man reading newspaper

Sharing is caring… why share of voice matters

share of voice analysis is one of the most helpful and insightful tools in a PR’s arsenal.

Ever since we’ve been able to pull media mentions, we’ve been comparing groups of competitors.

It helps us set KPIs, benchmark against and gain insight into what topics are cutting through in the media – it’s not an ego measurement. When it comes to the sharing of voice, we have a whole host of tools that have optimised the process, enabling us to provide even more value to our clients.

A share-of-voice exercise has value both for us as PRs and clients alike.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term share of voice, or how important it can be in your public relations and other marketing campaigns and efforts, then read on.

The issue with the share of voice status quo

Although a traditional media share of voice analysis certainly has value, it can be somewhat linear.

There is a limit to what it tells us. If you rely solely on the numbers it gives you then that might actually have detrimental effects on your strategy.

Because, having the largest share of voice, isn’t always a good thing.

You may be getting the lion’s share or more. But if your media coverage is unfavourable, or your comments and mentions are negative, this is what we refer to as negative sentiment.

So obsessing over a voice percentage figure, when that figure is wholly negative… is not really the best way to calculate share of voice.

So what should you be looking at instead?

Honing in on key topics

Every company should have goals for their future campaigns and topics they want to have authority on in the media.

Without them, your coverage and brand mentions will be scattergun. You might get peaks and troughs of coverage and brand mentions. But this is unlikely to really turn the dial.

Consistency is key.

What is more likely to turn the dial is having a strong share of voice on the topics that really matter to your business.

You should be demonstrating expertise on issues that resonate with your demographic. This is why a brand’s share of voice needs to be viewed through the lens of business-critical topics.

Hitting key media trends

Widening the scope of the assessment, past that of you and your competitor’s media profiles, allows for inspiration.

Look for at the issues that affect your industry at large will spark ideas that can inform your digital marketing strategy.

Riding trends within wider media conversations can drive coverage. You really need to be ensuring that you’re offering something different to what has already been said.

If you’re coming into a crowded debate, it pays to have a fresh take, rather than repeating what’s already been said.

Look out for untapped veins of content and comment too. Is there something that your competitors have missed, or aren’t paying attention to? Then you need to be the one to own that and make sure those conversations happen on your terms.

Understanding the importance of sentiment

Positive, negative, or neutral? The difference can be rather staggering.

You could have the largest share of voice within your competitor set, but if 72% of that coverage is negative in sentiment, that’s something you don’t want.

As PR professionals we’re here to tell you, that all publicity is good publicity, is an outright lie.

Negative coverage is exactly that, negative.

It’s reputation-damaging and bad for your own brand. So don’t be tricked into thinking that the only voice metric you need to think about is the volume of mentions.

Get into the habit of assessing the sentiment of your voice metrics and it will paint a much clearer picture of your overall brand health and industry position.

The bigger picture: how social fits into share of voice

Social media is often where true, unfiltered opinions come out.

When undertaking a share of voice project, and performing a social listening exercise, we aren’t looking at your company’s owned marketing channels and the content you put out

What we are doing, is monitoring interactions and gathering sentiment to ascertain the quality of your share of voice. This is where we will find the true views on your brand.

Typically this would involve looking at the comments sections on your posts, direct mentions, or replies to blog post across the major social media networks.

The media also plays out on social media, so we also need to look at the social reaction to outside of your owned channels. We want to see the conversations happening away from your own ecosystem.

Often social media mentions are where we get the most useful insights because they haven’t had to go through a legal filter to get to publication, like they would in the comments section of an article. With the latter, article comments for online news media are filtered through legal.

But social media is different. Here is where you’ll tend to find more unfiltered views… this is the insight we’re looking for. This kind of share-of-voice analysis is critical to adding colour and context to the quantitative metrics of share-of-voice data.

The impact on search and website traffic

A Google search is the first thing anyone does when trying to find out more about your business. Online visibility is key.

How your media presence is affecting your rankings in Google Search is critical to understanding the effect your media coverage is having on your overall reputation and share of voice.

A high-ranking presence on SERP is fundamentally good for your website traffic, more eyes on your site means more chance for conversions.

A favourable well-written article ranking on the first page of Google results for a branded search is huge. People rarely get past the first few listings, let alone the first page.

But, as helpful as a positive article high up in the search can be. A negative article, high up in the search engine results pages can be hugely detrimental. Because having the largest share of voice doesn’t equal having the best media profile.

Brands going through crises may have the largest share of voice in their sector. But in cases like this, how much good is that really doing them?

In situations like this, businesses need to have a full-blown crisis preparedness plan in place if they want to weather that storm. If you’d like to read more about brands that have weathered a crisis , you can read one of our blog posts on this here

Undergoing an accurate share of voice assessment

Ultimately, when undertaking any share of voice exercise we’re looking to determine not just market share but the quality of that share of voice.

There is no one exact share of voice formula that will work for every client, so we look to adapt and use a combination of different assessments for each client. By following a formula that is linear, you risk stagnation.

We want to provide a competitive analysis, so we need to tailor it depending on our client’s needs. Once we have gained the relevant insight into each client, we can then use this to inform strategy.

Firstly, looking to use our competitor research to properly benchmark and set realistic KPIs for media coverage. Then looking to set long-term strategic goals based on the topics and trends we have uncovered, and not just looking to increase the overall percentage share, with no clear goal attached.

Aside from the media, we can look to calculate the share of voice on a variety of other metrics. For example, looking at paid advertising and PPC share, or looking solely at owned social media channels, looking at the social media share of voice in terms of mentions, amongst other more specialist assessments, if relevant to the client.

This level of insight sets our clients free. Free from chasing that number one spot. Through the nuance, we can set specific, helpful objectives and gain the knowledge we need to achieve them.

An AMBITIOUS approach

We’ve enhanced how we measure share of voice to deliver clearer, deeper, and more varied insights for our clients. We know that there’s more to calculating the share of voice and understanding your brand position than just numbers on a page.

Instead of just focusing on a singular percentage point, we aim to answer all of the questions we’ve laid out above. Using expert share of voice tools to conduct our research.

This gives a more holistic picture of a brand’s share of voice and allows us to create targeted media strategies.

By doing this, we paint the whole picture.

Digging into trends, we can be more reactive to pressing issues and by exploring sentiment analysis we can assess and seek to predict reputational threats. This goes beyond just generically trying to calculate the share of mentions of any kind.

By looking at the type of news outlets and publications our clients are featured in, we can yet gain deeper insight into which to target in the future.

By linking media coverage to social media and Google SERPs, we can also inform digital PR strategy.

We leverage a range of different tools to measure share of voice, including looking at brand mentions, trawling news websites, social listening tools to trawl social media platforms and specific social media accounts, conducting an organic search to determine search engine results page (SERP) configuration, and assessing other competitive metrics.

By taking this approach, we can of course calculate the share of voice in a holistic, qualitative and quantitative manner. Because, any social listening tool is only as insightful or actionable as the individuals using it.

If you’d like help better understanding your share of voice, or work with us on a fresh share of voice project for your business, then get in touch.