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  • Tag Archive: Kiva

    1. Customer Spotlight: Kiva’s Powerful Earned Media Strategy

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      As director of customer success for a PRTech company, I work hand in hand with some of today’s most innovative brands to help them overcome today’s PR challenges.

      Since these challenges are not limited to the AirPR community, we’re kicking off a series highlighting how our customers are leveraging the power of data, analytics, and measurement to amplify their PR and communications strategies.

      I started working with Kiva’s Senior Director of Communications, Jason Riggs, almost a year and a half ago. He’s a one-man shop in the sense that he’s responsible for all of Kiva’s earned media efforts; no agency help or PR colleagues to lean on. (Ring a bell, anyone?)

      If you’re unfamiliar with Kiva, it’s a peer-to-peer lending platform that connects lenders with low-income entrepreneurs and students from around the world. These borrowers use the money they receive to grow businesses, attend school, switch to clean energy and more.

      I know what you’re thinking: It’s every PR professional’s fantasy to share the story of a company with such an admirable, contagious mission. What a dream, right?

      In theory, yes. It’s an incredible gig! But Kiva is also a non-profit organization and it has the essence of a scrappy startup in that employees like Jason are responsible for moving the needle without boatloads of team members or a crazy-big budget.

      And for a nonprofit whose goals are tied to having a global social impact, landing press is a key way to share those stories with the world so Kiva can rally new lenders and hence lend more.

      But that’s enough about how cool Kiva is. Let’s talk numbers, and see how Jason used PRTech and data analytics to rev up his PR efforts without cloning himself.

      1. Hip hip hooray for more targeted media outreach.

      Thanks to Jason’s data savviness and PR analytics skills, he was able to drive a 175% increase in Kiva lenders through targeted media outreach. This is the opposite of “spray and pray” media outreach. Instead, highly targeted media outreach means pitching only the reporters whose articles produce desirable actions on your website.

      An example of this is spending more time pitching journalist Joe Smith because you’ve observed that articles he writes for The Bluebird Times consistently drive whitepaper downloads on your brand’s blog. (Yes, you can get this granular with the help of proper PR analytics!)

      2. Manual reporting is the worst, so Jason decided to ditch it.

      Another PR challenge Jason faced was streamlining his reporting practices. He used to do this manually, and it gobbled up his time like tots out of Napoleon’s pocket. He now uses Analyst to compile a monthly report showcasing the success of earned media and integrated marketing campaigns to show exactly how PR and marketing efforts work together.

      This report includes top-performing earned media, which were identified by reporting metrics that were previously unavailable to Kiva such as social engagement, amplification, new lender signups, and website metrics.

      3. Better alignment between media outreach and Kiva’s key business objectives.

      Jason was able to see exactly how earned media contributes to every level of Kiva’s new lender conversion funnel, proving the worth of his work. To do this, filtering functions in your PR analytics tools are key since they let you filter out other channels such as email marketing or social promotions and hone in on which business objectives your media relations efforts affected.

      I know… I know… It’s easier said than done but it’s doable in the modern PR era as long as you let the data lead the way and know what you’re looking for.

      Congratulations to Jason on his impressive PR wins!

      Curious to see how your PR efforts are making an impact? We’re happy to help! Give us a shout at info@airpr.com.

    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!