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    1. 5 Tenets of PRTech + 2015 PRTech Awards Recap

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      Last week in New York, #TeamAirPR hosted the 2015 PRTech Awards to honor the leading minds in PR, Marketing, Technology and Media. Needless to say, the brainpower gathered in one room was staggering. (You can peruse a few snaps of the mind meld here.)

      Everyone in attendance was there to acknowledge that our industry is at a great point of convergence and the future has never looked brighter for PR. The individuals honored were nominated because their innovative work is propelling the PRTech ecosystem forward at an unprecedented pace.

      2015-PRTech-AwardsBesides having an excuse to throw a great party (isn’t that what PR pros do all day anyway?), this was also our opportunity to show gratitude to the folks who are bringing greater visibility to all the opportunities that exist in the PRTech space.

      This is not just about the work AirPR is doing. It’s about recognizing that the work we do wouldn’t be nearly as impactful without all the other amazing companies who surround and complement us. As our sage Chief Strategy Officer astutely quoted (the African proverb), “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

      And we want to go far…really, really far. Which means we are committed to going together.

      In order to ensure everyone is properly equipped to tap into its power, we’ve recapped the 5 main tenets of PRTech below. These are are meant to reinforce the importance of this conversation and cement your adherence to this movement.

      Let’s do this.

      5 Main Tenets of PRTech

      1. Technological Innovation

      Technological innovation is ushering in some of the most exciting shifts the PR industry has seen and we should embrace this paradigm shift that helps us all be more strategic in our communication efforts. Instead of fearing or being overwhelmed by tech, we need to commit to researching new platforms and learning new skills that help us communicate better and measure PR smarter.

      The PRTech ecosystem is quickly becoming STACKED with amazing tools to help PR pros do their job better, so dive in. Every tool in the ever-growing ecosystem is waiting to take PR to the next level.

      2. Access To Data

      PRTech is raising the industry’s “accountability bar” by demanding that PR professionals use data to drive and optimize their efforts. The best part? By tapping the tools and services that stem from technological innovation, PR has more data at its fingertips than ever before.

      Though the volume of data can overwhelming at first, it’s when data becomes the foundation of PR’s decision making process that everyone sits up and takes notice. Data-driven decision making is the key to establishing PR as a significant piece of the digital marketing puzzle and a key driver of business.

      3. Data Literacy

      The ability to read, create, and communicate data as information (aka data literacy) is another key pillar of PRTech. It’s not just about accumulating data, it’s also finding and communicating meaning in the numbers. Luckily, there are number of resources in the PRTech ecosystem expressly devoted to helping PR pros tell stories using data.

      What good is data if you can’t communicate the findings in a compelling and sharable manner? With more tools and resources available than ever, PRTech is rife with opportunities for PR pros to apply quantitative insights to their qualitative work. The future of PR depends on storytellers who can also look at data and infer possible outcomes.

      4. Metrics That Matters

      PRTech shifts the paradigm of the PR silo from “cost center” to “profit center” as the industry begins to have solid metrics to prove the true impact of PR beyond mere brand awareness. PRTech is providing companies and publishers insights into what is working in terms of content and messages. Access to data is allowing PR pros to capture user behavior, engagement, web traffic, and specific interactions across various digital properties.

      Furthermore, PRTech is uncovering what really matters versus the numbers that make the ego feel good but don’t actually provide any true insight. In other words: let’s work smarter not harder.

      5. Relationships

      There is tremendous opportunity in the PRTech ecosystem, but the one thing we can never lose sight of is that relationships are, and always will be, at the heart of PR. Data can provide feedback on what works, but at the end of the day it’s always about people and how they think and feel.

      Jennifer Hirsch, founder of Marked Point, put it best, “PR is a human discipline. Even if you never see your customers, you are having a very real impact on people making decisions. Use your intuition and emotional intelligence to walk in their shoes and then connect to them in real human ways.”

      Data is empowering the industry to tell better stories, prove our value, and reach further. Measurement is providing robust audience insights that are invaluable to content production and social engagement. PR is moving fast and gaining ground and now is the time to harness the power to technological innovation to propel PR into the driver’s seat.

      Buckle up. It’s going to be a hell of a ride.

    2. Marketing + PR = Happy Customers

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      As part of her contribution to the PR Council’s PR Genome Education Series, our brilliant Chief Strategy Officer (Rebekah Iliff) recently engaged a panel of communication heavy weights to discuss how Marketing and PR should work together to reach customers.

      Needless to say the conversation was illuminating.

