We’re in a world surrounded by noise – advertising, product placements, retargeting – everywhere we turn. Far gone are the days that a simple brand awareness campaign is deemed effective or valuable. As PR pros, we’re looking for ways to align audience behavior with our organizational ambitions. Let’s break down the process of a deliberate and data-driven public relations campaign.
A well-thought-out public relations campaign (really any campaign for that matter!) originates with the business’ overall strategy. Once business objectives have been defined, a planned PR approach can be activated.
All public relations efforts should be centered around changing behavior – what do we want the audience to do (or not do) to further your organizational goals? Maybe you want your audience to go on a shopping spree at your establishment. Or maybe you’re looking for a compelling way to expand support for your cause. Whatever your goals may be, it’s essential to keep desired audience behavior at the forefront of your planning.
To change behavior, you must put yourself in the shoes of your audience. What do you need your audience to know about your organization’s mission to change their behaviors? And how do you want your audience to feel about changing their perceptions and behaviors? By starting with a high-level approach and working through execution techniques, you’re more likely to stay on message and on-brand. But wait, who is your audience? And how do they feel about your organization right now? As marketers, we tend to focus on the stakeholders who are most obvious – the ones we think will move the needle most for your organization’s aspirations. But how will our efforts impact other, less prominent stakeholders? Is this message going to impact their behaviors and perceptions positively or negatively?
Once your purpose has been set, it’s important to determine your starting point. Gauging baseline sentiment toward your goals before any campaign is key. How do people feel about your organization and the goals you’re trying to accomplish? What do they want to know more about?
This information can be collected via survey, focus group, interviews, or other methods deemed appropriate in relation to your campaign. The key is to get a cross-representation of your stakeholders and ensure your respondents can be open and honest without you leading them to the “correct” answer. Not only are these responses important in shaping your message both internally (yes, your employees are stakeholders too!) and externally, but you can go back and conduct the same survey/focus group/interview during and after your campaign to see how your efforts changed perception and behavior. Additionally, find out what data matters to your decision makers. Determine what key performance indicators (KPI) are applicable for your campaign and measure them frequently.
As mentioned in a previous blog post, Google Analytics is a great tool to monitor your PR campaign. The trackable data helps you determine a few key components for your PR campaign:
- Audience – Who are your stakeholders? Google Analytics provides you with a breakdown of the demographics of your audience visiting your website.
- Acquisition – Where are visitors coming from? This can also be monitored throughout your campaign to see if media coverage is generating leads.
- Behavior – What are they doing while on your site? Are they clicking around or leaving right away? Do they get to a page that has a conversion?
- Conversions – Did they convert? Make sure your conversions are defined prior to the campaign and that webpages where conversions are located are optimized for your audience to convert.
Finally, don’t forget to use your survey/focus group/interviews to conclude your campaign. This information will show successes and areas of improvement for the current campaign as well as provide direction for future, data-driven campaigns. This also provides the basis for monetizing outcomes, but we’ll save that topic for another day!
In an ever-evolving world that has growing demands, more and more decisions are (and should be!) made based on data and previous outcomes. As always, if you need help navigating this process, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.