If you think about it from an extremely fundamental standpoint, words are likely considered the cornerstone of PR.

How one positions them against each other, strings them together, decides how to use or not use them: all are important aspects of PR. What’s more, as cultures evolve, languages evolve too…so knowing which words to use in specific circumstances and across certain “mediums” is also part of the job.

iStock_000026872564SmallSo today, and mostly for fun (who needs a boring, droning blog post anyway?), I bring you: Word play by the numbers.

#1 – Did you know, according to many many many sources, Oxford Dictionary has released their Word of the Year. Beating out “Bae” (slang for one’s beloved, or short for “baby”) and “Normcore” (unisex clothing), the word Vape” took this year’s crown.

Last year’s winning word was “Selfie.”

I suppose if you’re looking at the OD’s WOTY as a proxy for cultural trends, we’ve gone from self-obsessed to addiction curbing. I’d take the latter any day, as this is a vast improvement. Not great, but better.

#2 – Speaking of self-obsessed, Dictionary.com’s WOTY was released fresh on the heels of the “Vape” bomb. They chose “Exposure.” Ironically, the online dictionary seems to be a year behind the trend as the word “Exposure” would seem to align more with “Selfie.”

Or perhaps I’m thinking too critically about the whole ridiculous thing.



Ahhhh conference season. My favorite time of year.

Suitcase? Check.

Emergen-c? Check.

Extra phone charger. Check.

Priority boarding access? Notsomuch. But hey, we’re on a budget.

From New York to San Francisco – and any city in between with a conference center that holds approximately 5,000 people and sets its base temperature to 61.4 degrees – lanyards and media rooms and shoddy wifi unite to serve up new products, industry trends, and cocktail hours to those in the know.

Or at least to those trying to get there.

As a regular conference goer, typically under the auspices of media-speaker-moderator (sometimes I even pretend I’m part of the catering team just to change it up), I always like to brush up on my skillzzz prior to embarking on these journeys then reflect back on what I could have done better.

PR experts panelThis year was more of a “moderator” year, so I became personally fixated with how to up my game. In light of that, I surveyed a few super smart folks who are moderating pros, and came up with a listicle of things you can pass along to your unsuspecting clients (be gentle) or can implement yourself if that tickles your fancy.


Porter Gale says…

#1 – Over prepare. Know everything you can about your subject and the topic. Make sure you have some fun facts that demonstrate the depth of your knowledge (e.g. past career moves, personal stories, quotes from PPTs or articles they’ve written).

#2 – Don’t interrupt your subject but know how to thoughtfully move to a new subject if needed.



There are PR folks who get it; then there are PR folks who get it. Shonali Burke falls into the latter category.

As the CEO of a PR business, Shonali is:

#1 – A self-professed measurement + social media geek and constantly champions PR measurement (no wonder we love her).

#1 – An educator dropping knowledge on future public relations pros at Johns Hopkins University.

#2 – A PR conversationalist extraordinaire: as such she hosts the monthly Twitter   chat (on which I will be the featured guest tomorrow from 12-1pm ET #shamelessplug).

After running into Shonali at nearly every PR Measurement related event in 2014, I figured it was high time to transfer the knowledge from her brain onto digital paper and share accordingly.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy a peek into the wonderfully informed mind of Shonali Burke.

Photo by Cade Martin Photography

Rebekah Iliff: You’ve talked for years about “smart measurement” that is outcome focused. Give us a peek into the Burke brain: What’s an example of a recent objective you and your team identified and how did you work backwards from that goal to identify the associated KPI?

Shonali Burke: We recently wrapped a project with a client in the education space; they were launching a new online offering. Registrations were the ultimate goal, and they were using campaign tracking in Google Analytics very well. What we did was to ensure the creation of tracking links to the relevant page, so that we could attribute visits and conversions from our efforts – our strategy had a mix of earned, owned and paid media – as accurately as possible.

