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  • Tag Archive: Experian

    1. Romancing the C-Suite: How to Communicate Results That Resonate

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      Do you remember the first time you reported PR results to a C-suite executive? With sweaty palms, a beating heart, and just enough adrenaline to make you trip over your words, it’s really not that different than being in love, huh?

      Sure, CEOs are far less likely to be wooed than a Tinder date, but there are certain steps you can take to put the odds in your favor when communicating PR results, why they’re important, and how you’ll evolve your strategy based on those findings.

      Follow these three steps next time it’s on you to communicate value to decision makers, and you just may find yourself in a very sweet place.

      1. Begin by evaluating how much your executive knows about content.

      A comic wouldn’t try out new material before taking the temperature of the room, so why would you report PR results to your CEO or C-suite executive without knowing how much they know about content in general?  

      Think about it in the context of where the industry is today. Today’s PR plans are not PR plans at all, they are robust PESO strategies made up of Paid, Earned, Shared, and Owned media. If your CEO used to be a CMO, they’ll likely have quite a bit of knowledge in this area, but not everyone is so lucky and you may need to take this as an opportunity to (respectfully) educate. Use examples to reframe the state of PR today for them, and make sure they know what you’re considering when you evaluate a piece of content or PR initiative.

      Tell them that all PR is content, and content is made up of:

      Channels

      • Earned (publications like The New York Times)
      • Newswires (press releases)
      • Owned (company blogs)

      Formats

      • Text (long or short form)
      • Video (amateur or professional)
      • Visuals (photos, infographics, etc.)

      Measurement

      • Analytics
      • Insights
      • Benchmarking

      Here’s a go-to visual you can use when you need to explain how it all works, to C-suite execs or other cross-divisional partners:

      content world

      2. Only report on what matters.

      In our information-rich, digitally-driven environment, we need to continually evaluate and decide what matters most. Think about which pieces of media or content help you properly convey your key messages, reach your desired audience, generate top-of-funnel business leads, and map straight back to your business goals. Those are the pieces to share.

      A few tips for reporting:

      Top-line and bottom-line it.

      • The best of the month was X, and what this means is Y.

      Use numbers to tell the story.

      • This resulted in X% changes month over month, and X% increases…  

      Speak to business wins.

      • This is what X activity did for business goal Y.

      Share what’s next.

      • With X data, we are going to focus on Y.

      What that looks like in real life:

      • Our CNN article drove roughly 4,000 potential customers and nearly 14% of them took some sort of action on bacon.com.
      • Compare that with digital advertising, in which .02% to 2% of ads ever drive someone toward action on bacon.com. Molto impressivo!
      • We increased our earned media coverage by nearly 17% this month, which means more exposure for the brand. What a win!

      Lastly…

      3. When reporting, always use the 70% Noise Reduction Rule.

      In other words, dramatically reduce whatever you’re planning on sharing with your C-level executive. Communicators can be verbose, and we sometimes layer in too much irrelevant information.

      Look at everything you thought you needed to say and instead share only 30% of what you were originally going to communicate. Think about how much more of an impact you’ll make when you’ve whittled a 10-slide deck down to 3 slides of impactful data that can help the business immediately.

      But don’t take my word for it though. Gerry Tschopp, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs at Experian said it well, “I want to know enough about PR ‘wins’ so I can speak to business leaders in key data points or success stories that drive business and reputation. And then communicate every month, how we perform against objectives that support our business strategies.”

      In closing, to truly romance your C-suite executives, (metaphorically) text them less.

    2. Reporting on the state of the PR industry

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      Nearly five years ago to date, when I was still in my twenties and San Francisco rent didn’t eat up half of one’s salary (imagine that!), I set out to solve a problem that many said would be “nearly impossible to do.” As any entrepreneur would, I thought: “PERFECT! I’m in.”

      I managed to convince two extremely brilliant computer science engineers and one idealistic PR domain expert to join me for the early stage ride…and ride we did.

      After the sale of our first product line, Marketplace, in early 2015 and with our focus now squarely on helping our customers showcase PR value through our Analyst product (Analytics, Insights, and Measurement), we’ve seen marked growth in both company size and revenue.

      We currently serve customers ranging from Qualcomm and McGraw-Hill Education to Experian and Kiva. We hit our success milestones early and are certainly proud of the product we’ve built, the talent we’ve attracted to join us, and the customers with whom we work every day to solve problems.

      AirPR Analyst PR reporting sampleAfter five years and as we launch our Reporting product this week (which increases PR productivity exponentially) I do see a light at the end of the tunnel. But we’ve got a ways to go as an industry.

      We still struggle to find standardization and consensus about both the PR role and how to communicate and showcase value to decision-makers. And unfortunately, some PR pros are STILL doing 2 things that should send them to PR Hell – which I imagine would consist of being forced to smile & dial 17 hours a day, repeating the same pitch over and over with no response:

      • Sending mass (note: not personalized) emails to journalists with only a press release and no context. What’s worse, these pitches are often offbeat and wholly irrelevant.
      • And perhaps more importantly: Reporting PR’s value by using Advertising Value Equivalency (AVEs), which has not only been banned by the Barcelona Principles committee but also VASTLY (and I mean VASTLY, we have data people) undervalues PR.

      While it is certainly an uphill battle of sorts, here’s what I know as fact based on over a half billion news articles we’ve tracked and analyzed over the last five years:

      1. Earned media coverage (whether it’s the New York Times, Marketing Land, or a guest post on the Google Analytics blog), is anywhere from 2 to 5 times more effective at getting potential customers to engage with your brand than traditional/digital advertising. The point? Having someone else make people aware of you is extremely important and generates curiosity and credibility.

