It’s not an uncommon conversation to have with senior marketers. They see PR as a powerful vehicle but remain confused about how results will and can be predicted. As data and ROI people, they seek to wrap their head around the factors that will ultimately lead to success within a campaign. Often, the outcomes of campaigns are attributed to the great mystery of the “relationship,” and it’s not uncommon for marketers to ask who, as a firm, we know. However, as great marketers understand, relationships are not scalable, and guessing is not a system. Behind the ambiguity of results are real factors that can be systematically analyzed to develop a composite and sound hypothesis of anticipated outcomes.
At anthonyBarnum, when talking to marketers initially, we work from a body of case studies and experience that inform on what is feasible. This, however, is an early hypothesis that needs to be refined and honed during the preliminary research phase of the campaign. To quantify what is possible, we need to measure specific facets via our methodology to determine and guide real metrics.
Here are three top factors we consider.
Factor 1: Tiering Media Lists
During the strategy building phase, we tier media lists that reflect the audience of highest priority. Media are typically allocated to Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3. The final tiered media list, corresponding to the overall goals of the campaign, provides insights into the metrics set. Companies have varying criteria for a tier-based classification based on the objectives of the campaign. A key question here is whether the goal is lead gen, category creation, category ownership or big brand building.
What is identified as a Tier 1 for a company can dictate what is feasible for establishing a consistent media cadence. In some cases, traditional Tier 1s (NYTimes, WSJ, Bloomberg) are the focus. In other cases, more targeted trade media outlets that align with lead gen audiences are considered Tier 1.
Traditional Tier 1s are not necessarily the most challenging for garnering coverage, nor are they necessarily the most valuable to a company. They also tend to have a longer cycle and lead time due to competitiveness for coverage.
Factor 2: Relevancy and Immediacy
Part of determining the feasibility of outcomes in the media is assessing the relevance and interest level of the topic. For example, does the platform (thought leadership commentary, product thought leadership or news) resonate with the priority media target? Can we scope out similar articles and concepts that have been covered before? How big is the zone of interest for the subject matter? Is there an active, ongoing interest in the media to cover the subject, a contender or leader in the market who has carved out the space before us, or are we weaving a strategy together? Along these lines, how much and how does the PR team need to deconstruct the relevance of the subject matter to the reporter?
The topic itself does not need to be totally mainstream to resonate. What we’re looking for is the composite of interest and span of reporters who are going to be interested in covering the subject-matter for their audience.
Factor 3: Time and Duration of Media Relations
A key variable is the duration of the media relations campaign in relation to metrics. It requires intent focus to introduce a company and its concepts to the media initially, versus maintaining or accelerating an established presence. The more time allocated for the introduction, the quicker the return of results. The longer period of time interacting and connecting with target media on a subject matter, the more coverage that will be attained. It’s intensity + time in the water.
anthonyBarnum has developed a specific scale of time estimates based on the goals of a mid-market technology company. We provide this information within our new business process. It’s critical that marketers see the time allocation and budget options to understand what can logically be achieved based on their objectives.
There are ways to accelerate penetration in the media, if necessary, by increasing “intensity” (time per month on media relations) to such a level that it reduces the “time in the water factor.”
Most importantly, like all disciplines in marketing, ROI with PR is based on factors, not random circumstances. Anticipated results can be defined. It’s more logical deconstruction than magic.