PR Wars Podcast: Better measurement reports

Today on PR Wars, we’ll talk with one of the media intelligence giants, Meltwater. Cody Konschak is the Managing Director of Client Success at Meltwater. Learn how to make your PR measurement reports better.

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Announcer
It’s time. Welcome to PR Wars. Coming at you live from Atlanta, Georgia. Now, here is your host, Chris Shigas!

Chris Shigas
Hey, I’m Chris Shigas and you’re listening to PR Wars. The inventor of modern business management, Peter Drucker said, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” Well, I’ll take that one step further. “If you don’t measure it, did it really happen at all?” The good news is there are more tools than ever to help you measure public relations. Names like Cision, Muckrack, Unicepta, Burrelles, Critical Mention… Today on PR Wars, We’ll talk with one of the media intelligence giants. Meltwater has more than 30,000 companies on board. And tracking has come a long way from when we used to use scissors to cut out articles out of the newspaper and measure column inches. Well, Cody Konschak is the Managing Director of Client Success at Meltwater. We’ll talk with Cody today about how to make your measurement reports better. But first, I’d like to introduce the cohost of PR Wars and fellow communications town crier, Brad Grantham.

Brad Grantham
I don’t even know how to respond to that. Town crier? What am I Paul Revere? Regardless, you know, I think you hit it on the head, measurement is something we’re all looking for. It’s like the holy grail, although I don’t know if you’ll get tons of riches and have eternal life after that. But let’s, let’s jump into it.

Chris Shigas
Thank you, Brad. Hey, Cody, thanks for joining PR wars today.

Cody Konschak
Thanks, Chris. Happy to be on.

Chris Shigas
One of the most difficult things to do is to accurately measure the value public relations brings to a company or an organization. Each campaign… I know for your clients is different and different clients have different objectives… but what are some of your favorite measurements? And what does a good measurement report look like?

Cody Konschak
Yeah, I think that’s a great question, Chris. To start off with. As you know, I work for Meltwater. So we deal with quite a few different types of clients in varying verticals, that all have different needs, and are trying to figure out how to navigate what you just talked about. And really, at the end of the day, that’s our goal, at meltwater is helping, both marketing, marketing and communications professionals put value on the efforts that they’re doing on a day to day basis, right? their teams are sending out press releases, they’re scheduling social campaigns, there’s quite a bit that they’re doing putting on press events and events in general. And how do you really put an end value on that, and communicate that back internally to be able to say, hey, look, these are all of the great things that marketing communications has been doing to justify, you know, what we’re spending or what we are doing on a day to day basis. So I think looking at from a metric standpoint, the types of metrics that are my favorites, when it comes to talking with clients, I think, number one, the I think this isn’t going anywhere is traditional media exposure. And what I mean by that is really the the number of placements that an organization is getting based on their outbound efforts. So there are a couple of different ways to look out of it, you of course, you can look at overall mentions, so take a company looking at any any mention of their name, period. But I think there’s a lot more value in taking a look at, okay, these are the press releases that I sent out. These are the social media campaigns, these are the social posts that we’ve scheduled. And then here is all of the content that we actually generated because of those efforts. and applying that back to a report having that highlighted in a report and then being able to see kind of some of your top tier coverage that you’re getting out of that.

Chris Shigas
And lots of times an executive will look at a report and they’ll say they need context. Is this good? Is this bad? I don’t know? I mean, one way to provide context is to do year-over-year or quarter-over-quarter… or benchmarking against competitors. Have you seen a lot of success in providing that context?

Cody Konschak
Yes, so I would say that’s the majority of what our clients do is when it comes to being able to see, okay, is this working? What we do is then do those year over year analysis, we take a look at, okay, what was our coverage as a company during this period in time compared to the previous period in time. And then also taking a look at competitors if that if that’s something that they care about competitor information, and also referencing that back to a previous period in time. The reason why that’s so important is because that’s how you’re going to measure whether we’ve increased and, you know, positive coverage, whether we’ve increased a negative coverage as well, which brings in a whole nother metric here that I really like, which is sentiment analysis. So this is how this is how companies can then take that information and apply it back to maybe some of their own internal data like revenue, you know, if you’re take a b2c company, they can easily apply it back to sales, right? When are busy periods? When are we selling a lot? When are we not selling a lot and overlaying that type of data to be able to say, Okay, this is this is correlating here, we actually have a correlation between what our marketing communication is team teams are doing throughout all of their different outbound efforts, and actual money that we’re bringing in, there has to be No, there has to be a reason for that there has to be a connection.

Brad Grantham
One of the words that can make some people cringe, and siphon agency is the word impressions. Some people are uneasy with those huge numbers. So I recently placed a hidden Forbes, the circulation for Forbes is 98 million, or whatever it is today. However, Forbes puts a web counter on it stories and this one had 1500 views. So that’s a big discrepancy, right? So how do you use impressions in your reporting, without being disingenuous or potentially misleading?

