Now that you’ve read the first post in this series and evaluated the initial steps when setting up a proper PR tracking system, it’s time to pull the trigger.
Continuing the series, we will tackle the best platform for such a tracking document. International reporting involves input from lots of different people from lots of different locations. With all the fancy tools out there, what’s the best way to take action?
Our Recommendation: Use a Shared Spreadsheet
Everyone has struggled with version control at some point. Before cloud-based documents became popular, agencies used to take turns updating offline Excel docs before sending them to the next partner. This was a slow and confusing process.
A single agency could take several days to input their data while the other partners waited. Like a game of “telephone,” the report could be highly distorted by the time it finishes making the rounds. Think of all the missing data, erroneously merged cells and other formatting headaches.
Shared spreadsheets offer some relief for these issues.
First, they allow all partners to make changes to a document simultaneously. Google Sheets, for example, allows editors to see changes others are making to the document in real time, improving transparency and eliminating version control headaches. What’s more, every change by each individual user is recorded in the document’s history, which can be rolled back if things get out of control.
Shared spreadsheets aren’t for everyone, though. If your organization is tracking highly sensitive coverage of a crisis, for example, a cloud-based document might not be for you. Make sure you understand the security options and access controls for your document before you begin. To get the best of both worlds, consider tracking crisis coverage separately in an offline document.
Now that you know where your tracking document will live, it’s time to actually start building it out.
We’ll cover that in the third and final post in this series.