A client just asked me this question and the topic was so thought provoking I thought I'd put it up here and see if we got additional thoughts
1. It provides data for making better strategic decisions
Whether you’re being asked to “put out a press release” or “put together a press tour,” you need to know what’s worked and what hasn’t worked in the past. The trend data in your dashboard will tell you not just what has worked in terms of generating exposure, but also whether the tactic resulted in more or less positive exposure, more or less message communications and the impact the effort had on new user registrations.
2. Think of the dashboard as a continuous improvement tool at your finger tips
A dashboard is essentially a live, searchable continuous quality improvement tool. You can instantly figure out which of your efforts resulted in better performance. By weeding out the tactics that didn’t work, you are ensured of increasing effectiveness.
3. The dashboard tells you whether you’re winning or losing on key battles, and what you need to do and who you need to contact to improve your results
In any PR department, winning or losing the major positioning battles is critical. How you spend your day may depend on whether you’re ahead or behind on a key initiative. Your dashboard can tell you how you’re doing on any given battle on that day, so you’ll know where you need to place your resources. It all provides a long-term trend view of whether over time you’re winning or losing the battles. Further more it helps you figure out why.
4. The dashboard helps you figure out if your resources (budgets as well as time) is being spent effectively
Chances are time is even scarcer than money in most PR departments these days, so where you spend your time becomes a critical decision. By checking your results on a regular basis to determine if your agency is being effective and if your efforts are paying off enables you to allocate resources more effectively.
5. The dashboard helps you figure out what you do has the biggest impact on signups, and retention
By integrating the media results with signups, retention, and other key data you can make decisions based on the expected impact on the business, not just on your media exposure.
6. The dashboard helps you set realistic expectations
Whenever you go into a meeting these days, people expect you to set numeric goals and objectives. The dashboard provides the data from which you can set those benchmarks.
7. It can tell you which messages are resonating, and which are falling on deaf ears and why
Despite the best intentions, there are times when a key message just isn’t getting picked up, either because the media doesn’t care or because your spokespeople aren’t delivering it. The dashboard helps you find out which ones aren’t getting picked up and which ones are – and it can help determine the cause.
8. When a reporter calls, you can look up, instantly, how they’ve been covering you, what they’ve covered, and whether or not they “get” your key messages
Before you answer that call from a reporter, you should know if he’s been hostile or friendly, whether he gets your key messages or not, and what topics he’s been covering. All that information is available at your fingertips in the Dashboard.
9. When you’re trying to decide on a spokesperson, the Dashboard can tell you who is most and least effective
By looking up who is being quoted in your coverage and the extent to which the story he/she is quoted in is positive, negative or neutral and the extent to which the story conveys a key message you can quickly determine who the best spokesperson is for any particular interview
10. You can make better decisions about which publication to pitch for which story
You have an exciting announcement, but don’t know which the best media is to pitch first? Check out the dashboard and figure out which publications are most likely to cover that topic or product category. If it’s not something you’re ever talked about before, do a quick Google news search and then compare the top publications that come up with the data in your dashboard to see which ones are most likely to give you favorable coverage.
11. You can make better decisions about which bloggers to engage in a conversation
Increasingly, bloggers and other social media influencers are a key element of every communications program. By checking your dashboard to see who blogging about which issues is and how favorable they are towards you, you’ll have a better understanding of which bloggers you need to start a conversation with.
12. The dashboard enables you to find influential spokespeople and analysts relevant to the issues
The dashboard will help you not just identify who your most influential analysts are but who are the analysts and experts that are most relevant to your issues, which ones are talking about the issue most often.
13. The dashboard gives you ammo to push back against dumb ideas
Every communications department is asked to take on a wide variety of projects, some are wonderful, and some are dogs, but without data it’s hard to push back against the latter. The dashboard can show you what HASN”T worked in the past, providing proof that not all ideas are good ones.