It’s Time to Take Stock
Hi! Time flies by, doesn’t it?
In the ninth lesson of this course, I’ll show you how to measure your results. A great thing about the internet is that you can almost instantly see stats and analytics and reflect on your data. Don’t get overwhelmed if you’re seeing too much information. Take a deep breath, and focus on the things that matter.
Remember Lesson #1, where you learned how to listen to the conversations on the web, making your way through the noise to collect only the most relevant pieces of information?
Now that you have created and sent out your message, you need to go back to the listening phase of the process, but with a different focus, because now, you can measure the specific results of your actions. Now you’ll have numbers and concrete data that you can base your next move on. With numbers, you can test what works best and make choices accordingly. You can constantly tweak your strategy to get better results.
You should apply what you learned in this course not just once, but many times. The steps of a digital PR strategy are actually the stages of a cycle, where you constantly:
2. Improve your presence.
3. Prepare your content.
4. Reach out.
5. Measure the results, which brings us back to listening.
So, once you’ve collected your data, you should reconsider your presence, rethink your messages, and adjust your strategy.
No matter what you have done, what platforms you have used, you will surely have lots of data to analyze. That’s a great source of information if you are able to focus on what matters the most. So, what does matter the most?
• Visitors to your sites (website, blog, etc.). How many are they? Where did they come from? Where did they go next? What did they do on your site? How much time did they spend on your content? Look for variations. You can use Google Analytics, Clicky, and similar services.
• Interaction on your social media pages. How many people interacted with your content? What did they do with it? Who are they? Whom are they connected to? Here, you can see insights on the spot: for example, Facebook offers Insights and Youtube has Analytics. You can also use third-party services like TweetReach, which allows you to monitor Twitter, or tools that collect data on different social media, like Sharedcount or Klout.
• New backlinks. Who linked to your content? Where did they do it? Why did they do it?
• Mentions. Who mentioned you (without a link)? Who are they? What did they say? As we said in Lesson #1, you can perform a search on social media and/or through a platform like Social Mention.
• Comments on your blog (if you have one). How many comments did you get? Are they positive or negative? What do they say? Who are they from?
• RSS feed readers. How many people subscribed to your feed(s)? Who are they?
• Ranking on search engines. Did your website go significantly up or down on search engines? Did your ranking for a specific keyword change? To get these data, use a site like Alexa, which we mentioned earlier.
Now you have your data. This, compared to the data you collected before starting your PR activities, tells you how successful you have been, what worked, and what didn’t.
So, how did it go? Got great results? Awesome, let’s celebrate.
Got negative results? Don’t despair. Remember that:
• Your online reputation is only one part of your reputation.
• If your online reputation changes, it usually does so over time, rather than instantly.
• If it changes negatively, although you should be able to act promptly, it won’t have an immediate impact on a tangible, offline level (e.g. on your sales).
And don’t forget that all this should be compared to what happened offline. Did that successful promotional video you posted online bring people to your event? Did sales for that product increase after you had an article on that blog? Keep things in perspective.
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