You can't plan your year without knowing what worked and didn't work last year.
A new year is a perfect reason to revisit your PR strategy. Strategic thinking is critical to successful long-term PR. If you want a bright future for your brand in the new year, look no further than your past.
That's right – now's the time to review last year's PR. You can only make informed decisions for 2019 if you look at your 2018 strategy. Past campaigns can reveal so much about your future strategy. Discover what efforts you should duplicate this year – and note any pitfalls to avoid.
Building consumers' trust
Before analyzing last year's campaigns, remember your audience. The consumer's brain works in very specific ways, especially online, and consumers are savvier than ever before. A one-and-done approach doesn't work; they need multiple touchpoints with your brand before they buy.
Younger generations, like Gen Z, are all about research. The more they see your product, the better they feel about buying from you. That's why it's so important to have a multitude of PR coverage. The more features you get, the more places consumers will see your brand, which builds trust.
When it comes to your PR strategy, we say that both quality and quantity matter. As you analyze the results of your PR from 2018, remember that it takes more than one good feature to get noticed. 2019 is your year to be everywhere.
With that in mind, here are some tips to review your 2018 PR and create your 2019 PR strategy.
1. Check your analytics.
How are people landing on your website? Don't guess – let analytics do the talking.
Use Google Analytics to find your top sources of referral traffic. Log in and go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium. This should tell you where the bulk of your website traffic came from. Make sure you look at 2018 as a whole, as well as the dates for certain campaigns.
Evaluate which campaigns contributed the most useful traffic to your site. Ditch any efforts that didn't yield an uptick in visits. Note what performed well and make sure you add that to the mix for 2019.
2. Review social engagement.
Social media is a big time investment, so make the most of that time. Go through your social accounts, noting where you saw higher volumes of engagement and shares. Did a media feature get people talking about your brand on social? Great! Try to duplicate that in 2019. You can use social media analytics, like Facebook Insights or Google Analytics, to find what was most successful.
3. Calibrate your customers.
Although it's important to evaluate your campaigns, you also need to evaluate your audience. Has your brand offering changed in the last year? Has your target demographic changed? Even if the demographic is unchanged, have the needs or expectations of your audience changed?
Take this time to evaluate your buyer personas. Compare them to the demographic profiles of those who bought from you last year. Make sure the two jibe. If not, it's back to the drawing board before you plan your 2019 campaigns.
A new year is also the perfect time to implement better customer tracking. Can you attribute a sale to a certain article or press coverage? If not, it's high time you set up a customer relationship management (CRM) platform. A CRM will help you determine exactly where customers come from.
4. Read your reviews.
Reviews are like free advice from your customers. It's foolhardy to ignore these snippets of PR gold.
Comb through your online reviews. Find the ones that are more in-depth and useful. Get the reviewers' permission to share their great stories with your audience. This user-generated content, which often comes with images and video, will help you gain trust through social proof.
5. Evaluate your coverage.
Take a look at your coverage from 2018. How many features did you earn? Did those views result in new business for you? More importantly, did the media coverage make sense for your brand? Was it from an outlet that your audience actually reads?
If not, it's time to fine-tune your journalist outreach. You don't want to spend time promoting your brand to outlets that don't reach your target audience.
Look at all of your content from 2018. Does it match your brand mission, message and audience needs? If not, now's the time to update. Get consistent with your messaging before you drive more traffic to your site in 2019.
The bottom line
Begin the year with a clean slate, learning from last year's campaigns to make adjustments. Measure the impact of your PR every year. This helps you not only improve your long-term campaigns but also make the most of your investment. Over time, you'll refine your PR strategy to bring in even more impressions, engagement and customer loyalty.