      2. Owned media (i.e. building your brand through your own channel) is often just as effective for top of the funnel lead generation as earned media or advertising. The caveat: DON’T talk about yourself too much if at all. Instead think “educate, entertain, and engage.

      3. Competitive intelligence is mandatory to understand what your organization is doing well and what it isn’t. Companies don’t exist in a vacuum and neither do your PR activities. Benchmarking against yourself? That’s only mildly useful. Benchmarking against your competitors gives you far more insight into how you fit into the big picture.

      4. Press releases are useful for companies that have reached brand ubiquity in a specific category, or whom are required to make public statements of record for either investors or shareholders. Newswires are a commoditized channel for reporting news. They shouldn’t be used in attempt to build a story or a narrative, but rather to report facts.

      5. If specific, trackable metrics and KPIs (blog sign-ups, demo requests, etc.) don’t exist for PR, then you are simply doing a brand building and mindshare exercise. Which is completely fine and these things are important. But it’s going to be very hard to quantify in a meaningful way, thus making it nearly impossible to “make a case” for PR to a data-driven decision-maker (think CEO, CMO). Moral of the story? It’s important to categorically understand whether something will have a “qualitative” or “quantitative” metric.

      6. All publishers are not created equal, and it’s impossible to know which outlet will get you the most “ROI” without some historical data or without asking the right question in terms of what you are trying to “measure” and who are you trying to reach. Which again makes the point for gathering data sooner than later. The point: Don’t ask “which publication will get us the most reach or impressions?” But rather “which publication will get the most people to engage with our brand in a meaningful way?” Then A/B/C test the hell out of your hypothesis.

      7. Social media amplification is not always a proxy for a successful PR campaign. It is simply a signal and one particular part of the equation. While social media share counts (except of course, ahhhem, Twitter) are useful for understanding whether your HEADLINE is interesting (did someone say clickbait?), it only tells part of the engagement story.

      If you’re a PR pro who already gets all this, then you are AMAZING and you should ask for a raise! But if you read this, scratch your head and go “Whaaaa?” it’s time for a PR reboot.

      For PR/Comms pros, CMOs, and content producers everywhere…this industry isn’t getting any easier to navigate. If our data tells us anything, it’s that unless you prioritize the auto-aggregation and reporting of your PR efforts you will waste valuable human capital and budget.

      And when you DO finally decide to do the analysis, what you will surely find is that at least 75% to 80% of it has been a complete wash. All that is to say…you’re better off jumping on the bandwagon now.

      In the meantime…we will continue to run towards the light, along with anyone who is willing to join us!

    3. #DataTalk: Harnessing Big Data to Propel PR

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      Does anyone else feel like everywhere they turn there is some reference to Big Data? While that statement may be steeped in a bit of hyperbole, there is some truth to it. Big Data really is impacting every industry and what’s better, it’s rocking the PR world in a ridiculously awesome way.

      PR pros have grappled with the challenges of finding meaningful data and if they’re lucky enough to pull some stats, it’s often a beast to draw compelling, actionable conclusions from those numbers.

      But the times, they are a changin’ (thank god!).

      When our data guru friends at Experian tapped us for a candid conversation about how PR can use Big Data as a force for good, we jumped.

      Rather than a formal sit-down, we spiced it up with a live Q&A via Twitter. It was mighty informative and provided many digestible and applicable insights into how PR pros can use Big Data in their day-to-day.

      Below are just 3 questions we explored about Big Data’s impact on PR, but be sure to check ‘em all out in the Storify slideshow below.

      1. What does Big Data have to do with PR?

      • Big Data has allowed a primarily qualitative industry to lay a quantitative foundation where you can actually see PR’s impact on the bottom line
      • Big Data provides a full picture by looking at multiple metrics (earned vs. owned) instead of just one (number of placements)
      • Big Data is changing the way PR pros operate by automating manual work

      2. What types of Big Data can be leveraged to help PR pros?

      • Depending on a campaign objectives, website data can be incredibly powerful. Are potential customers  taking actions that signal interest in your product or service? Are they visiting your website, downloading materials, or signing up for demos?
      • Sentiment data will reveal if people are talking about you positively. If they’re not, what are they saying? What is the tone of the reactions to your stories and how do you collect important feedback?
      • Don’t forget about competitive intelligence! How do you compare to innovators or incumbents in your space? What is your share of voice and power of voice and are you on the competitive playing field?

      3. How can Big Data collection and analysis help me with my day job?

      • Big Data can help identify the most important PR factors that correlate with your company’s success and help you prioritize, optimize and plan next steps
      • Big Data can unveil correlations between seemingly unrelated factors. This info coupled with a PR pro’s expertise = new ideas/new strategies
      • Big Data allows PR to A/B test key messages to understand which ones are resonating in order to focus on what’s delivering

      The best part about Big Data is that it enables PR pros to make more informed decisions and provides visibility to the outcomes of your work (not just your outputs) and that is one earth shattering revelation.

      As a heads up, the biggest challenge PR pros face will be culling through the massive amounts of available data and extracting the most important insights relevant to you. Be clear on your objectives so you can remain focused and start gathering data now because the more data you have, the more you can learn from it.

      Got another way Big Data is pushing PR to the limits? Be sure to comment and share your thoughts below!