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#CreativePR: Measurement and Data-Based Insights

#CreativePR: Measurement and Data-Based Insights

This is post 5 of our 5-part #CreativePR blog series. Read the entire series here 

The data-driven world has significantly reshaped the way the communications industry works. Greater access to website and social analytics has given PR professionals the opportunity to create more effective strategies and better report on their outcomes. In today’s most noticeable creative PR strategies, measurement and data-based insights are key.

Toronto-based PR professional Martin Waxman sums it up: “No matter how clever and innovative your idea, if it doesn’t produce the results you’re after you’re wasting your time (and money). Before you begin a creative PR campaign, define your specific goal(s) and detail how your strategy and tactics support it.”

In the PR professional’s scope of work, infographics, video, and other multimedia assets have one thing in common – in order to be effective, they must begin with a fundamental understanding of purpose. They’re meant to be a tool for business communication, not fine art or viral spectacles. While they can (and should!) be creative and aesthetically pleasing, if they don’t convey an idea that helps to serve the PR pro’s greater purpose, they’ll be a wasted effort.

In the goal to get noticed and be creative in the competitive PR industry, it can be easy to become distracted by judgments of “is this unique / shocking / outside-the-box enough to go viral?” But putting too much stock into this question for any given campaign only distracts from a piece’s purpose as it relates to your goals. Instead, start with an idea that covers all the bases of your goal. (See our piece on Brainstorming for ideas to make sure you come up with a good goal.)

Your initial idea – the foundation on which you build, must be well-thought-out. Martin says, “Ideas are still at the heart of what we do, but there are so many other elements that go into #CreativePR including strategy, thinking from your audience’s perspective, visual storytelling and of course measurement.” Considering how a piece of content may fit into a greater PR strategy, the value it offers the audience, and exactly how you’ll measure its success, are all important in staying focused on the creative process and ensuring an outcome you want.

Today, PR pros must strive to come up with a creative idea that will both catch the attention of and engage their target audience beyond the initial click. Martin explains, “When I started in PR, I thought ideas – and the words we used to express them –were the most important part of what we do. If you didn’t have a creative spark that caught the attention of the people you were trying to reach, you were at best off the radar and at worst a spammer. Neither is a good alternative.”

Remaining unknown certainly isn’t helpful for a brand, but is the wrong type of attention, or attention for attention’s sake, any better? Brand awareness is one (certainly valid) indicator of success, but holding an audience’s attention, engaging them and ultimately driving an action is the difference between an idea that is effective and one that is not. Creative PR goes deeper to incorporate inventive thinking from the first click right through to conversion.

“Once we understand how to dig into the data and uncover insights, we can use those insights to help shape our stories,” Martin says. “And of course the data lets us get a handle on the impact our stories are having on the people we’re trying to reach.”

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