Based on traffic and conversion trends, we could see what worked (social and paid) and what didn’t so much (focusing on location too narrowly as opposed to niche and interest). That allowed us to pivot our strategy midway through the campaign and put more muscle behind what *was* working as opposed to what wasn’t… and ultimately reach the goal.

RI: Love the integrated approach. It is so important for PR peeps (and clients for that matter) to think beyond earned media. Given your propensity for metrics, what’s the one thing every PR pro needs to know about PR measurement as 2014 rolls to a close?

SB: There is no silver bullet.

RI: True dat. With that in mind, PR pros need to think carefully about how they measure and quantify their efforts. What are 2 of your favorite tools that assist you in providing your clients with smart measurement?

SB: I actually have three: Microsoft Excel (or Google Spreadsheets), Google Analytics… and the one thing we all have and should use – a brain.

RI: Ahhhh, yes. The almighty brain. Since you are constantly talking about PR measurement and metrics, what’s one thing you keep hearing yourself say over and over again that you wish the industry would just “get”?



When a writer for Fast Company agrees to write a “first dibs” article for your company blog, it is all at once flattering (OMG! She’s gonna do that for lil’ ol’ us??), but also – ah hem – kind of scary.

Because…what if…everyone likes her better?

Inflated egos notwithstanding (and in true entrepreneurial fashion) this week we are thrilled to take the risk of Wendy Marx eclipsing us so that you…yes YOU…can gain interesting insights from one of the PR industry’s finest.

Read. Enjoy. Tweet. Discuss. Comment. Re-post. We promise not to be offended or to take it personally if this goes viral:

Getting First Dibs on the Future of PR and Media

By Wendy Marx

Want a peak into the future of PR and media?

Expect to see in the coming years a more ballsy, diverse PR profession that is less obsessed with scoring a big hit in old-time media than capitalizing on niche and non-traditional media. And expect to see a reimagining of media storytelling tools and tactics coupled with a new PR-journalist alliance.

At least those were the prognostications of some seers of PR and journalism at a PRSA Tri State District event titled “PRX: The Future of Media.”

One fact is patently clear: PR and its first cousin, journalism, are in a whirlwind of evolution of redefining themselves.

What’s ahead and how do you succeed? These PR and media crystal ball gazers articulated a roadmap of the future. Here are ways they recommended to get your own toehold on the future:

Shed the veneer of sameness

Decrying the commoditization of PR practitioners who are spit out of the PR factory in the same mold, Fred Cook, President and CEO of global PR agency Golin, urged the mostly female audience to dare to fail and keep more balls (or ideas) on the table. “Failure is the best way to success in your career,” said Cook, who regaled the audience with his failures as a doorman, chauffer, tennis player, and school teacher as chronicled in his book, Improvise: Unconventional Career Advise from an Unlikely CEO.



FUN FACT ALERT: Did you know over 80% of consumers today now consult online reviews before making a purchase? This may seem #captainobvious to you in today’s smartphone-saturated world, but there is more than meets the eye beyond the number of Yelp stars on a business page.

In Everyone’s a Critic, Bill Tancer (New York Times Best Selling author of Click, who also happens to be one of our trusted AirPR Advisors) takes the first in-depth look into the world of online reviews and how sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and many others are changing the way we interact and make buying decisions. As Mr.Tancer aptly states: “Today everything is reviewable”.

Now if that isn’t some serious pre-Halloween fright, I don’t know what is.

everyones a criticDo you remember when online reviews first hit the scene? It was a terrifying, heart-wrenching, reality check for many. To a certain extent, fear of a bad review is what drove professionals to pay attention to peoples’ online feedback, but what was uncovered proved to be so much more.

Once the initial shock factor wore off, businesses large and small recognized that reviews actually provided a wealth of useful (and untapped) customer information. The feedback loop was driven by transparency and thus unearthed incredible insights businesses could use to drive customer preference and choice.

So, what has this got to do with PR?

Candidly: A whole-heckava-lot.