5 Reports Every PR Pro Needs to Prove PR ROI

All the software in the world won’t help if you can’t extract the data, interpret it, and present it in convincing reports. Your marketing and communications department may have a data geek to manage the process. But with the right tools, PR and social media professionals can learn not only to determine what needs to be measured, but to also create professional reports that best show off business value.

Media intelligence platforms often include dashboards with data visualizations (such as graphs, heat maps, and word clouds) that you can easily export and include in your reporting. Armed with this data, you’re ready to tell a data-driven story that illustrates your performance on a monthly, quarterly, annual, and ad hoc basis to prove the communication team’s business contributions.

Time to Consider Working with Consultants?

Before diving into what your reports should include, you may want to consider making a case for outside help. Whether you’re looking to take your reporting to the next level, or just getting started with data-driven PR, a consultant who specializes in measurement and reporting can help ensure you’re extracting the most relevant information and presenting it in a way that will clearly:

  • Align to business goals
  • Account for the full ROI of your PR and social activity
  • Help you make a strong case to increase your budget

Industry-specific consultants help ensure clients are delivering boardroom-ready reports on a timely basis. Let’s face it, while keeping track of the data is invaluable for setting strategy and guiding day-to-day activity, carving out time for gathering and presenting it can be a challenge. Consultants can also develop more advanced competitive metrics, specific to various industries and business types.

Once you have identified the right KPIs to track, you’re ready to implement your reporting framework.

Reporting Frameworks: Monthly, Quarterly, Annual, and Ad Hoc

A comprehensive, insightful report is critical for making better, data-driven decisions. Don’t wait until the end of the year, when every department is asked to account for itself, to start measuring your KPIs. We’ve outlined how to best present your results at timely intervals. You’ll also find guidance on ad-hoc campaign reports as well as crisis reports, when the stakes are high and everyone’s paying attention to your every move. Here are the five reports we recommend you regularly produce, and what to  include in them:

Monthly Reports

Audience:

Your manager (and potentially their manager too)

Overview:

Determine whether you’re on the right track with numbers that are (hopefully) trending upward. If a program is surpassing expectations, this is your chance to shuffle resources and do more of what’s working. If results are less than stellar, you can make adjustments or make a case for turning a program off and trying something else (or at least keep a careful eye on it while you formulate plan B).

Quarterly Reports

Audience:

Senior Director and/or VP of Communications, CMO (and potentially CEO)

Overview:

Think of monthly reports as test scores, and quarterly ones as your report card. Here you’re not just tracking trends, but presenting and defending results. Do your KPIs demonstrate business value? An effective report will be able to account for every dollar spent and how that expenditure contributed to business goals. Certain programs will enable you to clearly tie dollars spent to revenue. For example, placing links that lead to landing pages that lead to sales. Others won’t, but you’ll still want to explain the business benefits of your results.

Annual Reports

Audience:

CMO, CEO, Board, Investors

Overview:

At the end of every fiscal year, the executive team makes decisions about next year’s budget. Your report will inform their longer-term strategy. This is your opportunity to make a case for additional tools, resources, and program spend. Or at least, set very clear expectations on what your efforts can yield given available funds. Don’t leave any doubt as to the benefits this budget will yield.

Campaign Reports

Audience:

Same as monthly or quarterly reports, depending on campaign size.

Overview:

Campaigns should kick off with a very specific goal, for example, launching a new product, entering a new market, or getting the word out on a specific promotion, event, or theme. Your report then tracks your success in achieving relevant outcomes.

Crisis Reports

Audience:

Depending on the crisis and its trajectory, this could range from your manager to the very top.

Overview:

A crisis can break a brand. It can also be an opportunity to prove your commitment to customers and community. Most importantly, you’ll want to show how PR and social helped quell the controversy, turned the conversation around, and got back to typical levels of volume and sentiment. While benchmarking will help guide you every step of the way, you’ll want to be sure to report on what’s going on at any moment. Automatically updated, real-time dashboards are critical.

