Forbes once listed Public Relations Executive as the 6th most stressful job in the world. After all, Anticipating, analyzing and interpreting public opinion, counseling upper management, researching, evaluating and implementing strategy is no easy task. A good PR agency can prove to be an excellent strategic partner by being eyes and ears of their clients, knowing what conversation starters will work, and also what just might catch fire. Such agencies are responsible for everything, from competitor analysis and tracking ROI to media relations and social networking, all while keeping clients satisfied and employees from running out the door.
With so much on their plates, PR agencies nowadays have the added responsibility of monitoring the brand presence on multitude of online platforms including social media, news and review sites. But how are you supposed to do that with umpteen meetings and onsite events lined up. You need to be able to multi-task. You cannot control what’s being said about your brand, you can only monitor and deal with it before it blows out of proportion. There is an abundance of cases where brands did not respond, or responded poorly, to a negative feedback received from a customer and, consequently, the feedback got enough attention, creating negative buzz, harming the company’s reputation and eventually causing the brand a financial setback.
It is hardly surprising that online conversations are growing every minute. This indicates that brands need to handle a large amount of data on daily basis. The amount of data produced every minute makes it even more challenging to manage, utilize, and analyze it. Even large business enterprises are struggling to find out the ways to make this huge amount of data useful. The humongous amount of data available online for analysis can be overwhelming to anyone who is not used to working with such data. PR agencies are known to invest heavily in people management skills but not so much in data analytics skills. Even though brands have started investing heavily in brand monitoring and analytics platforms, PR agencies have generally lagged behind to keep with this trend. But the last half decade has seen a shift in trend. The PR agencies are gradually moving towards brand analytics tools because it not an augmented service anymore, it has become a necessity. In 2016, PR agencies grew their revenue by as much as 33% by utilizing the brand monitoring and analytics platforms. Remember, you may think it is not as important but your competition might be investing in such platforms, which will eventually lead to lost clients in the very near future.
Brand monitoring and analytics platforms gather data, around the keywords of a brand, from social and non-social platforms, providing real-time alerts right to your mobile phones. You can learn about your clients, their competitors, and the industry—all in one place. Instead of taking hours manually looking through each and every platform for a single mention of the brand, you can find them in seconds. Such tools will also provide insights on how to use that data and then you can devote your time to what you do best. Such platforms save a lot of time which is especially useful for agencies who struggle with a lack of staff. There’s simply not enough time or talent to handle the speed of online conversation manually. Here we explore how data analytics can help PR agencies.
7 ways data analytics help PR agencies
- Brand Monitoring
Brand monitoring is one of the topmost priority of public relations. Agencies need to listen to the public to gauge brand sentiment. Without listening to customer opinion you cannot develop a PR strategy. One way to do this is to manually check all the social media handles, set up Google Alerts for the brand’s keywords and check each and every mention as it comes. This becomes impractical as the business size increases. For a typical big brand you will need to employ an entire team to go through the mentions and classify them into critical and non-critical categories. To make this process simpler there are platforms out there like Rank Me Online which gather data around a brand’s keywords and keep updating the teams automatically whenever the brand is mentioned positively or negatively. This process is an essential part of business intelligence for almost any type of company out there.
- Industry Trends
PR is about anticipation. How will you suggest what improvements to make in the brand’s products and which new product should be given priority? Most clients will expect a PR agency to come up with comprehensive ideas. Immersing yourself in your client’s industry will make it much easier for you to come up with different ideas which might prove to be game changer for the businesses. PR agencies who know and understand the industry as well as the businesses will get them a permanent seat at the brainstorming sessions. Stop only looking in the rear view mirror and start preparing for what’s coming ahead. You can do that only by paying attention to what trending new angles are currently popular and what the hot issues are emerging. This will not only help you in preparing for the future but also save a lot of time in designing your campaigns.
