Written by Sophia Lopez.

Get Smart 2016Get Smart 2016

Cutting Through the Noise: Digital strategies for engaging audiences and measuring success

Google Analytics, SEO, page clicks, views. There are now so many tools for measuring the reach of your message, it can get a little loud when looking for the best option for you and your audience. Stephanie Elsea and Whitney Presley of the SouthWest Affiliate of the American Heart Association, are excited to share the latest trends and newest offerings to engage with your digital audience. With a constant finger to the pulse of analytics, these Austin communicators will help you determine whether your message is really getting in front of the right audience. We spoke with Stephanie and Whitney to learn a little bit more about their upcoming breakout session happening this Friday, Oct. 14th at Get Smart.


WCA: Why are analytics so important to marketing and PR?

WP: As the main form of effectiveness measurement, analytics should be the backbone and support for any future and current campaigns. Gone are the days of throwing up a billboard or waiting for weeks to see if a story or ad is going to work.  Today’s immediate analytics and feedback ensure that we can make our ad dollars work harder for us—a needed tool to combat the multi-channel issue we all face. By referencing analytics, you can immediately judge what is working and what isn’t and act quickly to change and adapt.

SE: There’s a saying that you have to know where you are to know where you’re going. Analytics provide the means for understanding your baseline and from there you can track if you’re moving closer to or further away from your goal.

WCA: With ever-changing algorithms and methods of measurement, how can marketers and PR pros stay up-to-date on measuring success?

WP: You have to pick one strategy and use it year over year. Bright shiny object syndrome with measurement methods actually means data loss, as one method is not comparable to another. If you do decide to switch methods, I would make sure you can find a way to utilize your previous year’s data.

SE: I would just add that you have to be engaged to stay on top of these things – and you don’t have to be an expert. Read trade publications, find an industry blogger or two to follow and definitely attend events like WCA’s Get Smart. It is so worth the investment for your company or client, as well as for your own professional and career goals.

WCA: What is the biggest mistake professionals or companies make with their digital strategies?

SE: Believing failure is fatal. It’s important to give yourself and your team permission to fail or you’ll never take a creative risk. So the strategy was a bust — what did you learn from it? Take that and use it to do it better the next time. It’s only truly a failure if you didn’t learn anything.

WP: Try to do everything. Multi-tasking doesn’t work with digital strategies and makes you less effective in the long run. Picking one platform and strategy and doing that really well will always pay off for you in loyalty and customer service. If you spread yourself thin, your audience will notice and will respond in kind, giving you less and less of their time.

WCA: Can you give attendees a sneak peek of what to expect in your session at Get Smart?

SE: We plan to share a brief presentation about our work at the American Heart Association and then open it up to questions from the attendees. Rather than filling our time with the things we *think* people want to hear, we’ll let them tell us. Because we’re all figuring out social media on the fly — since new platforms, options and algorithms seem to launch daily — we can crowdsource from the audience. Whitney and I have our opinions and we are looking forward to learning as much from Get Smart as we are able to contribute.

Have some questions of your own that you’d like to discuss with Stephanie and Whitney? Register today to reserve your seat to their breakout session: “Cutting Through the Noise: Digital strategies for engaging audiences and measuring success.”