      Not only did Rebekah cull together some of the smartest minds across the PR and Marketing landscape, the entire panel took a hard look at how converging disciplines should work together so that both customers AND businesses benefit.

      You can stream the entire exchange below, but just in case this week has you mired in madness, here’s a sample of some of the wisdom that was spouting off right and left:

      PRCouncil Panel - Marketing + PR

      On understanding the evolving role of the CMO (Sheryl Pattek, VP, Principal Analyst serving CMO Professionals, Forrester)

      • CMOs know more about customers than any other C-Suite member and are uniquely positioned to bring the voice of the customer to the table to influence business strategy.
      • Today’s CMO is being tasked with understanding and bringing together the data from all the customer touch points.
      • Don’t Miss: Sheryl’s opinion on the one thing Marketing and PR can do to stay aligned (36:50)

      On the role of PR and how its relationship to Marketing has changed (Emily Dunlop, Senior Vice President, PPR)

      • The perceived line between Marketing and PR shouldn’t exist because their goal is the same: Reach the customer.
      • The only difference stems from what channels Marketing and PR use to achieve that goal.
      • Don’t Miss: Emily’s thoughts on the challenges and rewards of aligning PR and Marketing via her experiences with Dell (38:01)

      On the core characteristics that every marketer must have (Adam Weinroth, Chief Marketing Officer, OneSpot)

      • Part of communicating is listening and the core characteristic any marketer must have is empathy for who you’re trying to reach and who you’re trying to affect.
      • Be sure to think through every experience, all the different touch points, and in what order potential customers will be exposed to touch points.
      • Don’t Miss: When Rebekah puts Adam on the spot about drawing a hard line to define Marketing and PR + his brilliant response (41:30)

      On how to operate like a newsroom, but think like a marketer (Marissa Aydlett, Chief Marketing Officer, Appboy)

      • Marketing and PR strategies have to be rooted in what customers want and oriented around data, content, and human decision-making.
      • Businesses also need to see what’s happening in the moment, and be nimble enough to react so that the content they serve is aligned to what people want.
      • Don’t Miss: The 3 things Marissa believes any person in every organization should be focused on regardless of job function (43:59)

      On what do PR pros need to know about contributed content (Andrea Huspeni, Articles Editor, Entrepreneur)

      • Contributed content is great for thought leadership and expert positioning, but it needs to be genuine and authentic.
      • Don’t say something just for the sake of saying something, provide learning opportunities and a unique point of view.
      • Don’t Miss: Which tactics and strategies Andrea says are key to executing an impactful contributed content strategy that focuses on relationship building (32:19)

    3. Rick Liebling On The Power of 3: PR + Social + Tech

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      It’s been said that three is a magic number and when you stop to think about it, some of the best things in life really do come in 3’s.

      Three-piece suits…three little pigs…three sheets to the wind…ok, maybe not that last one, but you get my drift.

      In an effort to channel the power of three, we’re taking you on video exploration of the convergence of PR, social media, and technology.

      To lead our triumvirate travels, we enlisted Unmetric’s Head of Global Marketing, Rick Liebling. A veteran marketer with more than 15 years of agency experience, Rick currently heads Unmetric’s marketing initiatives across the brand, product, and content communication strategies.

      The long-time former PR practitioner turned global marketer is rocking at the center of social, PR, and tech, which make him uniquely qualified to speak on the shifts driving the landscape.

      Rick operates under the firm belief that the vast amounts of PR and social media data available can be used to not only optimize all current efforts, but should also inform future decision-making across marketing. HEAR HEAR!

      We sat down for a candid (and enlightening) conversation with Rick where he graciously shared his thoughts around how social analytics, PR measurement, and innovative technology can work together to demonstrate bottom line business impact.

      Here are just a few of the tasty tidbits Rick offered up. All the videos are under 3 minutes and chock full insightful takeaways from one of the best in the biz.


      On integrating social media into the greater PR/comms strategy:

      Rick Tip #1: Bring social media into the conversation early and involve them in the entire process from creative brief to ideation.


    4. 6 Marketing and Sales Tactics to Avoid Like the Plague

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      When you’re a busy entrepreneur, there’s nothing worse than having your time wasted. A lot of frustration can occur as a result of others’ carelessness and disregard for your busy schedule and crowded inbox.

      Many sales and marketing professionals continually miss the mark when it comes to outreach practices. From sub-par sales pitches to irrelevant follow up emails, these misfires can result in radio silence, bad word of mouth, or even worse, lost revenue.

      So how can you be sure you’re not wasting a potential customer’s valuable time (or worse: pissing them off!) while still accomplishing your sales or marketing agenda?