- Competitive Analysis
As a PR agency, one of the best ways to impress a client is to show them that you have done your homework which includes not just industry trends but also deep insights about their competitors. Some PR agencies might just look at the basic information like which of the products of the competitive firms are performing well and which are not. In which avenues do the firms stand out and what they are currently working on. But these things are hygiene factors in today’s world. Now PR agencies are expected to know the detailed performance of these companies on social media and non-social media platforms such as News, Blogs etc. They are supposed to track the competition’s customer feedback and its sentiment including customer response on a recently launched campaign. This could prove to be monstrous task especially for someone who doesn’t know where to start. A report incorporating all of the above points can be generated through the use of a web listening platform like Rank Me Online. Imagine what you can achieve by knowing exactly what the competitors of your client are up to.
- Prevent Crisis
Approximately 30% of all company crisis turn into global ones in less than an hour, which means that slight distraction or misstep can cause a business a major financial setback. The problem becomes even more serious if the comment is posted by a celebrity or an influencer. To stay ahead of the problem businesses need to make sure that each time a brand’s keyword are associated with a negative word, there should be a swift response to the comment made to let their customer know that their concern is being dealt with. This requires businesses to be alert and very active online around the clock.
A web listening platform like Rank Me Online lets you actively track such instances so that your agency knows about an impending crisis. Every time there is a sudden and unexpected rise in the number of mentions to your client’s brand, you will get a warning that something might have gone wrong. Knowing the problem before will provide you the luxury of having time to react to the situation before it turns into anything serious.
- Lead Generation
Web listening tools don’t just help PR agencies in helping their clients step up their game. They can prove to be very useful to the PR agencies as well. By keeping a track of all the prospective clients and their keywords along with the industry trends, PR agencies can find out all the companies that they can work with. As soon as a company shows some sign of needing a PR agency, you can swoop in with all the information you have been collecting about the business and impress them with the preparation you have done for closing the deal. Businesses go for PR agencies which are transparent and has proof for its value. Make use of web listening platforms to prepare a detailed report about your prospective client – include everything from industry analysis, competition analysis to in depth research about the brand itself.
- PR Campaigns
As a PR agency one of the most important things to be aware of is the ROI (return on investment) for your clients. You need to regularly track whether the PR campaigns launched by the agency are meeting the require KPIs or not. Web listening tools like Rank Me Online provide you an opportunity to course correct in case a campaign is falling short. By keeping a regular track of customer engagement you can shift your strategy on track to meet or exceed the set goals. You can readjust the resources allocated to different channels and leverage influencers to meet your goals. It’s much easier to convince a client to adjust execution to meet their goals than to explain at the end of your work why you fell short and to convince a client to adjust the strategy you need to back up your claim with substantial data driven insights. PR agencies can also make use of web listening platforms to create a portfolio of bloggers, influencers etc. which could come in handy while launching future campaigns.
- Market Development
As a PR agency, you are likely to accumulate a high amount of data about customers, competition, market, etc. You can take this humongous amount of data and shrink it down to meaningful and valuable information by eliminating the ‘noise’ of unused data which could be irrelevant to the brand. Such insights can not only be essential for marketing but also for market development. With the help of Data Analytics, a PR agency can detect potential customers for the brands in different geographies. Other than helping brands in improving their relationship with their client, this Data can also be used for improving the efficiency of internal operations of the brand.
Rank Me Online helps PR agencies build more focused marketing campaigns using influencer marketing and content discovery. Blending the data and presenting it using sophisticated visualization techniques so that marketers can focus on what they love – creating resounding messages that touch your audience deeply. Rank Me Online gathers all publicly available data online connected with your client’s brand names and other associated keywords and provides you all the collected data in 1 dashboard where you can monitor all the different platforms where the brand is getting mentioned like social media platforms, blogs, news articles, review sites etc.
- Deepti Chauhan is the CoFounder and CMO of Rank Me Online where she is responsible for sales, marketing and business development activities for the firm. Deepti has worked as a Senior Business Analyst with Cognizant Digital Business Solutions. She has experience working in sales with AkzoNobel India in the decorative paints segment. She has an MBA in International Business from IIFT Delhi majoring in Marketing. She was also a Senior Executive Member of Media Committee at IIFT where her responsibilities included but were not limited to, managing the brand IIFT in any and all forms of media. Prior to joining IIFT, she worked in Samsung in R&D department after graduation from DCE in 2012.