Cody Konschak
Another really, really great question. I think you’re right, I think a lot of companies are whereas, whereas in the past, they focused on the word impression or the metric reach, and their understanding of it is the reach on this is 98 million. That means 98 million people have seen this article we really try to educate our clients on really isn’t an exact science that I would say a lot of marketing communications is not an exact science. reach an RN is based on monthly unique visitors to a publication’s website. Right. So what that means is you have the potential of 98 million people seeing that article. Now. Any any any person is going to look at that and say, okay, most likely, 98 million people have not seen that. That being said, I do want to say that we’ve recognized that successful media placement is different. It’s like a different definition for each client. So is it high circulation? Or is it total views in? Or is it something like completely different? Many, like I said, many of the metrics are estimations. Since Media Access is unique for every organization. That’s really what we try to delve into hot water with our clients. So like PR is not about dominating like the real estate, it’s more about getting your message across effectively. So what we try to do is help our clients quantify the earth, the impact of that earned media using metrics that are more tailored for that particular business. This is why we really tried to get to the heart of more customized metrics, right, a custom combination of impressions, maybe views. This is where we get into things like brand title mentions, or CEO mentions, competitor references and create more of a custom view so that you’re not just relying on the estimations. You can also dive into what’s what’s customized specifically for you and create more value out of that. We mentioned earlier that people have different objectives with measurement.

Chris Shigas
A big part of that is who’s reading the report… and why are you creating the report to begin with, right? An agency might create a report because they want to show their clients that they’re providing ROI for the dollar spent myself as a corporate comms person, if I’m creating a report for a comms team, I really want to track how well did this campaign work? How did that campaign work, but I also have to kind of report up to CEO level executive level with these reports that they need to be simplified. They need to provide an executive with an easy to understand glance, executive summary of what’s going on with comms. Do you have any suggestions for how to take that data and simplify it? Kind of like, if I had a one page dashboard? What kinds of things should a PR executive show to their CEO about what the comms teams doing with the measurement report?

Cody Konschak
Yeah, we’ve seen a huge transition or refocus on consolidating all of that data. I think, in the past, a lot of clients have had these 10, 15, 20 page media reports diving into every single metric that you possibly can, and injure just inundated with information. And any I mean, what we always tell our PR and comms folks that we speak with is that you’re well versed in this information. But any executive, any C level executive is going to be looking at the report going, What does any of this mean? Why am I reading this? How is this relevant to me? How is this relevant to our revenue? How is this relevant to growing our business or moving it forward? So what we have been doing recently, and where we’ve seen the trend move into Are you mentioned it like a one page, like a one, a one page dashboard, we’ve actually been doing, we actually have a professional services team at meltwater who have been really focused on identifying types of clients who care about seeing this high level information and breaking it down into two page reports. And these two pages, like, like you just mentioned, are kept extremely high level high level metrics. So you’ll you’ll most likely see a media exposure chart. So I mentioned this, before, that media exposure is not going anywhere, this is still one of the most important metrics you’re gonna have is what you can see is you can see spikes in coverage. But then you’re also able to highlight what is accounting for that spiking coverage, right? That’s what your executive wants to see what is the actual content that is moving the needle? And then what does that mean for the business? Right, so then, that’s where the custom scoring comes in understanding more about the customized metrics for your company. That’s where we dive into the actual efforts that the team has been going through. Have you been? You mentioned, the Forbes placement? Have you been trying to get that placement in Forbes? And did you get it? Let’s highlight that.

Chris Shigas
For a lot of executives, they love seeing the competitor analysis, right? They want to know how they’re doing compared to the other, the other guys,

Brad Grantham
They want to kick a little, you know what. They want to make sure they’re still on top. But yeah, but to that, but to that point, a lot of CEOs and executives don’t understand necessarily how PR works. And even to some extent how marketing works, and what their teams are actually doing day to day and what have you. So you bring in social media, and you try to bring a report to them. And they’re like, Okay, this is, this is a foreign language to me, they only many CEOs only understand follower growth. Yet so many social media managers prefer engagement. So is there a correct way to get an accurate picture of your social performance in a way that your CEO would understand?

Cody Konschak
Yes. So social is is still one of those things that it’s looked at, as this big unknown, right? A lot of our clients are still trying to figure out and how to navigate the metrics that they’re getting from social media, and really what’s going to move the needle there, right, we’ve spent so much trying to figure out PR now we’re trying to figure out social media, but I think it’s a little bit of everything. Honestly, I think it’s keeping it high level and being able to see it relate the engagement metrics back to your follower metrics, How have your How have your follower counts increased over time, as you guys have been scheduling posts out of you, as you’ve been working with social media influencers and and scheduling social campaigns and using hashtags to get people’s attention. Ideally, as you’re doing those types of things, you should see that follower account grow. But if you’re seeing that follower account grow, but then you’re also not seeing, like the likes and the replies on your post. Is it resonating back with your audience, too? Or is it a lot of wasted effort?

Chris Shigas
Making a measurement report, your report is only as good as the data that goes into it. So Cody, can you talk about some easy steps that someone can take if they’re not an expert at these Boolean search terms to get the data?