      First and foremost, take a good hard look at every communication you send through a “utility lens”. Is what you’re sending actually helpful or is it just adding to the noise?

      Next, think about everything you’ve encountered that secretly made you seethe inside…then do the opposite. You’ll be amazed what you uncover when you turn a critical eye to your own experiences.

      Since we’re big believers of putting our money where our mouth is, we decided to cull together 6 sales and marketing tactics we’ve recently endured. Real talk: we’ve experienced EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE at some point in the last 60 days.

      If you’re the one calling the shots in terms of sales and marketing content, or you are squarely positioned in front of the customer, do yourself a favor and avoid these at all costs…

      1. Distracting pop ups during demos

      I think it’s awesome your team does Happy Hour on Wednesday at 4pm, but please keep calendar reminders, text messages, or other distracting notifications from popping up during a screen share demo. It’s unprofessional and let’s be real, I’m more apt to be nosy about your social life than pay attention to your product. Don’t let digital distractions steal the show.


    5. Beyond the SEO rigmarole, welcome to NEO™

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      This week, in completely un-AirPR fashion, we are going to talk about ourselves ad nauseam. Well, not really about ourselves but about something we are pioneering (which may even be more self-involved and gross) called NEO™.

      News Engine Optimization.

      I am weary of this practice of self promotion, as it often leads to your audience “voting with their feet” – as my dear friend Stephanie Losee points out in this Mashable article about brand journalism best practices.

      But I’m forced here to harken back to my utilitarian roots, which hold that what we’ve stumbled upon, at least conceptually, is important for the PR masses. It’s for the greater good if you will.

      At its core, the fundamentals of NEO are based on PR’s favorite new pastime: SEO. I say this only half-jokingly because SEO is clearly an important component of the digital landscape; but it also has the potential to be the bane of a writer, marketer, or content producer’s existence.

      I bring you a very on point quote from Adam Weinroth, CMO of OneSpot.

      Shameless disclaimer: We share a mutual investor, and he’s probably one of my favorite CMOs, so I have a hard time being objective because I pretty much think he’s always spot on:

      “SEO has long been an effective tool in allowing marketers to optimize content by analyzing data and getting insights on their audiences but can often fall flat in actually determining which messages are the stickiest.”

      Why thank you, Adam. What a perfect segue and subsequent set up for NEO™.

      If you have 18.4 minutes, I’d love for you to take a look at the white paper we released this week and tell us what you think.

      How important is the ability to track key messages?

      How does it help in terms of optimizing future PR efforts?

      And ultimately…is NEO™ the greatest good for the greatest number?

    6. Killer content: 6 newsletters not to be missed

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      Admit it. You receive at least one email a day that gets you all giddy. Maybe you’re inspired by quirky copywriting or maybe those tips on how to metamorphose social content into conversions gave you something cool to share at your last marketing meeting. Don’t be shy —we all gain inspiration from somewhere.

      Here, I invite you into my personal closet full of content crushes. Sign up for their newsletters, read their blogs like juicy tabloids (often and fanatically), and reap the rewards of being informed by some of best in the business.

      Without further ado, I bring you 6 newsletters content marketers should sign up for right now:

      1. For cream-of-the-crop copywriters: Copyblogger.

      This blog is all about how to streamline your content creation, measure success, and storytell in a way that’s both authentic and branded. From how to spice up bland text to “The 5 Things Every (Great) Marketing Story Needs,” Copyblogger shares the ins and outs of words that work. The best part? The content is stripped dry of overused jargon. It’s straight-forward, quality content about well…content!


    7. PR + Technology = PRTech…Are you in?


      Public Relations + Technology = a tricky relationship that typically incites two reactions:

      1. Irritation by PR professionals who will argue – to the death – that public relations can’t be automated. They are partially right. They are partially wrong. No one is arguing that robots will ever be able to build relationships, handhold pissy clients, or write compelling pitches. Ok?

      2. Confusion from companies and brands implementing public relations as to what we can automate and what we can’t; where the data is useful and where it isn’t…and a whole lot of other points I won’t go into.

      Truth be told, PR stands at an interesting, if not extremely pivotal, inflection point.

      As defensible as the argument “PR is the last to know and the first to blame” is, we have to let it go and get with the “programmatic approach” if we’re ever going to be taken seriously.

      Over the past couple of weeks, AirPR has been at the center of a conversation [I believe] every PR professional, communications strategist, VP of Marketing, and CMO should get into. From the New York Times, to Direct Marketing News, to Entrepreneur – every editor and publisher I have spoken to is adamant about the significant role PR plays in the shifting marketing landscape.

