Tamsen Huver, Director, Western Region, Strategic Partnerships, PublicRelay
It’s easy for PR pros to feel left behind in the Big Data era. While marketers have countless tools for targeting, personalizing, tracking, and measuring how their campaigns perform, public relations initiatives can seem harder to quantify. After all, how do you measure influence or public sentiment? And how can you connect those concepts to business outcomes?
Communications teams need a way to measure the impact of influencer engagement strategies, uncover new brand influencers, and be ready with data to prove the value of their influencer strategies.
Here’s the good news: using accurate data to guide your influencer outreach strategy isn’t just possible, it’s also the key to getting an edge on your competition. Using these five tips, you’ll be able to answer:
- How is our influencer engagement strategy performing?
- Do we have the right influencer relationships?
- Are they worth the investment?
- What should we do differently?
With data to prove your influencer engagement is delivering results, you’ll have more leverage when allocating budget and resources towards your PR program — and become a strategic asset to your company.
1. Take Your Influencer Outreach Pitches to the Next Level
Let’s face it: your brand’s ideal influencer likely keeps a busy schedule and a packed inbox, so if your pitches aren’t laser-targeted and personalized to perfection, you’re wasting time and a potentially lucrative relationship.
To make a great first impression, you need solid data about your influencer. Many author and outlet databases provide high-level details about an author’s beat and background, but that’s not enough information to engage the influencer, let alone ensure that they’re the right fit for your brand.
You need to take these insights to the next level. Analyze how someone has written about a topic, industry, or competitor. With a more complete picture of your target influencers, you can craft a pitch that catches the right influencer’s attention and piques their interest.
2. Pay Attention to the Interplay of Social and Traditional Media on Influencer Coverage
Say a powerful industry influencer mentions your brand in a large trade publication — that’s terrific, but what traction did this article get on social media? The sheer volume of articles written and the reach of the publication are not necessarily indicators of high social sharing probability.
With accurate media intelligence and social listening, you can measure influencer engagement on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn and determine whether they have enough reach to drive your brand’s message home. Before you even identify influencers, you can get a sense of who to look for by overlaying social sharing data on your traditional coverage data, revealing which platform each topic gets shared on most often.
A firm understanding of how social and traditional media build on one another in your particular industry points you in the right direction. Look at how frequently an influencer’s messages are shared on the platforms most important to your business, and you can efficiently and effectively create a messaging plan to engage these thought leaders.
3. Go Beyond Authors and Outlets — Identify Third-Party Influencers
Reporters and social media stars aren’t the only influencers you should reach out to. You should also identify third-party influencers like industry experts, regulatory groups, academic researchers, political organizations, and NGOs. These thought leaders may be less visible than the influencers you typically think of, but they hold tremendous sway over media coverage of their fields.
Using accurate analytics, you can track the impact of third-party influencers by several measures, including:
- How often they are quoted or cited in articles
- How powerful their social and traditional media channels are
- How frequently they publish
Once they’re on your side, you can access industry trends just beginning to bubble up — and be top of mind once those topics make impact.
4. Find Industry Whitespace, and Leverage Influencers to Make It Yours
The attention economy is a buyer’s market. To engage new audiences and boost your influence, you need to find topics your audience cares about before your competitors get hip to that conversation. A data-driven influencer engagement strategy is a powerful tool for carving out that niche.
One Fortune 500 telecommunications company used this tactic to craft messaging around a topic that was picking up steam: data privacy. They identified industry influencers shaping the narrative, as well as the sentiments underlying their coverage. The company cultivated powerful relationships with many of these influencers, who helped guide the organization’s messaging plan. These alliances gave the telecom firm confidence as it joined the data privacy conversation.
5. Proactively Measure Your Impact
Measurement is more than a look backwards — it’s a constant, multifaceted evaluation. Start by establishing your baseline across brand values, then prove that your program is working with robust data that you can tie to KPIs.
Constantly combine data about sentiment and tone toward your brand, your executives and spokespeople, your products and services, your industry and competitors. Determine how that tone maps to your reputation drivers, corporate values, and goals. Evaluate whether the frequency of coverage about your brand and the topics it cares about is increasing or decreasing.
Finally, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are influencers helping to grow my brand’s audience, reach, and engagement?
- Is my influencer strategy helping with message penetration among key publics?
Get Results From Brand Influencer Engagement
Become an indispensable strategic partner to your business with the media insights you need to engage new audiences, boost your reputation, and reach powerful brand influencers. PublicRelay provides the expert data analysis you need to identify influencers, cultivate relationships, and prove the value of your efforts with measurable results.
How confident are you in your communications data? 72% of PR leaders say they have good data only ‘sometimes.’ Download the PR News Report, The State of Data-Driven Communications Strategies to learn more.