I’ve worked in PR for nearly a decade, and I am going to let everyone in on a secret: traditional metrics and measurement information classically used for core PR work (i.e. media relations, blog writing, content creation, etc.) are outdated and really don’t matter anymore. Things like Unique Visitors Per Month (UVPM), circulation, top-tier outlets, Facebook likes, etc. don’t tell you the true story of what the impact is of the work that you, the PR professional has done. In 2016, it is time that we realize that PR, like almost every other business function, needs to include online and social media analytics when looking at the success of PR campaigns.

Let me take a brief moment here to clarify that while I currently work in-house at Synthesio, this is also applicable to agencies. Clients hire agencies to do the same things that I am tasked with as an in-house Senior Communications Manager, improve their brand recognition and bring in leads to their business.

This is why ancient metrics like circulations and UVPM don’t matter. We need a better understanding of who’s seeing the work we do, what impact it’s having on the business and most importantly, we need to have information and data that we can elevate into insights that will shape the way we reach out to the media moving forward (including which media we reach out to). In 2016 we’re lucky enough to live in a digital and social world that provides us with all of that data through great social media analytics tools, as long as we listen to it. With that said, here are two of the biggest metrics that incorporate social media analytics that need to become standard in PR now. I should also clarify that these metric will likely require a Social Media Listening platform, like Synthesio.

  • Top Shared URLs

Historically, the higher your UVPM and Circulation numbers were, the more impressed your clients and bosses were, and while that still might ring true in some degree, let’s face the dirty secret we’ve all known for a long time: those numbers are lies. Just because an outlet gets 3 million views, doesn’t mean that any one single article that either mentions, or is about, your client or your company is read by 3 million people. So what is the most accurate way, in today’s day and age, to know how many times an article’s been read, and how popular it is? The answer is social shares.

Retweets, Facebook shares and LinkedIn are all great and easy to measure, but all that tells you is information about specific posts. What about the article in and of itself? Social media analytics tools like Synthesio, allow you to determine what your entire audience is sharing in general, and not just how many times one post is shared. So you can easily see if an article is making traction by seeing how many times the article’s URL has been posted, shared or mentioned online.

More important than knowing just how many times any one article was shared is knowing whether it was shared more or less than other hits of yours, and which outlets continue to have the most shared articles among your audience. Not to mention, what websites and articles are the most shared among your audience, whether they are a press hit of yours or not. This can completely change and strengthen your PR outreach, which leads us nicely to….

  • Share of Voice

When you are tracking all of the different articles that you are mentioned in, you obviously want to know which articles and outlets make the biggest splash for you, right? This is where “share of voice (SOV)” comes in, as it will tell you what percentage of your (or your client’s) total buzz in any given time period was generated by the different topics you are monitoring. SOV is one of the best social media analytics tools to see what impact your work is having in today’s digital world. And, again, this can also help you understand how to reconfigure your pitching strategy to target the journalists and outlets that make the biggest splash for you.

Want more tips on using Social Intelligence or Social Media Analytics for your PR Agency? Reach out and get a demo to see how social media analytics can make you a better PR pro!