Sample Metrics and Key Reporting Elements

In addition to the KPIs you identify as being critical to your PR and business goals, we’ve identified three important elements that can elevate your reporting.

Summaries

Whether you’re creating a monthly, quarterly, or annual report, you’ll want to include a clear summary of activity that indicates how your programs are trending. Here we see detailed brand and coverage summaries.

Prove PR ROI

Benchmarks

Benchmarking, especially important for quarterly and annual reporting, allows you to compare yourself to the competition as well as your own performance in previous periods. In the charts above, share of voice is benchmarked both by reach and volume.

Prove PR ROI

Competitive Intelligence

An annual report is where you want to highlight your position within the industry (for instance by message penetration) and synthesize multiple factors (for instance, volume and sentiment) to illustrate your overall media presence.

Prove PR ROI

Bringing Data-Driven Communications to Life

No one ever said it would be easy to change PR’s perception from cost-center to growth-driver through smart use of data. But by consistently tracking PR’s results, and reporting on them in a consistent manner, you’ll be on the road to building PR and social media’s reputation as a key partner in business success.

Not sure how to get to the right PR KPIs for your reports? For a deep dive into uncovering the right PR KPIs and the tools to track them, download our e-book “Everything You Need to Prove PR ROI.”

And, when you’re ready to invest in technology to help you prove PR ROI, we can help.

3 Sure-Fire Ways to Boost Your Website Traffic

(That Don’t Cost a Thing)

Building an online audience is one of the most rewarding but misunderstood aspects of digital marketing in 2018. It’s rewarding because the return on investment is vivid – having a massive volume of website traffic is a massive way to improve brand awareness and increase sales. Although, widely referred to as a challenge, the importance of gaining website traffic is often underestimated. Unfortunately, this isn’t Field of Dreams. When it comes to building a website, “build it, and they will come,” does not apply. You need to put in the work to get your website in front of your market.

The good news is that it’s possible to do it successfully – there is a plethora of different sources and channels, like online publications, banner ads, social media and organic search, for you to use to drive traffic to your company’s website. Diversity in web traffic is valuable in enhancing brand awareness, increasing the size of your audience and improving search rankings.

Don’t know where to start? Here are 3 sure-fire ways to boost your website traffic.

  • Encourage a Sense of Community

People like to speak their minds and weigh in on what they feel passionately about, so building a sense of community is a great way to get people onto your site and starting a conversation with you and other site visitors. Ensure you have a well-oiled commenting structure implemented (we recommend looking to a third-party system like Disqus for this). Or consider creating a dedicated Forum that users can engage in conversation online – keep the topics moderated and ask open-ended questions that encourage engagement and conversation. After a while, you can start linking people engaging in the forum to learn more about certain topics on your blog.

In addition to drawing more eyes onto your site, you’re also making your content more substantial, improving the chances of it being shared, increasing the number of eyes on it and thereby boosting your website traffic.

  • Give and Receive

Writing for different websites as a guest blogger is a sure-fire way to get your name and work in front of a new audience and boost your own traffic. If you write about niche topics or industry-specific themes, chances are that if you contribute to a blog that aligns with you (try SimilarSites), the website traffic you’ll gain as a result will be your exact target audience.

Our top tip is to keep the links to your website and mentions of your company to a minimum; no one likes an overload of self-promotion. Instead; contribute to an acclaimed website, write about what people want to read (UberSuggest is great for this) and write well. Then, a link to your website at the end of your article will be happily followed.

