The scenario has not changed. PR pros spend hours researching and analyzing target outlets, building relationships with journalists, developing storylines and crafting perfect pitches. On the flipside, journalists get flooded with mistargeted or untimely pitches and often waste valuable time with unwanted follow up phone calls.

Is there a better solution? I believe so and that solution is grounded in data.

In the last year alone, publishers have zeroed in to get far more sophisticated with how they are tracking and analyzing data on their sites. Whether it’s deeper use of tools such as Chartbeat, Simple Reach or even Google Analytics, publishers are recognizing the core value of applying real-time data and insights to adjust and optimize story headlines, formatting, social engagement and paid promotion on the fly. All of this advanced data is quickly helping publishers identify clear trend lines around editorial sweet spots and best practices for when and how to promote stories.

So, how can all this data help improve the standard process for interaction between agencies and media outlets? It comes down to data access.

The Win-Win for Agencies and Media Outlets?

Imagine if media outlets opened up their data doors in the form of a monthly analytics trend report that could be accessed by subscribers via a secure log-in each month. The report would detail out some of the rich data accessible from Google Analytics and beyond:  

  • Audience (demographics, interests, geography, return visitors, technology)
  • Acquisition (top referral traffic, sources)
  • Behavior (top content)
  • Social Engagement (engagement metrics/channel/stories shared)


For PR pros, the benefits are obvious in terms of key insights to help shape tailored pitches, understand what resonates best with a media outlet / journalist, knowledge around which type of audience the outlet attracts and how impactful social channels are in promoting specific types of content. The end result? Better pitches, better, more tailored stories, more impact and engagement.

For media outlets, this could possibly be thought of as a new revenue stream as they work to develop cash flow beyond advertising. But, this ultimately comes down to an issue of transparency. Are media outlets truly willing to open their doors to data that could be screenshot and passed around? Would this crush an ad rep’s ability to craft sell-sheets that have worked to get advertisers in the door to date? There are stark realities to this type of approach that would probably make most media outlets scream in fear. 

What’s your take? Is this a viable future model for better integration between agencies and media outlets?

photo credit: bluefountainmedia via photopin cc

Author: Scott Meis

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