By Blair Broussard, Senior Vice President of tech public relations firm ARPR.
Summer Fridays, beach vacations…and mid-year check-ins. The latter doesn’t have to be scary. In fact, taking a few days during the summer to reflect on the first half of the year and assess where you are against your goals is probably the most important thing you can do for your business and for your team. However, according to MediaPost, less than 30% of small businesses use website analytics, call tracking or coupon codes, and 18% of small businesses admit to not tracking anything at all. If you are one of the businesses reading this that did not set quantifiable PR and marketing goals, I promise I won’t judge you! What I will say is that this is the perfect time to see what you did accomplish in the first half of 2018 and set some quantifiable goals NOW! Remember, the Future of PR is fun, quantifiable and can positively impact your bottom line! Below are three must-dos mid-year to ensure you will succeed in 2018 (and, hopefully, get that bonus!):
DON’T JUST REPORT – ANALYZE
As our VP of Digital and Analytics Renee Spurlin once said, “How to showcase results to the C-suite is an ongoing discussion – and challenge – among PR teams.” But mid-year check-ins aren’t just about showcasing results, it’s also about analyzing why the results are happening, for better or for worse. Marketing automation tools and Google analytics, if set up correctly, can help us all demonstrate meaningful value by providing a more detailed view of how PR’s efforts – from trade shows to media hits to influencer engagement – drive website visits, leads, conversions and sales. Once you’ve got that information it’s time to step back, analyze, and look for trends in this data to determine the cause as well as the effect. This is a time to get into the weeds, and not only ask questions like, “how do we tie a news article to a prospect inquiry or an event keynote to an increase in qualified website conversion?,” but take it a step further to find out which pieces of our content are driving these people and why – Is it relevance? Is it timing? Are there trends that are telling the story? Is it a particular type of content? Where did they originally see it – on social, digital ads, etc.?
Yes, just like Ross, once you’ve taken the time to review, report and analyze it’s time to decide if you need to pivot and how. The dynamic nature of the tech industry, in particular, lends itself to a solid pivot in at least one area of marketing and PR during this review. This is why it is also important to only plan in six-month increments when brainstorming your PR strategy. And let’s be honest, a lot of digital marketing and PR relies on testing out some of the theories that you have based on your research and feedback (e.g. personas, perceived buyer’s journey, sales cycle, digital tools, social media networks, etc.). What’s most important here is when you realize a pivot in strategy is necessary, you need to just rip off the band-aid and do it!
TEMP CHECK WITH TEAM
How often do you set time aside to truly take a look at step 1 as a team to align and ensure your actions are in direct correlation to your goals and objectives? A temp check is so very important for both alignment and engagement. Sometimes it’s the little anecdotes from a brief conversation that a teammate had with a client or member of the C-suite that will spark the ideas to help you with the direction of your pivot. It could also be finding a trend in data after talking through what happened in the previous year. Other times, simply doing what we at ARPR call “celebrating successes” big and small is what is needed to charge forth for the second half of the year. In fact, a recent study revealed that 69% of us say we would work harder if we felt our efforts were better recognized. So go ahead – put that party hat on and celebrate!
Doing a mid-year check-in with our clients and our team is one of the top reasons we can produce all of these awesome client results and execute these award-winning campaigns. Have you already done a mid-year check-in and need to pivot but don’t know how? Drop us a line today.