Cody Konschak
Yes, of course, this is really big for both myself and my company. Because what we do is we utilize Boolean search logic, at the heart of what we do is the most basic functionality that we have. And we’ve what we’ve always had is searching utilizing Boolean functionality. For a lot of people out there, they haven’t utilized Boolean or they haven’t learned it, or it’s been a number of years since they’ve done it. So they’re not they’re not experts in it. So I think there are a couple of ways to to approach Boolean logic, I think first and foremost, you need to put together three different lists, I would say two of them, you can put together pretty much right away the third list, you’ll you’ll figure out as you’re building your searches out and looking at the content. The first list are like your hats, like the words, the keywords, the topics, the competitors, anything that you’re wanting to know about. Those are the words that have to show up in the articles.

Chris Shigas
Right. Many people stop there.

Cody Konschak
Exactly. They stopped there and And they build out these searches. And then, you know, we’ve worked with companies that have very, very generic names. And they’re getting, you know, missed missed hit or not missing hits, but they are, they’re getting irrelevant content left and right in their, in their content as well. And then instead of going through that content and taking the extra time to just sort out that that information there, then building the other reports that aren’t exactly accurate, right, which would don’t want. So then comes the next step of identifying. Let’s say you, let’s go with the idea of one of these more broad, broadly named clients, generic names to clients, they’re going to need to come up with like key indicator words of maybe services that they offer technology that they sell into the industry that they are in, and tie that back in a second list to those original words, because that’s where you’re going to find the more relevant content when you’re looking at the company name, and then maybe a list of words that could potentially tie back to that actual relevant hit. And that’s typically how we build the search itself. Now, the third step comes into the the irrelevant content, no matter how perfect, you seem to get your search, there is always going to be, you know, let’s say stock information, financials, you know, content that you really don’t want in an executive Executive Report that you’re sending out.

Chris Shigas
Yeah, when you search for PR wars, you can get wars from Puerto Rico.

Cody Konschak
Yeah, exactly. So how does that help you out with that? Was that helpful for you? You know, right. You have to think that way. And, and I think sometimes, even with a tool, like meltwater, as great as it is, as it is to plug in a word and get thousands of hits, you still have to do your due diligence to build out a quality search to make sure that the content that’s coming in is right for you.

Brad Grantham
We’re going to close out this episode with this question. If you can answer it, you’re going to be a very rich man. What do you think is in the future for measurement? And are there any new metrics that Meltwater is working on right now that may be unveiled in a short time?

Cody Konschak
Yeah, I love this question. I think this is really exciting for for both myself and and the company that I represent meltwater. Because we are so focused on innovation and what comes next. That’s that’s how we’ve been since we started the company. That’s how we were founded. I think, when we were initially founded, a lot of most companies were still clipping articles from, from newspapers and, you know, photocopying them and sending them out to clients, right. For us, I think it’s a great lead into like the future of media measurement. Since we are so focused beyond this traditional news media, and so much so that we’re investing in data science and AI technologies, we’ve acquired over eight companies in the past couple of years. Some that are that have the ability to crawl different types of datasets, we’ve acquired an AI technology so that our system becomes smarter, it recognizes the type of content that you’re actually wanting to see, and then works to pull in more of that type of information. Whether you’re actively searching for that or not, that’s our end goal. And we’re now able to crawl things like social media, we can crawl podcasts, we can crawl forums, reviews, we’re looking for stock prices, survey data, there’s so much that we’re that we are focused on and even so much that we’re 15% of our annual revenue is actually is set aside for research and development. So our priority now is to ensure our clients have that that single source of truth, for aligning all of these metrics, you know, capturing the robust media content from not just within small subset, but also global markets. And standardizing all of those metrics through custom scoring or credibility. We have a lot of people focused on the quality of the hit now thought leadership, as well as like predictive modeling. Right? Everyone wants to know what’s coming next. So we’re looking at things like trending themes, trending analysis, we’re now able to analyze social content down to like the tweet, that’s something came out I worked with the arm if you remember this, but the the plastic straw debacle that kind of started the whole conversation about plastics. Back in 2018, somebody had posted about plastic straws, and there was a lot of content content coming out about how it was causing issues in our oceans. And our client was is a single use plastic maker. And they completely missed that opportunity to address those conversations. They were like, two, two months behind, and there are a very large organization. So now we were able to isolate the exact wheat that started that entire conversation, right that entire movement. Imagine if they would have been able to see that right then and then the slow movement of the that trend, that trend that we see growing up and being able to Identify that sooner. That’s that’s so much better for our clients more from a crisis standpoint, from a revenue standpoint. I mean, there’s a lot of power in that.

Chris Shigas
Great. Thank you so much for joining us on PR wars today, Cody.

Cody Konschak
Thanks, guys. I really appreciate like I said the opportunity to come on here and, and have this conversation you guys.

Chris Shigas
You can tune into a new episode of PR wars every Sunday night at 8pm. On behalf of Brad Grantham and the entire PR wars team, I want to thank Cody Konschak with Meltwater for joining us today and do me a favor when you build your next tracking report. Don’t give your executives pages of metrics. Give them context, create a snapshot that compares your results to your historical numbers or to your competitors. And how did your hard work, move that needle? Now go get ’em!

PR Wars was selected as a Top PR Podcast You Must Follow in 2020 by Feedspot.

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