If you’re a beginner to guest posting, here’s what we suggest:

  • To begin, it’s as simple as a quick Google search. Type in “(your keyword) + guest post,” “submit post,” or “become a contributor.”
  • Often Twitter’s results are fresher than Google’s. Try the same searches on Twitter for a set of completely different results and discover websites that are actively looking for guest post contributors.
  • What is vital here is to check that the website is not only accepting guest posts and is in your industry or niche, but that is has an adequate DA. This is the website’s Domain Authority and shows you if that site is deemed authoritative for SEO purposes. As a rough guideline, we recommend reaching out to websites with a DA of 50 or above (check out the Moz extension for DA measurement).
  • Read through the blog first to get a feel for the content they publish, avoid sending a generic pitch to the editor of the website or publication. Rather read through the contributor and style guidelines and edit your content accordingly – they are there for a reason and every site is different.

Finally, giving and receiving come hand-in-hand; allow guest posters on your blog too. You can put together a Blogging Guidelines document you send to all prospective guest bloggers that explains what your focus is: how you want posts structured, themes you want to stick to, word counts, rules for backlinks and submissions deadlines. By accepting guest posts of a high quality, you become the trusted source that people can come to for a wealth of information from a variety of different people.

  • Be January-esque

… And hit refresh.

Repurposing old content can extend the reach of it and provide plenty more link-building and lead-generating opportunities. Here are some ideas on how to achieve this:

  • Republish:

    For starters, you can go straight to republishing on sites like Medium and Reddit. They’re free and easy to sign up and puts your work in front of a much wider audience.

  • Convert to PDF:

    People like reading blog posts, but they love being able to download and save useful information to refer to later. Consider hiring a graphic designer to help you create a PDF that has great content, practical tips and looks great – the perfect cocktail for increasing downloads.

  • SlideShare:

    Create a slideshow on SlideShare with each main point of your article on a separate slide. Use a similar heading and add the appropriate tags.

  • Infographic:

    If your article is data-rich, consider converting the text into an infographic. Infographics can do a better job at communicating with audiences especially if the piece is long or heavy on statistics. They’re also more likely to be shared – with a link back to your website, it’s a certain way to increase traffic.

  • Turn it into a video:

    video marketing is massive right now; 70% of consumers view brands more positively after viewing compelling video content. YouTube reports that mobile video consumption increases by 100% annually, so the video trend is on the rise. This is especially perfect for B2C brands that are big on social media or would like to be: Facebook and Instagram users are up to 5x more likely to engage with videos than with photos. When we bring live video into the equation, engagement rates go through the roof (more on this later – keep your eyes on the Meltwater blog).

Whether it’s creating a sense of community and encouraging engagement, becoming a guest contributor or refreshing older content – it’s certainly possible to boost your website traffic in creative (and free) ways. To chat more about how you can use online media and marketing to boost your website traffic, contact the Meltwater India team.

How to Run a Successful Email Marketing Campaign (No, it’s not dead).

“So many brands and companies build their audiences on Facebook and Google+, which is fine, but we don’t own those names – Facebook and Google do. If we are thinking like real media companies, the asset is in the audience. Getting an email address is the first critical step to figuring out who my reader is, and hopefully in the future, my customer of some sort. If our goal is to drive sales or keep customers happy in some way, we first need to get them as part of our audience. If I have one regret as a business owner, it’s not focusing on building our email list earlier in the process.”

Joe Pulizzi, Founder of Content Marketing Institute

Today, with so many consumers and businesses on social media, it’s easy to think that that is the only place you need a presence. However, what many brands are missing is the fact that the inbox is the one space that you as a brand can “own” – you have control over how your relationship develops with each subscriber.

This is why, we believe, email marketing is more important now than ever before.

The problem is that most brands don’t know how to do it right. That’s why we’ve dedicated this article to help you find the right consistency of urgency, attractiveness and effectiveness to successfully implement in your next campaign.

How to run a successful email marketing campaign

Nail the Basics

Before we dive in, we’re going to assume you’ve got the basics covered. If not, creating your campaign will be a complex and time-consuming activity that achieve the polar opposite of what you want out of your leads (running away as quickly as their digital legs can carry them, rather than having you top-of-mind and eventually purchasing your product or service).

