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  • Tag Archive: measure PR

    1. 3 Keys to the Virtuous PR Cycle

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      When it comes to PRTech, there are two key components to achieving success in this new world order: Technological investment and human capital.

      The problems tend to arise when PR loses sight of the human component and only focuses on the shiny, new tools in the PRTech ecosystem.

      Technological innovation is powerful, but all the tech in the world won’t replace the human brain. PR still needs critical thinking and deductive reasoning to figure out the story in the data technology provides.

      Leveraging PR measurement technology solutions are no exception to this rule. They can be extremely helpful in automating activities that pull you away from relationship building and strategic planning, so why do many in PR shy away from shining the PR measurement spotlight on their efforts?

      The fear of not measuring up is real, but we want to show you how taking 3 steps after planning and execution will spur a continuous cycle of optimized PR guaranteed to make you look like the rock star you are.

      Let us walk you through it:

      1. Measure First: Measurement should inform if you are meeting your goals.

      2. Evaluate Second: Evaluation should signal what tactics to continue to use, which actions to add in, and where you should make strategic cuts.

      3. Empower Always: Empowerment should position you to do everything more effectively.

      So why are evaluation and empowerment such crucial counterparts to PR measurement? Let’s dive in.

      Why Evaluation Is Crucial

      • It enables systematic determination of a PR activity’s merit, worth, and significance
      • It offers an assessment tool to aid in future decision making
      • It provides insight into the degree of achievement or value as it relates to main business objectives
      • It facilitates reflection to assist in the identification of areas in need of change
      • It produces a structured interpretation of what was accomplished as it relates to the original predictions while drawing lessons from completed actions or project

      The result of evaluation? EMPOWERMENT!

      Element of Empowerment (2)

      The complementary elements of evaluation and empowerment, when executed in conjunction with PR measurement, spur a beneficial loop known as the Virtuous PR Cycle.

      Each component of the cycle has a positive effect of the next and plays an integral role in assisting PR pros in continuously executing the most impactful PR.
      Virtuous PR CycleAs you can see, when measurement, evaluation, and empowerment work together, PR becomes a self-perpetuating ecosystem opportunity.

      Finally, PR can stop fearing measurement and embrace it as its greatest source of insight and information.

      Measurement will surface which PR and communications activities are most effective for your brand. Evaluation will reveal what opportunities are being missed and where to gain mindshare. Empowerment will position you to demonstrate how PR efforts translate to business impact and value.

      Welcome to virtuous PR. We’re thrilled you’re here.

    2. The PR Measurement Challenge


      Albert Einstein once said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”

      Imagine trying to invent a light bulb with a match.

      Or cure malaria with a rampant mosquito.

      The “problem” with PR has always been, and will always be, understanding how on earth the investments made in it map to quantifiable business outcomes; and ultimately, how PR efforts affect the customer, who in turn are the ones supporting the business.

      In other words: Measurement.

      Today, companies are largely data-driven, and this requires us to look at solving the PR measurement problem in a different way than we did five or ten years ago. If we attempt to measure PR at the level where it was created, in the messaging and communication tactics themselves, we will fail miserably because we are missing a huge piece of the pie.

      We cannot measure PR success by headline impressions, or story placements, or (God forbid) advertising value equivalencies. These outcomes do not get us any closer to solving the real problem, which is answering the question of “how does this translate to business value, and what is the customer getting out it?” Instead, this current way of thinking pulls us back to the source of the PR activity itself, which isn’t a metric. It’s an output from a specified task.

      PR Measurement Inquiry

      In order to understand the “what shall we measure?” behind PR measurement, we must first begin by asking the most accurate questions which will get us closer to solving the problem.

      The question isn’t:

      What publication will give me the most headline impressions?

      Rather, it is:

      What publication has the highest probability of reaching my target audience and getting them to take some sort of action?


      What publication will tell my story in a compelling way so that customers understand my value proposition?

      Once the appropriate questions have been posed, PR measurement outcomes should be quantified using metrics like:

      #1 – Do customers understand what value we offer through the stories we are telling? >> Are they sharing stories, engaging with content, or commenting on the posts?

      #2 – Are customers (or potential customers) taking actions that signal they are interested in purchasing our product or service? >> Are they visiting our website, downloading materials, signing up for demos, or making an actual purchase?

      #3 – Are people talking about us positively? If not, what are they saying? >> What is the tone of the reactions to our stories and how do we collect important feedback?

      #4 – How do we compare to innovators or incumbents in our space? >> What is our share of voice and power of voice and are we even on the competitive playing field?

      Ultimately, PR is about listening carefully and telling stories in order to reach a particular audience or customer segment. Gone are the days when it was enough to wave around a story in the New York Times and say: “Look, we did it! Our job is done here.”

      Instead, we are now armed with data that can get us closer to solving the problem of “how PR translates to value for the business.”

      Achieving PR measurement resultsPR Measurement Technology

      PR measurement technology solutions (of which there are many) are merely a conduit to solving the problem. You need them in order to automate activities that pull you (the PR professional) away from critical thinking, relationship building, storytelling, and strategic planning. But you also need to ensure that these technologies ask the correct questions to begin with in order to solve your problem.

      If you have massive amounts of data but no real way to apply it, you are basically swimming up shit creek without a paddle. How do you ensure your PR measurement technology is going to empower you, rather than just create more work for you or arm you with big numbers and fancy pictures?

