Analytics & proof PR works

As we've continued digging deep into last year's analytics for the blog, more interesting results have popped up. Most notably, our single most-viewed post from 2010 was our annual "10 Best New Products" list.

There are several reasons this type of post is popular (people like lists, lots of links, etc.), but looking at the traffic sources one of the major factors was the press release we sent out promoting it.

This is exciting, and useful, for two reasons. First, it demonstrates how powerful internet-based press releases can be at traffic generation. Even a small amount of PR can create a notable bump. Of course, without plans in place to keep those new readers, it just becomes an isolated data spike.

Secondly, it demonstrates the importance of reviewing your analytics. We've used analytics for this blog and our e-newsletter to evaluate the effect of distribution day and time, subject lines, topics, and use of photos on open and click-through rates. As a result, traffic has increased substantially over the past year.

I'm not sharing this to brag about our success (but thank you to all our readers for being a part of that!), but rather as a simple case study. Much of marketing and publicity is difficult to track to eventual sales - the article you write today might generate a lead five years from now - which creates a perception that it's low ROI. This example not only demonstrates the value of publicity, but also the value of using analytics to study and track your campaigns.