  • Database: Firstly, you should have built up a substantial database over time with each person’s name, company and contact details.
  • Permission: In the case of email marketing, “Forgiveness is easier than permission” is not true. Each person on your database wants to know: how often you will email them, how relevant it will be to them, whether they get discounts or first try at beta, what you will do with their contact details and most importantly, if you will spam them.
  • Pitching: The basics also include an understanding of when and how to pitch (i.e. not in the newsletter, maybe in a product update).

email marketing campaigns

Attraction: Make it Stick to Make Them Stay

Regardless of how incredible your content may be, if it’s not a beautifully designed email, it’s going to get zero eyeballs.

  • Design: Your design has to be flawless and your content has to be laser-focused. Remember your reader has 32 tabs open, a ringing phone, a sea of notifications and an eight-second attention span, while they’re reading (read: skimming) through your email. Make it attractive to make them stay.
  • Mobile: This past quarter, 68% of emails were opened on mobile devices. If you’re not ensuring your emails are user-friendly, you’re losing out. Send sample mails and open on your phone to be certain.

email open rate on mobile devices

Practicality: Think About the User Experience

  • Hyperlinks: Include hyperlinks – they’re great for readers who want to navigate to more content and they’re great for us because they’re trackable – you can get a much better idea about what your database is interested in learning more about.
  • CTA: Perhaps the most obvious, but commonly forgotten; a clear call to action button (or three) is vital. We suggest adding one at the top and bottom of your email to maximise success.
  • Reply address: Having no-reply@domain.com isn’t the friendliest nor does it encourage engagement. It makes it clear that it’s a mass-send so takes away personalisation, they’re more likely to be flagged as spam so won’t end up in your audience’s inbox, and not allowing feedback means you’re missing out on a valuable opportunity to improve your email marketing strategy.

Analytics

Though they’re all important, the most important three email analytics are open rate, click-through rate and unsubscribes.

  • Open rate: Your open rate will tell you how well you’ve built your relationship; if the number is low, it means that people have started to delete upon receipt, which means you need to work harder on providing value and/or managing expectations.
  • CTR: If your CTR is low, it means that your message is either not targeted enough, or simply not getting through. In this case, focus on improving your copy.
  • Unsubscribes: If your unsubscription rate is high in relation to your opt-in rate, then you’ve passed the point of building value and writing good copy – you’ve got some work to do. Identify when several people are leaving at once and take action based on that.

Think about how many emails you receive daily. How many are still unread? Are you even reading them from start to finish or just skimming? How can you expect the region to drop everything to read yours if you can’t even get through someone else’s that you’ve subscribed to? Remember to wait until open rates and CTRs are high and unsubscriptions are significantly low, before you take action – if it’s just a couple here and there, don’t take it personally.

meltwater dashboard - email marketing and analytics

Want to add to our list what worked for you? Our inboxes are always open.

Technology and Time Management: Digital Tools to Increase Productivity

In today’s world, where there are 973 000 Facebook logins and 187 million emails sent (some days you feel as though all 187 million emails have been sent to your inbox, don’t you?) every minute online, distractions are plentiful. Not only is the rate at which online information is being shared online is increasing every year, but also daily. Every 60 seconds, there is more online than the previous minute.

The question, then, begs – “How do we stay on top of it all?”

1. Focus

According to latest research, it takes up to 23 minutes to re-focus on something after being distracted. So even if you get straight back to your task at hand after taking a “quick” scroll through Facebook, your mind is still distracted, and it’s likely that the quality of work you produce will be less than if you hadn’t checked your notifications.

Our top tips:

  • Set time to be focused: decide what works best for you when you’re focusing. It may be putting headphones on, without music, but just to block off outside noises. It may be putting a “do not disturb” sign on your door for a few hours. Maybe you’re easily distracted by what’s happening outside so turning your desk around, so your back is to the window will help.
  • Similarly, set time to not be focused. It might sound silly, but it’s important. Set yourself a few minutes to check social media, eat or watch an episode of Love Island (i.e. turning your brain off). If you know how long you’re going to be unfocused for, you’ll be mentally prepared to get back to business as soon as it’s over.

