I love metrics. LOVE THEM. Which is rare for someone in PR. Typically what we really love is getting coverage of your story in mainstream media - the pitch, the success of seeing a story published. The rush from seeing your story that we took and presented to a really tough media crowd of journalists and editors in several different newspapers, well. You can only imagine. But what happened over the last few years is that while we are very good at representing you to the media, there's also a bunch of other stuff we learned to do really well. We're now focused on purpose. On integration. On making sure that the work we do is useful, rather than just giving us a high at the end of the day when we nail it. It's about you, getting value out of us being useful. Bye bye long lunch at SPQR.
So metrics. It's a bit of a face palm moment that we didn't do this ages ago, because it's really easy and the insights are phenomenal. They tell us exactly how a story idea has performed, and whether or not we should keep going with that tactic or axe it and do something better.
Largely all of my metric, geekiness love has come from following a leader in our industry who is just golden. Avinash Kaushik. He knows what's up when it comes to data of this ilk. Thanks Avinash!
Like everything, you can have a metrics dashboard as big as Russia and not know what's up. It's not necessary while you're starting out, so give this entry level metrics DIY Dashboard a go.
Build a dashboard (sorta) in under an hour
1) Write down your domain authority. We want to monitor this periodically to see if it's going up or down.
2) Find out what your monthly average visitor number to your website is. It's good to see whether the content you're pushing out (in a very general sense) is useful to someone, somewhere.
3) Out of those visitors, find out what percentage come from searching in Google for you, and what percentage come from social media posts or other sites.
4) Now split your dashboard between organic search, social media and any other promotional channel you use. We need to do this because if the ratio in your channel is 40/30/20/10 and you treat it like 25/25/25/25, then you're not off to a great start and nobody wants that. What we want is to see is what channels for sharing content are good for you and your business. .0001% of visitors coming from your Pinterest channel is not enough to keep investing in its maintenance. See what I mean?
Ultimately, we are measuring how people are coming to your website, how long they are staying, and what they are doing there, via the content and social media chit chat you put out. We want to see what's working for your business and where to put more emphasis.
So let's get a bit more specific. Write these questions down and fill them in when you have some results. Usually we would pick a reporting period of two weeks from content going out.
- Out of all clicks on a social media post to your website (you can enter this when you have an actual post to put up) what was the bounce rate percentage - i.e how many went to your website and then left again without looking at anything else. And the same for organic search - how many people searched for you, then left super quickly? This tells us whether your content is on brand for your business and how authentic it is for your audience. Remember we want people to come to our website to have a good time and get lots of value and eventually buy from us.
- How interesting are you on your social media platforms? What is the percentage of all the comments, and replies, out of your follower number. If you have 100 followers but only one comment or action on everything you do, you might like the consistency of Jane's support, but it's 1% engagement at the end of it and probably a good time to rethink what you're sharing. However, 80 comments from 100 followers, is much better. You may celebrate!
- If you haven't driven people to comment, perhaps you've driven them to share which is still rather good. So again, what's the percentage of the shares and retweets of your story link on a social platform out of your follower number. Extending on this, your amplification feeds into your reach number. And so with the help of a handy analytics tool, you can see what the size of your network was able to see your post. You'll want to keep that figure in mind when seeing how good a piece of content was, and also, see how many new followers you're getting!
- Do the same for likes as a percentage of followers. This will give you your applause rate. Let's not crack the bubbly over 100 likes when you have 25 million followers, though.
And finally what are people doing when they click your link and go to your website or search in Google to get to your site? Great if they are reading more content and generally having a nice time on your website, but what we'd really like, is for them to sign up to your list and become a lead. What percentage of people who click through from a social platform go ahead and sign up to your list or contact you through your form, and what percentage of those highly engaged people are doing the same thing from a Google search? Get these two percentages to round out your effectiveness report, which will inform how you play out another story or piece of content.
So there you have it folks! The fun part is displaying this information in whatever way that will make sense to you when it's time to present and act on your findings.
Lou Draper is Managing Partner of Draper Cormack Group and a public relations veteran. Originally from Auckland, she is now living, working and breathing public relations, personal brand and content curation in Wellington City.