As public relations slowly transitions away from its original, traditional form and evolves into a digital, data-driven form, our PR department relies on several digital PR tools to help support our outreach strategies. Traditional PR firms are missing a huge opportunity by not diving deeper into their media relations placements and capitalizing on digital data that further supports their media relations efforts. As a data-propelled digital agency, we’ve outlined the top online PR tools for 2017.
Here are a few of the online PR tools we use:
Moz is an SEO tool that our SEO and PR departments use daily. Every time we are vetting an outlet, or determining whether an outlet fits our “white-hat” link policy, one of the first tools we use is Moz. Moz is a digital tool used for measuring, monitoring and evaluating the onsite and offsite aspects of a website’s authority and credibility. To determine the “strength” of a website, Moz digs deeper into a site’s backlink profile and compares the data it collects to other sites backlink profiles. Confused yet? Let’s take a step back.
A backlink profile is a fancy way of calling the list of the other sites currently linking to your site. Therefore, backlinks are external links coming from other sites. Google ranks each website by its relevance and authority, and a website’s position on Google’s search engine results page (SERP) is largely dependent on its backlink profile. There are several aspects Google evaluates within a backlink profile; a few of the key metrics are:
- Total number of links
- Number of unique domains
- Page performance
- Link quality
Essentially, the more authoritative the sites that are linking to your domain are, the higher your site’s authority will be. Moz provides us with insight into how authoritative a site is compared to others and how likely it is to rank on a search engine. Among Moz’s most important link metrics are Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA), which reflect a given domain or page’s ability to rank in search results.
Domain Authority vs. Page Authority
Moz determines Domain Authority and Page Authority of a website by scoring it on a 100-point, logarithmic scale, zero being the lowest score and 100 being the highest score, and most authoritative. Moz developed this scale to predict how well a website’s domain or page will rank on search engines by comparing it to other websites.
The difference between a Domain Authority and a Page Authority is that Domain Authority measures the predictive ranking strength of entire domains and Page Authority measures the strength of an individual page within the website. Page Authority is typically ranked lower than a website’s Domain Authority, simply because there are typically more external links linking to a website’s home page rather than a specific page within a website.
Our public relations department strives to gain coverage on the outlets that are ranking on the first page of search engines. Moz allows us to dig deeper and analyze the authority of a website before we pursue the outlet to gain coverage. Since Moz periodically updates their metrics, these results reflect an accurate depiction of the site’s ability to be ranked on search engines.
After analyzing a link’s Domain and Page Authorities with the Moz Toolbar, the next SEO tool we use to dive even deeper into link analysis is Majestic. Majestic is a link intelligence database that let’s our department explore a domain’s backlink profile in greater detail. Among Majestic’s link intelligence metrics, Trust Flow, Citation Flow and Referral Domains are the three our public relations department looks at the closest.
Trust Flow, Citation Flow & Referral Domains
Trust Flow is a metric that scales how trustworthy a page is based on the quality of its backlink profile. Majestic ranks not only the authority of the domains linking to your site (DA and PA), but also the diversity of the referring domains linking to your site. In other words, instead of only single category domains linking to your site, there are also niche domains linking to your site.
Citation Flow is a metric predicting how influential a website is based on the quantity of links within a backlink profile. Majestic ranks the number of sites that are linking to your site by checking the referral domains. It provides us with insight into which category domains are linking to your site and how many times each domain is linking to your site. To avoid “black hat” link building, Google penalizes sites that have thousands of links coming from a single referring domain.
Being able to perform a thorough backlink analysis is a fundamental element to any digital PR strategy.As a best practice, we use Majestic to perform a backlink analysis on the outlets we are seeking coverage from to develop a link building strategy. That way, we are only gaining coverage on outlets that will boost a domain’s rankings on search engines and overall domain authority rather than jeopardize the domain’s chances of being penalized or hurting its overall domain authority.
Cision is media relations tool we use on a weekly basis to build highly-targeted media lists. Prior to writing an effective media pitch and building a media contact list, we outline which outlets we want to target and which audience demographic we aim to reach. This allows us to specify our pitch angle and build a relevant media list to optimize our outreach efforts.
Within Cision, we are able to search specific audiences based on outlet types, locations and keywords previously mentioned within the outlet. From top tier outlets to bloggers, this tool allows us to engage with audiences that are specific to each of our clients and pull their contact information.
Any PR pro knows how frustrating and time consuming it can be to find an editor’s contact information. Not only does Cision help optimize our outreach efforts, but it also allows us to focus our time conducting outreach rather than finding a writer’s contact information. Typically when pulling a media list, we categorize our list into seven sections: outlet name, category topic, primary location, contact title, contact first and last name, email, and outlet URL. So, once we are ready to conduct outreach, we have all the information we need to reach out.
