Industry 4.0 and PR
In today’s competitive business climate, public relations and marketing have become essential tools for a business to thrive. This is true across the board, whether you are an automotive supplier, technology firm or another key Industry 4.0 stakeholder.
Let’s begin by establishing a basic premise: The goal of public relations and marketing is to influence consumer behavior and increase brand awareness in a positive manner, opening the door for increased sales and success.
But PR efforts can’t be as unpredictable as throwing darts at the wall; they must be devised strategically. Then comes the tricky part: Analyzing the success of a PR campaign — figuring out what has worked, and what hasn’t, so you can make the proper adjustments going forward.
Here are some key rules to consider when planning your PR campaigns and measuring results.
Have clear goals
Before your PR team can determine strategies to achieve your company’s goals, they have to know what those goals are.
These goals cannot be arbitrary. They must be specific, smart, actionable and measurable goals that are relevant to your business. It’s also important to establish a timeline to accomplish them, while leaving room for flexibility.
Determine what behavior you want to influence, and focus your efforts around making that happen.
Will you focus on earning media coverage targeting a specific group of consumers? Are you focused on growing social media? Are you strictly working on getting customers to buy your product, or is this a general campaign to increase brand awareness among the public and inside the industry?
After a campaign is executed and the dust has settled, the time comes to see what tactics worked well, and which ones did not.
Among the most critical methods of measuring success of your outreach campaigns is determining the Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE) of coverage earned.
AVE is determined by analyzing results of a PR campaign and translating that coverage into an equivalent amount of advertising dollars that would have been required to gather similar exposure. AVE takes into account all forms of media earned, including: Traditional (newspapers, magazines), Online (blogs, websites) and Social (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.).
For example, if your brand is featured in a high-level publication with a potential combined audience (print, online, social) of 1 million people, an exact value can be applied to that. A well-executed PR plan should earn you exposure that exceeds what you have spent on the campaign, making for strong ROI.
The idea of overall reach is an evolving one, as technology changes how the public takes in news and information.
While newspapers, magazines, TV and radio once were the dominant sources for reaching the public, they now share their space with online and social forms of media. Analyzing results of a PR campaign must take into account this new reality.
Social media reach is just as important as traditional media reach, and in cases where social media influencers are involved, there can be an even more direct impact on a brand’s success, with top influencers boasting millions of followers on their social channels.
In addition to working with influencers, continually growing your brand’s number of followers on social is an important goal to have. You also need to consider who is following you on social media, as it needs to be a specific and relevant following that will support your business.
Calculation of media impressions for your brand’s content is another key area of digital analytics. The more often people see your posts, the higher the impression count.
Impressions don’t tell the entire story, but they are a key piece of the digital analytics puzzle, along with engagement and overall reach.
Social Media Engagement
Content placed on social media doesn’t mean anything if followers just scroll by your posts. Among the key analytics on the social media side of things is engagement, which examines the interactions people have had with your posts.
How many people clicked on your link from social? How many likes did it get? How many shares or retweets? What was the overall audience reached by posts?
These results will offer a clear statement on whether the material being shared on social channels is connecting with audiences or needs to be rethought, and future social media strategy can be adjusted accordingly.
PR agencies also have access to detailed analytics tools that not only share results, but also offer insight into future strategies that can be implemented.
An increase in website traffic after a PR campaign is completed is one of the clear signs of a successful effort.
Website analytics can also break down in extreme detail what parts of the world that traffic is coming from. It can also break down the demographics of who is coming to your website, tell you what devices they are using to visit the site (laptops, tablets, phones, etc.), and list referral sites from which your site was linked.
You will also be able to tell who is returning to the website, what traffic is new, and how long people stayed on your site. All of this information is truly valuable to your sales teams. Beyond measuring the success of your PR campaign, website traffic analysis also offers insight into your customers (and potential customers) that you can use in future planning.
If you have a well thought-out plan going into your PR campaign, and use the proper analytics to monitor its success, you will be setting up your business for long-term success and growth.
With so many businesses entering Industry 4.0 sectors such as autonomy and automation, making yourself stand out among the crowd is essential, and a strong public relations and marketing campaign will go a long way toward that goal if you are able to analyze it properly.