In December, I spoke at the PR News Media Relations Conference about the importance of aligning your media relations KPI’s to the goals of the C-suite. Often in communications analytics, people get bogged down counting keywords – or worse, relying on largely discredited AVE’s.  But basing your media relations strategies on these metrics are misleading and do not show your executives how your team contributes to the goals of the business.

CEO’s and the rest of the C-suite care about outcomes, not outputs. Outcomes are results that move the business forward, while outputs are the tasks media relations pros execute everyday like press releases, pitches, and social media promotion. Outputs are important to your team and necessary to achieve those business outcomes, but your CEO does not need to know the tactics executed to get there. When determining your media relations KPI’s, you should base them on the business outcomes you want to achieve. If your organization’s goal is to be known as an innovator or thought leader in the industry, these goals become the basis of your metrics.

Two important areas that media relations can create business outcomes are message penetration and influencer conversion.

Message Penetration

Amplifying key messages is one of the most important ways communicators can contribute to the reputational goals your C-suite cares about. Measuring which topics are pulling through in your coverage and their sentiment in relation to your brand or position is very important to measure progress on your reputational goals. Knowing which messages resonate with your top tier authors and outlets, as well as how certain messages perform on each social platform is also key to maximize message penetration. Repositioning your brand, changing opinions, or even affecting stock price are business outcomes your CEO will care about that result from increasing positive key message penetration.

Measuring message penetration can also mean identifying gaps in industry coverage, or whitespace opportunities. Industry whitespace is a great opportunity for your brand to establish thought leadership and own a new conversation, again creating a measurable business outcome.

Influencer Conversion

Engaging the right influencers will amplify your messages and lend credibility to your brand. But what makes an influencer right for your brand and how can you identify them?

Understanding an influencer by topic, sentiment, audience, and social reach will help you identify your top influencers for a particular message. It’s not just about the “beat” that they cover. Instead of sending a mass email, target your outreach to influencers who you know have written about your topic favorably in the past. Understanding an author’s social profile and reach will also help you refine your pitch. Do they have more sharing on a specific platform when their stories are positive about a topic or negative? . This will dramatically increase the chances they engage with your message. In fact, a large professional services client successfully and positively engaged 81% of their top 50 influencers with targeted outreach based on researched data points.

Incorporating third-party influencers into your influencer strategy also lends credible, unbiased support to your brand message or position. Third-party influencers like academics, industry experts, and political pundits are important brand allies. Strategic engagement will yield measurable outcomes that your CEO and board truly care about.

Build Credibility with Measurement

Setting your media relations KPI’s based on business outcomes will make your efforts measurable from the start. Use data to optimize your strategies throughout campaigns to achieve the desired outcomes, then use it again to demonstrate the business impact of your efforts to the C-suite. Delivering consistent, measured results will build your credibility and ensure you’re seen as a strategic partner to the business.

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