Competitor Link Analysis
Cision also allows us to supplement a competitor link analysis by pulling a competitor’s backlink profile. Not only does a competitor link analysis give us insight into your competitor’s link building strategies, but it allows us to capitalize on our client competitor’s “wins” or secured coverage. Cision pulls a list of outlets that your competitor was featured on, allowing us to see which outlets have covered relevant topics so we can reach out to those editors for future coverage opportunities. What makes a client happier than getting a leg up on their competitors?
Once we have secured coverage, whether it is on an online publication or social media network, we store all of our client coverage on Coverage Book. This media relations tool creates unique coverage books for each client, allowing us to clip online coverage without taking a manual screen shot, although you still have that option. All you have to do is copy and paste the URL of the placement into Coverage Book, and it uploads the digital placement into the book and pulls statistical information along with it from Moz and Similar-Web’s APIs.
If you are uploading an article from a media outlet, it automatically pulls the title of the placement, the date it went live, the site’s overall Domain Authority, the Unique Monthly Visitor count, and the estimated number of coverage views. If you are uploading a social media placement, it automatically pulls the engagement within the post, such as likes and comments.
Once everything is uploaded, you’re able to share the Coverage Book with the client by giving them a specific URL for them to view, without giving them access to edit the book. Not only does this make it easy for us to store coverage, it stores all each piece of coverage we secure and clearly outlines each placement’s metrics.
Similar-Web is a PR monitoring tool that gathers volumes of behavioral data to turn it into actionable knowledge about the visitors within a company website. Not to mention it is a free tool! Simply by copying and pasting the website URL into Similar-Web, it pulls the traffic and engagement metrics of the media outlet.
This tool allows you to benchmark engagement statistics and learn more about the outlet’s target audience. To name a few, Similar-Web outlines the total number of Unique Monthly Visitors (UVM) on the media outlet, the average length of site duration per visit, the bounce rate percentage and the locations that generate the most traffic.
It also outlines traffic sources, whether it may be direct search or through social media, as well as top referring sites. If you’re trying to learn more about a media outlet’s target audience, I recommend that you try this free tool now!
Google Analytics is a tool that allows us to analyze client data from all touch points for a deeper understanding of user sessions within a company website. A PR agency that doesn’t necessarily have an SEO team in place—is able to expand their reporting capabilities telling a much more holistic story about the target audiences they are reaching. However, for us, this platform is arguably one of the most powerful tools to understand how our digital outreach efforts are supporting our SEO marketing initiatives to achieve client goals.
Google Analytics pulls data regarding which websites are generating the most referral traffic to the client’s site. This metric provides insight into which PR placements or social media platforms are driving traffic from earned coverage. Analyzing this metric will help you refine your marketing strategy month over month, until you get the results you want.
New Visitors vs. Returning Visitors
Depending on your PR strategy, it’s important to analyze whether you are reaching an existing audience or reaching a new audience. Google Analytics compares the percentage of new visitors verses returning visitors to help you understand how your content is performing and which target audience you are reaching.
There are positive aspects to both. If you are primarily reaching returning visitors, it could mean that the content is resonating with your readers and encouraging them to revisit the company’s site. On the other hand, new visitors imply that you are expanding your reach and identifying with other target audiences.
Whether you are a PR specialist, strategist or even an intern, strategies are constantly changing within the PR industry and it’s important to stay ahead of the digital trends with the latest marketing tools. Even if your PR strategy doesn’t typically involve digital tools or data-driven metrics, in order to become a PR pro, you need to understand how online tools can take your marketing efforts one step further!
Moz: Domain Authority vs. Page Authority
- Both Domain Authority and Page Authority are given a score on a 0-100-point, logarithmic scale
- Moz ranks the authority of each based primarily on its backlink profile
- Both are periodically updated to reflect any changes in the search engines’ ranking algorithms, growth of the top domains and recalibration as well and increase accuracy
- The higher the score, the more authoritative the domain or page is
- Domain Authority: evaluates the external links to the website’s domain
- Page Authority: evaluates the external links to a specific page within the website
- Page Authority is typically ranked lower than a website’s Domain Authority, simply because there are typically more external links linking to a website’s home page rather than a specific page within a website.
Majestic: Trust Flow vs. Citation Flow
- Trust Flow: measures how trustworthy a page is based on the quality of its backlink profile, or in other words how authoritative and diverse the external links to your site are.
- Citation Flow: measures how influential a website is based on the quantity of links within a backlink profile
- Helps pull highly targeted media lists
- Competitor Link Analysis: pull a competitor’s backlink profile to obtain insight into your competitor’s link building strategies and capitalize on client competitor’s secured coverage
- Coverage Book creates a custom book for each client that stores secured coverage, whether it is on an online publication or social media network, and pulls metrics for the client to clearly see
- Similar-Web outlines the total number of Unique Monthly Visitors (UVM) on the outlet, the average site duration per visit, the bounce rate percentage and the locations that generate the most traffic
- Referral Traffic: insight into which social media platforms are driving the most traffic to a client’s site
- New visitors vs. Returning visitors
Check out our other resources on PR on our blog here!