working with the services team. Additionally, the company is forward-thinking in its approach to the metrics PR pros need to best position value across full campaigns.
I’ve been highly satisfied with the services and am excited to see what capability comes next.
Mikala Vidal is a repeat customer of SeeDepth who offered to write some insights for us on PR measurement and analytics. This is the second in a sponsored series from her.