Raising Reputation Capital with Data

Katrina Dene, Head of Communications

May 17th, 2023

Comms leaders (like you) build their careers based on being trusted advisors. You have your finger on the pulse of chatter about your brand, your competition, what’s happening in your broader industry, and the economic landscape at large. Any business-level conversations are viewed through a micro and macro lens that not a lot of others track as closely as comms. TL;DR, you’re in a unique position to advise and influence.

Your job is raising reputation capital for your brand. But how do you raise reputation capital for yourself that truly influences leadership? It takes time, consistent research, …and data. Access to accurate, reliable, and comprehensive data can back up your gut and guide leaders in a language they’re familiar with.

Here are three steps to raising reputational capital within your organization through data.

1. An accurate understanding of impact helps you set the baseline for leadership

Volume and impressions (or unique monthly visitors, aka UVMs) often provide you with a misguided indication of impact. If you’ve been reporting volume and/or impressions to leadership, switching to readership might be an intimidating change. Yes, it’s more accurate, but will it reveal a lower impact than what you’ve been reporting to-date? Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

We see brands with large volumes of coverage see relatively low readership, and vice versa. Getting a clear view of what is actually driving readership in terms of topics, campaigns, publications, reporters, etc, gives you a baseline for what is truly driving conversations and news.

2. Reporting readership makes you an the expert on influence

In addition to the metrics your leadership team is accustomed to, start sharing readership numbers. Easy ways to do this are:

  • Emails with the top read articles for the week
  • Including top read publications, topics, and reporters in your quarterly reviews
  • Review of most read campaigns across the year or the quarter

Mixing readership with other metrics helps your c-suite get more acquainted with the difference between readership, volume-based metrics like share-of-voice, and impressions or UVMs. When you start calibrating your media strategy based on readership, they won’t be surprised.

3. Building muscle memory around readership gives you credibility in a crisis

With your stakeholders acquainted with readership, backing up your gut only becomes easier. Whether you’re creating a media strategy around a big announcement or deciding whether or not to respond to a crisis, readership data helps you determine where to go and with what.

For example, let’s say a major sports league is faced with several crises around players, policies, or even ownership issues. A team owner flags an issue in their local market that they want the league to respond to. You know it’s not the right move but they are pushing hard for a response. Looking at readership helps you surface that not only is no one reading about the issue, readership increases anytime the league makes a comment. That gives you a clear course of action forward, and clear data to back you up in the conversation.

Becoming a trusted advisor

Leaning on data to backup your gut and guide strategy is essential in raising your personal reputation capital. Access to accurate data helps you make decisions and backup your gut. Rolling out readership metrics gradually across your reporting helps educate leaders and familiarize them with what indicates PR impact. Finally, building a muscle around readership helps provide additional credibility and backup for your gut when advising. Data not only can help you make smarter decisions for your brand, it can also help grow your influence within your organization.

Learn more about readership in the Memo Resource Center.

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