      Ask yourself these questions:

      1. Am I getting access to information that I can’t find otherwise?
      2. Is this information allowing me to understand the impact of my PR efforts in a clear and concise manner?
      3. Does this technology provide me with insights that can help me make better decisions about future PR efforts?
      4. Do I feel empowered by this technology or am I confused and frustrated?

      As we stand squarely at the center of an industry that is being driven – for better or worse – by new technological advancements, we are required to challenge the status quo, learn new modes and methods for our profession, and ultimately change “business as usual.”

      In other words…we cannot solve the PR measurement problem at the same level where it was created: With PR. We must apply other areas of expertise (data science, analytics, etc.) in order to reach a solution.

    3. PR’s Past, Present and Future as told by Sally Falkow

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      When it comes to PR prowess and expertise, there are not many individuals who possess both in droves like Sally Falkow. As president of PRESSfeed and one of the industry’s leading minds on new technology and digital PR, Ms. Falkow brings over 30 years of PR experience to the table.

      Sally Falkow headshotSal (as she often signs her emails) generously offered to sit down with me at her beautiful home in southern California for a candid conversation about the past, present, and future of PR.

      Needless to say, the takeaways were endless.

      Here’s just a sampling of our dialogue, which most definitely included talks about what happens when you eat too much cheese, real time anagrams, and a Rosetta Stone case study guaranteed to blow your mind.

      The entire interview can be heard below. I suggest streaming it as you make dinner this evening or book marking it for an upcoming flight.

      Sally Falkow Notable Quotables

      • You cannot approach PR like throwing spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks. Your whole content strategy should be informed by analytics. Analytics allow you to know what is needed and wanted.
      • PR absolutely must embrace the PESO approach (Paid, Earned Shared Owned). Start with Owned (produce the content). Owned gets Earned (picked up by media). Amplify and push content with Paid, and then it will be Shared (social engagement).
      • Whatever you’re doing in PR, it has to tie back to the business goals. It’s about outcomes, not outputs.
      • PR goals cannot be vague (e.g. raise awareness, get more FB likes). They must be measurable. Identify where you are now, where you want to be, and how you’re going to get there.
      • Not measuring PR is like playing soccer with no goalposts.
      • 80% of firms are starting to spend more on digital skills, but there aren’t enough people with those skills because most students are still being taught very traditional PR.
      • You can’t teach someone to be a brilliant strategist, but you can certainly become a more critical thinker than you are today. People can learn to play chess, which requires critical and strategic thinking.
      • You need to understand the basics of coding, and the basics of the Internet. Otherwise you won’t know what’s coming or what’s possible.
      • All PR people should find one or two sources that they read to stay up to speed with all of the changes.

      You can soak up more of Sally’s infinite wisdom by visiting her fantastic blog.

    4. Porter Gale talks Virgin America, Networks, Marketing, and PR

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      I have often thought, as I stand in line head directly to the Virgin Terminal at SFO: “Life would be perfect if everything felt like Virgin America.”

      This is not a joke. These words have actually crossed my mind.

      I’m not sure if this means I travel too much, not enough (#firstworldfantasies), or simply appreciate the fact that I feel cooler and safer and VIP-er when I fly this airline. Whatever they have managed to do to my brain I know they’ve done to countless others…because this is a regular topic of conversation at elitist startup-tech-entrepreneur-influencer-social-innovation type gatherings.

      In fact, I’ve overheard folks drop this line as they talk about their impending travel plans to God knows where (definitely somewhere cool, where I’m probably not invited, and likely bordering the town of Douchebaggeria or Getoverurselfistan).

      AND I QUOTE:

      “Yeah, I’m just gonna jump on the first Virgin flight tomorrow morning – it’s kinda a last minute trip. Should be pretty dope.”

      Not just a flight. A Virgin flight.

      I know. Scary. But this has happened on multiple occasions.

      Naturally, when I found out that Porter Gale – not only the author of the popular Your Network is Your Net Worth but also the former VP of Marketing for Virgin America – was joining AirPR as an advisor I was elated.

      Forget status. Forget in-flight wifi. Forget those purple lights that make me feel like I’m en route to a Paris nightclub. And forget the uber-model staff.

      What I want to know is…how did this marketing genius manage to make me want the entire world to operate Like a Virgin?

      But I digress…

      How did you “fall” into marketing? 

      As an undergrad at Boston University, I studied business with a concentration in Marketing. After graduating in the late ‘80s, a recession was in full swing. I went on interview after interview after interview. Finally, after many months I landed an internship at an advertising agency, called Martin/Williams, in Minneapolis. Some of my first tasks included stuffing direct mail envelopes and proof reading ad copy for the Marvin Windows account team. It wasn’t a glamorous start, but it was a foot in the door.

      As Vice President of Marketing at Virgin America, what were some of the challenges you experienced with PR?

      During my time at Virgin America, corporate communications and public relations was managed by a top-notch executive named Abby Lunardini. Hands down, she is the best public relations person I’ve worked with. As a result, I would describe the group as uncovering numerous opportunities not challenges. Abby and her team were very skilled at leveraging events, partnerships and relationships with digital influencers to generate buzz. The team was so strong, that one constant challenge was to not over-extend and to keep the team focused on key priorities. (more…)