A client asked recently for our recommendations in PR dashboards. We are techies here at Fusion PR, and generally pretty smart about PR and marketing tech. So I thought this would be easy. But, as I learned, the tools that I was familiar with did not fit the bill.
Luckily, with a little online sleuthing, I was able to get some answers. The experience enlightened me, shed light on a client need and led to nice interactions with new and existing contacts. It reminded me of the awesome power of crowdsourcing and the social web.
The client wants an easy way to check in on the status of the PR program. This means seeing PR and social media results in one screen, which shows progress against goals for these things and others, like briefings, content developed, awards etc.
Many solve this with spreadsheets. I thought that there had to be a better way, and posted a question on Quora; and also tweeted it. One person chimed in and said, essentially, “just go out and do great PR – you are wasting your time trying to measure.” That kind of answer in not going to fly with the client (plus by this point I was really curious). So I kept looking.
Call in the Specialists
It occurred to me that the PR measurement crowd might have some answers – and that an easy way to get their attention would be to use the hash tag #MeasurePR, one that I’d seen in the Twitter chats on the topic. So I repeated my Quora question, this time with that hash tag – and hit pay dirt. None other than Katie Paine, the Queen of Metrics (that’s actually her Twitter tag) replied:
“Yes, my favorite is http://Glean.Info an updated version of a tool I’ve used for years…
I’ve done several issues of our newsletter on Dashboards. The Complete Guide to Dashboards – The Measurement Advisor. This month its all about tools.”
I had heard her name but did not know Katie – it was great to e-meet and get her take.
In her answer, Katie invited me to email follow-up questions. After checking out the links, I was still unsure, so I sent her and a few other contacts the following details:
Starting from a 6 month PR plan that sets goals and deliverables that might include numbers for:
- Interviews in various categories, like by media type
- Content developed
- Coverage in various categories (type of media or blog, quality of placement)
Social media metrics in a number of categories (network, engagement, followers, # of tweets, etc.)
- Other variables, such as awards submitted, events pitched
The manager wants to go to a dashboard to see the progress of the program at any point. Is there a system that can automatically aggregate and display up-to-the-minute information (I understand that some data needs to be manually entered and maintained, such as number of interviews)? Ideally without lots of tech consultation that you receive through managed it services, and the dashboard has high customization or suitable costs?
With this extra info did Katie’s’ advice change? No – she did ask more questions about each requirement, reminding me that nothing is simple as it first seems in the world of PR tracking and measurement, and said: “It used to be a massive IT problem, but with tools like Tableau and Glean, it’s not that big a deal.”
The exercise gave me many options to explore. Hopefully you will find the information helpful. Would love to hear your experiences and thoughts about PR dashboards.
Dashboard vendors – have I left your name out? Please comment to fill us in. Thanks!