In Pr we are essentially telling the story of our company, our product, our brand, our cause or our activity. When we send a chapter of that story out into the world, we do so because we want to reach the relevant people and make them aware of our story. We may want more than just awareness, but that’s always the first step.   

Let’s take a news release for example. No matter what techniques you use in order to get it out there, you’ll immediately want to know how your story is doing. Is it being picked up enough? Is it reaching the desired outlets? Is it interesting enough to be spread through social?

Media coverage report
So our next step is always tracking.Now this is done in various ways, by different people, but it always comes down to a report. This report is usually used in order to share the outcome with our colleagues, our bosses or our clients. But tracking is not just about the outcome, it’s about managing the process. How often do you use your reports to understand what can be done in order to achieve a better result? I think that the flow of information which is available for us can help us understand what’s working and what’s not, during the process, and allow us to change tactics, add techniques, tweek the message and take action, in order to get better impact.

If you are using a distribution service, like PRNewswire, Businesswire or any of the numerous free distribution services that are out there, you will most probably get a report that includes mainly verbatim pick-ups and the metrics that represent this coverage. Now this saves you the time that is needed to find all your pick-ups and edit them into a report, but does it include all the information you need? Several PR Pros I talked to said that usually these reports don’t give them much of the important information, but it’s the best they’ve got.

If you are not using a distribution service, then you definitely have your work cut out for you, both on the editing side and on the analytics side.  I will raise the discussion regarding analytics in a separate post. I would suggest that we use this post in order to discuss the need for tracking and reporting.

Why do we need a report?, Who is the report meant for?, What should the report include?, Is design important? Are alerts required?, Do we want to be able to edit the report?

Please use this discussion, in order to share your tracking practices and the formats of your reports with everyone, so we can discuss pros and cons of tools and methods. I will be bringing my point of view into the discussion, Please bring yours.