PR Notes- Tracking Media Email Open Rates

I was recently reading an article in a national PRSA newspaper regarding email guidelines to create content relationships with target media.  In addition to the usual 101 type recommendations, there was one tactic that caught my attention as a Sr media relations specialist with a long time record to build top tier editorial relationships to secure placements.  Using an email campaign service to track  click  through analytics to determine how much time editors read our email pitches, whether or not they forward to a colleague and which if any embedded links are visited.  Obviously these tools have been available for quite some time to track customer and prospect open rates, but its the first time I had read about the practice for media pitches.   The campaign service can also track which days media are more likely to open your email.  Lastly , you can test times of day, subject lines and if photos or videos improve response.

Based on the fact that in my own mind (Ego) I consider myself an expert with a long time proprietary media and analyst list spanning top tier consumer, business, technology, lifestyle and broadcast, my immediate reaction was something akin to, “Why would I need to track open rates based on my expertise? 🙂 ”  After the ego-stroking expired, I decided to look for the forest through the trees.  It occurred to me that maybe this wasn’t a bad idea after all.

The media environment continues to be a game of overloaded editors, shrinking space to cover multiple beats and sub par PR people launching daily barrages of pitches via email, phone, fax and even snail mail.  Even my own contacts are struggling to keep up with their primary beat duties let alone those companies “off the radar.”

Experimenting with an email campaign service even for successful media relations professionals makes sense.  For me, it also comes down to budget and resources.  I view the potential exercise as a professional development endeavor.  These options for expanding our knowledge base are often difficult to “sell” to our bosses in these days of tight budgets.  However, I will take the next steps to research some services to help determine just how successful my email pitches have been “playing in Peoria.”