PR tracking in the B2B marketing world would be easy if it were the only thing tasked to marketing and press departments. These departments also have to come up with blog content and finding placement for news announcements on other channels.
With the proliferation of public relations SaaS platforms, there are many tools to choose from depending upon your company’s objectives: content distribution, analytics, social media interaction, establishing relationships with journalists, etc.
Gregg Castano, Founder and CEO of News Direct, says each tool will enable you to narrow your efforts down to certain relevant subsets.
“Newswires, media databases, analytics and social media platforms can be of great assistance, but it’s important to make sure to choose the ones that address the B2B needs of the business. The key is researching before selecting a tool; and just doing a Google search and picking the one that comes up on top of page one doesn’t qualify.”
In terms of tracking and measurement, Castano says there are certain universal metrics that everyone seems to gravitate towards, though many lack real actionable value.
“‘Vanity’ metrics like total site traffic or ‘page impressions’ are fools gold, telling you virtually nothing about the performance of your content. Be discerning and ask questions of the various analytics providers to determine if they can help you identify the data points that matter to your business strategy.”
In addition to your own content strategy, getting third-party coverage is likewise critical to growing your digital footprint. For example, a wearable tech company should prioritize outreach to tech bloggers and writers not only by offering up company news and updates, but also by broad background expertise on the developing technology in the wearable industry.
Traditionally, you can measure the number of clips and the UVM of each site that ran a story about your company, of course, but you can also UTM a press release and other social media content to tie web traffic directly to an earned media campaign.
Carol Lin Vieira, partner, marketing and communications, BX3, says the hard truth is that sometimes, the customer journey is too circuitous to be able to measure direct impact of a single placement.
“What’s important is that a business leverages content to maintain a regular drumbeat of news and buzz around the brand.”
Budgeting for better B2B PR tracking
Vieira says those on a tight budget should start by tracking news, trends, and issues impacting the industries important to your organization.
“Google News alerts work well and are free. When you see, say, a story about a competitor, or an issue that your company is solving, you can reach out and offer your spokesperson as an expert to comment.”
“This responsiveness to timely issues is greatly appreciated by journalists who are often working on tight deadlines, and welcome proactive responses/quotes from legitimate sources.”
One roadblock that PR professionals often encounter is analytics for LinkedIn, says Colin Laird, Account Executive at Stanton.
“Many companies understandably prioritize LinkedIn’s popular business networking platform for strategic content campaigns but cannot receive comprehensive measurements. Innovative PR agencies can address this issue – as we have at Stanton – with the development of a proprietary LinkedIn content tracking service to properly create and assess targeted social campaigns for our clients.”
Click here to see some excellent PR tracking tools for B2B marketers