Market Motive says I’m regarded as one of the pioneers and leading authorities on online publicity. And Marketing Sherpa has called optimizing a press release to get a high ranking in Google News “the tactic known as SEO PR.”
But over the years I’ve learned that what’s now called Digital PR doesn’t generate measurable results unless you have a newsworthy story to tell. Why? Because, as Ann Richards once said, “You can put lipstick and earrings on a hog and call it Monique, but it’s still a pig.”
Now, I had to learn this the hard way through trial and error. When I had breaking news and credible information, then I generated the following results:
- 21% of initial revenues for SEMPO, a new trade association, in 2003.
- $2.5 million in ticket sales for Southwest Airlines in 2004.
- 1.3 million searches for “florists” on SuperPages.com in 2005.
- 450,000 unique visitors to The Christian Science Monitor’s website in 2006.
- 1,199 attendees to the Wharton Economic Summit in 2007.
- 36% increase in searches for Better Homes and Gardens in 2008.
- 859 inbound links to Parents magazine’s website in 2009.
- 3x return on marketing investment for Rutgers University in 2010.
With 20/20 hindsight, I can now see that I was looking through the wrong end of the telescope. Many Digital PR best practices are remarkably like traditional PR best practices. And the biggest difference isn’t just how you optimize your content; it’s also how you measure your results.
So, if you think that you need a Digital PR training course to learn how to use press release SEO, then you’ll also want to sign up for a Google Analytics 4 (GA4) training course to learn how to use GA4 to show the value of this tactic.
Now, I should disclose that I’m teaching online classes on both topics at Paine Publishing’s Measurement Base Camp Winter 2024. But Katie Delahaye Paine, the CEO of Paine Publishing, and I are also teaching a four-part online course on just Google Analytics 4 for PR & Communication Professionals in February 2004.
And let me give you some reasons why it’s worth investing your time and money to learn how to use GA4 not only to track your activities, but also to show your contribution to revenue.
Back in 1986, I became the 13th Director of Corporate Communications at Lotus Development Corporation, which had been founded in 1982. (Katie Paine was the company’s 12thDirector of Corporate Communications and hired me before she left the company.)
After my first month on the job, I took a very thick book of about 700 magazine and newspaper clippings — including a cover memo that calculated their Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE) – down the hall to CEO Jim Manzi’s office, and casually dropped it on his desk. Manzi took a quick look and said, “Jarboe, if I could deposit these little pieces of paper in a bank, then I’d know what they were worth. But, until you can measure the impact of PR in cold, hard cash, don’t waste my time with these so-called reports.”
Manzi’s response explains why both Katie and I know that PR and communications professionals shouldn’t use AVE, or its twin, Earned Media Value (EMV), as key performance indicators (KPIs). These vanity metrics don’t measure real value or cold, hard cash. This also explains why both of us have been working for decades to answer the follow-up question: “How should Measurement Mavens measure what matters?”
Well, different kinds of organizations have different KPIs. So, PR and communications professionals can benefit from GA4 in different ways:
- Higher education and nonprofit organizations can use it to examine user behavior and learn how people use their site or app.
- Publishers can use GA4 to better align their on-site content with user interests and create a loyal, highly engaged audience.
- Lead-generation sites can use GA4 to collect user information for sales teams to connect with potential customers.
- Ecommerce businesses can use GA4 to understand consumers’ online purchasing behavior and better market their products and services.
In other words, one size does not fit all.
And while most PR and communications professionals will focus on collecting data from a website, GA4 can also collect behavioral data from a variety of systems such as mobile applications, online point-of-sales systems, video-game consoles, customer-relationship-management systems, or other internet-connected platforms.
You can compile this data into GA4 reports, which you can use to perform in-depth analysis to better understand your customers and their purchase journey. Then you can evaluate new Digital PR tactics like press release SEO to see if they improve your business.
So, if you want to learn everything you need to know to effectively measure, evaluate, and report on your communications results, then click on https://bit.ly/402bI0R to register for Paine Publishing’s Measurement Base Camp Winter 2024.
But if you want to learn how to use GA4 to not only to track your activities, but also to show your contribution to revenue, then click on https://bit.ly/496aGor to register for Google Analytics 4 for PR & Communication Professionals.
Either way, you will be better prepared to measure what matters.