Doing more with less: How to maximize PR impact with the tech you already have

As we streamline our day-to-day tasks, provide more value and maximize our results, we must use the tools and resources we have available, says Intrado Digital Media's Ben Chodor.

Our lives, the way we work, and the media landscape have shifted. Working from home and an always-on mentality is second nature for some, but for others, it has become tough to draw the distinction between our personal and professional lives. 

The news cycle is relentless, with a global pandemic, a U.S. election and unpredictable markets making it harder to drive earned media. Through it all, client service and tangible results have never been more critical. The PR industry is challenged to do more with less.

As we look to streamline our day-to-day tasks, provide more value and maximize our results, we must utilize the tools and resources we have available. The public relations industry is comprised of creative minds and strategic thinkers who can maximize their impact by being smarter and more innovative with the tech at their disposal. 

Here are three practices to consider.

Think like a marketer and make better use of data.
Data can be a telling tale when it comes to mapping strategy, curating the right message and showcasing PR measurement. It also helps convey value to the C-suite. A recent PRWeek/Intrado Digital Media survey found the marketing team to be more effective (75%) at demonstrating value to the C-suite versus their PR counterparts (25%). The same survey also found PR pros less efficient than marketers adopting technology, with more than half of the respondents (55.5%) admitting that PR is not effective enough at it.

How can PR professionals show their value during challenging times? Several tools are available to help validate the importance of a PR program, including web analytics and social listening tools. Both should be leveraged to support measurement efforts and help streamline client programming by managing overall sentiment, preventing crises, remaining ahead of competitors and showcasing value to the client.

Remember that media monitoring is about more than just keywords.
It is essential to track more than just the brand and keywords. Media monitoring should be leveraged to uncover trends in a challenging news cycle. Tracking industry stories — when they break, how they evolve and who is influencing them — opens opportunities to contribute meaningfully to conversations. To drive impact, PR pros must remain attuned to the current news cycle, tune in to live news, follow the story and map a plan as to how a topic or event may evolve.  

Use web traffic data to guide content creation.
Mining website data is key to storytelling and engagement, providing two main benefits. First, it shows what content is most interesting to target audiences, customers and prospects, an immense benefit to the sales team, too. Web traffic data can also help gauge referral traffic from media placements and press release announcements, allowing PR pros to identify which sources and storytelling themes resonate or provide value with their web audience. 

Doing more with less is never an ideal situation, but it's also not impossible. If we take a step back and review the tools we have, those available in-house or from our agency, there are opportunities to streamline, drive greater efficiency and win back some valuable time.  

Ben Chodor is president of Intrado Digital Media. 

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