Measuring strategic communications

Marketing is all about metrics. Data-driven research, planning and implementation are the keys to successful campaigns.

Paid advertising has many ways to track results. Digital campaigns can produce an immense amount of data. Clicks, conversions, shares, likes, impressions, interactions and much more – a treasure trove to understand trends and make decisions.

While strategic communications, or public relations, is earned, it too can be measured to monitor progress, adjust and justify ROI. Layered onto the results of paid advertising, measuring strategic communications will provide a fully integrated approach to analyzing the true results of your next campaign.

Here are just some of the ways strategic communications can be measured:

  • An article about your organization in the local daily newspaper. First, you can determine if it was positive, negative, or neutral. This is a manual process but software is available to help determine the impact of the article. Readership – both in print and online – helps to determine how many eyeballs saw the news about you. And the media’s posts on its own social media allows you to see engagement and reach.
  • Social media posts. Your organic posts – that is, not paid for – are easy to monitor with existing tools provided by social media platforms or software that analyzes social media performance. You’ll be able to see what posts are the most popular and therefore the type of content to focus on. You can track reach, engagement and whether comments are negative, positive or neutral.
  • News release and media interviews. Engaging the media with a story about you is a traditional tactic for strategic communications. It’s not easy – but can be measured. Let’s say your story is distributed on an online newswire. You’ll be able to measure impressions, open rates and other details. And, of course, if you’re pitching a story to, say, The Wall Street Journal, you’ll know if your effort was successful. If a story does run on a media outlet you may also be able to correlate the time of story publication with an increase in inquires, website traffic and sales.
  • Your own content. Whether you’re producing blogs, videos, newsletters or website content, it’s easy to measure how you’re doing. Just harness the tools available in your digital platforms to track traffic – and be sure to add these results to your overall marketing efforts.
  • Whether it’s a community event, trade show, annual forum, reception or forum, there are many ways to engage your brand in person to target audiences, especially as pandemic restrictions wane. These events aren’t just feel-good parties – they are strategic tools to build relationships. You can measure success, too, by tracking attendance and sales leads. Good events can also generate buzz on social media, which is easily tracked.

Measuring marketing is crucial to your success. Embracing strategic communications – and the data it can provide – will give your next campaign an added boost.

Thomas Becher, APR, is ECU’s Director of Marketing and PR Services. He has extensive experience helping organizations integrate strategic communications to their marketing mix. Thomas can be reached at [email protected].


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