Our top tools:

  • Freedom: StayFocusd

StayFocusd is a digital tool that allows you to do just that.

On this platform, you can choose the exact apps or websites that you know distract you the most, and block them from whichever device you’re working from, or all of your devices, for a set period of time. Many people say they feel their freshest and most productive first thing in the morning. We challenge you to block all distracting apps from 8 a.m – 12 p.m. Try it for a week and realise – firstly, how addicted we are to social media, checking notifications and messages – but also, how pleasant it is to work without distractions.

StayFocusd - Tools to Increase Your Productivity

  • Inbox When Ready

Similar to StayFocusd but just for Gmail, Inbox When Ready hides your inbox for however long you choose. You can choose an inbox budget: where you choose how much time you will spend on your email, how many emails you will send, read or reply to, and how many times a day you want to check it. You then get visual feedback on how well you’re doing versus your set intention.

“Out of sight, out of mind.” – Hide your inbox for when you’re ready, and miraculously discover you have more hours in a day to work productively.

Inbox When Ready - Digital Tools to Increase Productivity - Meltwater Blog

2. Deadlines

“The greatest motivation is the deadline,” we used to joke as students, submitting essays at the last possible minute.

But it seems we were wiser as 21-year-olds than we thought. Having a strict deadline is arguably the most effective way to get stuff done. It may sound obvious, but too often we know we have to do something, and it stays in our to-do list for weeks, but we just never get round to it.

Our top tips:

  • It’s simple, really: If you’re working for someone else and they need you to do something, ask them when they need it by, and
  • If you’re working for yourself, set yourself deadlines, and make sure you’re getting it done by then.

Our top tools:

  • Asana:

On this platform, you can separate everything you need to do into different projects. Within those projects, you can create different columns, named according to what your goal is. We use ”Backlog” for those projects that aren’t quite a priority yet, “To-do” for your to-do list within that specific project, “Doing” for what you’re working on that day or that week, and “Done” to move your tasks into once you’ve completed them. And, man alive, does it feel good to move a task completed into the “Done” column.

Asana - Meltwater Tools to Increase Productivity

Asana is a collaborative platform and is really useful when working in teams. You can add colleagues or friends to different projects, you can assign tasks to each other, and you can stay up-to-date with what everyone is working on.

3. Time

There’s a method called “time-blocking tasks” where you divide your day up into blocks of time and dedicate that amount of time to completing one task.

We get this from the brilliant Elon Musk who reportedly uses “time-blocking tasks” in 5-minute blocks. 5 minutes a bit too steep for you? Try 20-minute or 40-minute time blocks. By the end of the day, you can look back and know you’ve completed a certain number of tasks.

Our top tip:

  • Remember to allow buffer time in between your time blocks because, as we all know, life happens.

Our top tool:

  • Evernote:

It’s easy to forget things that aren’t written down, and it’s as easy to lose or leave behind a piece of loose paper or notebook. With Evernote, you can have every note you need all in one place. You can do everything from record meetings and lectures, attach links or files to notes, share with friends or colleagues, book trips, jot down random ideas, write down your to-do list to shopping list. It’ll be the most productive app on your phone.

Evernote - Meltwater Blog - Technology and Time Management

4. Identify

The key to productivity is to identify your working habits, when you work harder and smarter, and what productivity means to you.

Gary Vaynerchuk, Founder and CEO of VaynerMedia, believes in the “hustle” – he works 18 – 20-hour days and is proud of it, he says there’s no difference between life and work, and believes everyone should be hustling all the time. He’s achieved a lot, and this clearly works for him.

Ariana Huffington, on the other hand, founded The Huffington Post an