The field of public relations is going through a technology-fueled evolution impacting nearly every aspect of the profession, particularly as it pertains to quantifying, analyzing and reporting campaign progress. Modern brands increasingly want clarity, transparency and accountability for the time and resources they invest in public relations, and increased access to new and existing technologies is making that possible like never before. As a result, the following four public relations reporting trends are on the rise and rapidly supplanting dated practices of the last decade.
Reporting is going from manual to automated
In years past, public relations professionals would spend hours cropping screenshots of coverage, gathering audience numbers and retrieving other metrics to weave into monthly, quarterly and/or annual reports. Word documents and Power Point presentations were heavily utilized to manually construct template-based reports. Those time-consuming processes are on their last breath. Today, most agencies and internal teams use programs like Cision or CoverageBook designed to expedite reporting processes with minimal manual input. A less common trend expected to gain steam in the near future is automated delivery of these reports, scheduled on a weekly or monthly basis. Flackable has even taken this trend a step further, introducing a client portal empowering its clients with real-time, on demand campaign status reporting and analytics.
Once static reports are becoming digital and interactive
Static PDF reporting is so last decade. Brands and marketing teams want reports that are interactive, otherwise known as dynamic digital reports. Visualization tools like Google Data Studio make it easier than ever for public relations teams to offer digital reports that allow brands to filter data and adjust views as they navigate through the report. Unlike PDF reports which provide a snapshot of a fixed period of time, dynamic digital reports can span the entirety of a campaign, giving the brand flexibility drill down to specific date ranges and metrics within.
PR and SEO reporting are converging
Search engine optimization has become increasingly intertwined with public relations, as Google’s algorithm favors brand websites that indicate relevance, and public relations is among the most reliable routes to establishing the perception of relevance. Some public relations reports are now weaving in organic website traffic, backlink data, domain authority and other metrics that were traditionally siloed off to SEO and digital marketing teams. The reason for this trend is simple: if a public relations campaign is being carried out with best SEO practices in mind, there should be a positive correlation between media activity and those SEO metrics.
Social engagement metrics are now standard
Just as journalists and media professionals are expected to create stories that spark engagement and discussion on social media, brands also want to see their public relations wins make rounds and occasionally go viral on social media. Just a few years ago, view count and audience reach were the focus with online media coverage. While they are still important, public relations reports are somewhat incomplete without measuring the social media engagement each media placement sparks.
Erin Esbenshade is a Marketing Associate at Flackable, a national, full-service public relations agency headquartered in Philadelphia. To learn more about Flackable, please visit www.flackable.com.