      The future of the industry will not tolerate off-beat pitches, poorly written content, fragmented narrative, or outcomes that don’t align with business objectives. And business objectives aren’t just about money; they are about brand awareness, customer loyalty, and amplification too.

      If you want to be at the forefront of the conversation (who doesn’t?), take a peek at the articles below.

      Our hope is that we can circulate and amplify the importance of PRTech…so that PR will no longer be relegated to accepting the “leftovers” from Advertising budgets.

      #1 – VentureBeat article penned by our (#humblebrag) smarty pants lead investor Bryan Stolle, from Mohr Davidow Ventures.

      #2 – Mashable write up that hit yesterday which had the Twittersphere all abuzz.

      Do you buy it?

      But more importantly…are you in?

    8. Airing PR’s Dirty (Data) Laundry

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      Let’s be honest. In an era when even the most challenged of industries are employing data-driven decision making, there’s no reason PR shouldn’t be able to catch up. As media mongers, we’ve long relied on vanity metrics to prove our work’s worth. From AVE (advertising value equivalency) to print circulation, these dirty-data metrics are often muddied with inaccuracies, and they fail to strategically inform our work.

      Dirty Data is:

      • Incomplete
      • Misleading
      • Non-integrated

      Think about the falsities of “print circulation” as a metric. Does the number of newspapers sitting in an untouched stack by the doorway of a coffee shop really equate to the type of exposure you’re looking for? Does that number help you decide what story to pitch next? Or, are you simply assuming the success of past campaigns? If the latter, you’re definitely playing with the little devil we call dirty data.

      Reporting the success of a news story you’ve pitched using dirty-data metrics (aka “vanity metrics”) may show why you deserve your job, but it doesn’t tell you how to do your job better.

      Before you blast off into a dark mood because you’ve just realized you’ve been working with faulty numbers this whole time, know that you’re not alone. It’s a problem within the industry and there’s already a solution out there — it just hasn’t been embraced widely yet. Why not be one of the first? I’m talking about improving your data literacy and applying clean data to your PR strategy.

      Clean Data is:

      • Devoid of inaccuracies
      • Interpreted in a uniform way
      • The basis of a strategy that works

      Here, I examine three companies — that have nothing to do with PR — to demonstrate how data-driven decision making help achieve better business performance. Think of it as “data inspiration.”

      How could PR can benefit from similar business tactics?

      squareData Beast #1: Square

      Did you ever hear the story about the little, Seattle-based ice cream shop that got mobile and tablet payment provider Square to revert to an earlier version of software? The NPR article “Technology May Turn You Into A Bigger Tipper” outlines the stellar story of community-driven data and service.

      In the merchant-preferred version of the Square software, customers were presented with a screen that suggested optional tip amounts before they could get to the signature page to complete their transactions. In the new software version, the tipping option appeared on the same page as the signature box. There wasn’t as much of an incentive to give a few bucks for a job well done, and tipping declined (in a huge way) instantly. Square’s solution? Revert to the preferred software version immediately and avoid the wrath of unhappy merchants (and potentially “bad PR”).

      What the PR Industry can learn from Square:

      • Community feedback is invaluable data.
      • The ability to pivot on a dime should be a best practice for any business.


    9. 4-Part Guide for Interview Preparation in a Pinch

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      You’ve reviewed the 7 Signs You’re Ready for PR and landed an interview with star business reporter after chatting them up at a networking event. Giggles dispersed, you now come to terms with the part that makes you panic: They want to interview you tomorrow!

      You choose to

      1. Feign illness (complete with faux coughing) while making the call to cancel.

      2. Politely ask if the reporter would mind rescheduling (Until you’ve had enough time to build key messaging, prepare talking points, and buy the perfect interview outfit)

      3. Accept with enthusiasm, kick it into overdrive, and nail down some strategic talking points stat. You’ll dedicate some extra time to building messaging after the interview so you’re more prepared the next time you hook one.

      If you chose A or B, shame on you! When opportunity knocks, it’s in your best interest to answer the door. It’s fine to agree upon a different date and time than the one a reporter first proposes, but this should be due to scheduling conflicts, not your want for a generous amount of prep time.

      If you chose C, great job! You have enough time to pull together talking points, and transform into the star spokesperson we know you can be.

      The following 4-part guide is packed with ideas and tips for interview preparation when your time is limited. You’ll just need a trusted colleague who understands your messaging objectives and business goals and a few free hours to hash out a plan. Reserve a conference room and have at it!