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    1. 4 Signs Your PR Measurement Practices Could Be Better

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      PR measurement

      By now you’ve likely begun to implement some updated PR measurement practices to more accurately prove the value of your work. I’m talking data that dives far deeper than impressions and press hits.

      Hopefully, you are doing your due diligence in analyzing and interpreting PR data that can help you continually refine your communications strategy and realign your tactics. But how do you know if your measurement practices are truly where they should be?

      Here are four signs you may have some room to grow in the “modern PR measurement” department, along with tips for forging forward.

      1. You can’t recall explaining the relevance of your go-to PR metrics to coworkers beyond your immediate team.

      Part of implementing more effective PR measurement practices is educating fellow teams within your organization so they understand what success looks like (in your world). If you report PR wins and data to a greater marketing group, but never take the time to explain your measurement system, it makes it nearly impossible for anyone to benefit from what you’re sharing.

      When explaining how modern PR measurement works to those who are unfamiliar, follow the advice of Ketchum SVP KayAnn Schoeneman and consider the various stages of PR measurement: 1. Output (media relationships developed, placements gained, awareness garnered, perceptions changed), 2. Outcomes (social amplification, website traffic driven, actions taken), and 3. Impact (overall as it pertains to various goals).

      When your colleagues have a clear window into how you think about your work and decide what justifies a success, they’ll be able to draw more of their own insights.

      2. You have a hard time proving the value of your work.

      As AirPR’s Chief Strategy Officer Rebekah Iliff has noted, “If you cannot translate PR to business value, it’s very difficult to prove success and be a leader.” Many marketers measure results against the KPIs they and their colleagues are used to — such as impressions — and not necessarily against the metrics that truly show successful performance.

      Make sure the entire team understands how various PR and marketing metrics relate to each other, the customer journey, and your company’s business objectives. For example, does your marketing team realize that PR is a driver of high-quality, top-of-funnel leads?

      3. You don’t feel comfortable articulating PR’s value.

      Here’s an important reminder from Jennefer Witter, CEO of NYC-based PR firm The Boreland Group: “You must always be able to defend what you’re doing, and explain why it’s a benefit.”

      When you present results, think about how you can best demonstrate a solid understanding of “new-world PR metrics” so there’s a focus on lessons learned and how you’ll evolve your strategy moving forward rather than an explanation of the work at hand. Proper articulation of PR’s value is all about providing meaningful context, and practice makes perfect.

      4. You’re not sure how to replicate success.

      Julia Monti, VP of Global Communications at Mastercard reminds us: “Data is not just about measuring success. Also use data to inform strategy.” Change the perspective on measurement from “reporting results” to “a guide for next steps.”

      After proving or disproving your predictions of what’s driving the results you’re seeking, use those performance indicators to inform your strategies and tactics. Once you are measuring the right data, review the results on an ongoing basis and use that review as a guide for evolving your efforts. That will make the difference between simply doing what’s asked of you and what actually works.

    2. 5 Quick Tips and Tools for Today’s PR Professional

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      public relations tips

      One of the most exciting things about the current state of the PR industry is the vast amount of tools and solutions that are now available to us.

      Here are a few class-act tools and clever tips that will give you a noticeable edge in your communications role. From handy email add-ons for media relations to mining data for more targeted and effective pitches, this list is an easy albeit effective win.

      1. Use Boomerang to schedule emails and Respondable to nail tone.

      Boomerang is a long-loved Gmail plugin that helps PR and communications professionals manage their inboxes. “In PR, timing is everything,” says Aye Moah, co-founder and chief of product for Boomerang. “This tool helps PR professionals get the right timing in all their email communications.” Moah suggests using Boomerang to schedule emails so they hit journalists’ inboxes first thing in the morning or just after lunch in order to increase the odds that your message is read.

      Also created by Boomerang, Respondable helps communications professionals nail the right tone in their emails. For example, it can help ensure that your email to a journalist is positive without being overly sugary. Likewise, if you’re emailing a reporter who misinterpreted a quote, Respondable can help to ensure you’re not coming across too negatively.

      2. Create video pitches with ViewedIt.

      For those times when it’s way easier to show a reporter how something works as opposed to explaining it via lengthy text, use ViewedIt to create an easy-to-share video of you walking them through a series of actions on your computer screen. The tool allows you to track who watches it, so you’re never in the dark about if your video was received or viewed.

      3. Track emails with Bananatag.

      Whether you’re a member of an internal communications team and must measure how many employees read your new PTO policy or want to see if a reporter opened your pitch email, Bananatag lets you track up to five emails a day for free.

      4. Create data-driven pitches with Qualtrics.

      The best stories are based on data, and Qualtrics provides you with current, accurate data to incorporate into pitches, bylines, infographics, speeches, and more. I recently discovered it, and it has quickly become a PR tool I recommend to all my data-savvy PR pals.

      With Qualtrics, you can easily gather data and insights on almost any topic under the sun in a matter of hours to create more compelling, timely stories for the readers you want to reach.

      Fun fact: Qualtrics’ own Head of PR uses the technology to pitch everything from holiday shopping trends to what keeps Fortune 100 CEOs awake at night. The result? Hundreds of data-driven media placements.

      5. Pitch or produce a podcast with tools like Audacity.

      Edison Research’s Infinite Dial 2016 report found that podcast listening is showing a sharp increase from years prior. This raises two thoughts for today’s PR pros: 1) Should I be pitching podcasters, and 2) Should the brand I represent be producing their own?

      I spoke with Richard Davies, veteran radio news anchor, podcaster, and owner of his own podcast production firm to get his take on the topic. He suggests keeping pitch length to a paragraph or less and including a link to a sound clip of the person you’re hoping the podcaster will interview to show what they’re like on air.

      If you’re considering producing your own podcast, Davies recommends starting out with an Audio Technica microphone setup which you can find on Amazon for under $80. Use digital audio recording and editing software Audacity for free to experiment with creating your own content.

      Investing a small amount of time in learning to use these budget-friendly tools will make you love your job and look pretty darn smart to team members looking to streamline their efforts too. For more great tools, skim through the PRTech ecosystem at PRTech.co.


      A version of this post appeared in Inc. Magazine.

    3. 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!

    4. 15 Digital Skills PR Pros Must Master

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      Sally Falkow, president of PRESSfeed and founder of Meritus Mediais no stranger to the AirPR blog.

      In fact, she’s a downright digital regular!

      From her brilliant trends reports to our mutually shared love of integrating data into content, Sal is one of those PR pros who quite simply “gets” it. So it should come as no surprise that when one of Sally’s latest offerings (a concise and spot on round up of must-have PR skills) crossed my path, I jumped at a chance to share it with all of you.

      If you think we tee’d you up for success in 2016, Sally is going to ensure you knock it out of the park.

      And now, on to the wisdom o’ Falkow…

      Cision recently launched a campaign around the hashtag #PitchPRomise that has stirred up conversation in the PR community – both pro and con. The premise of the Pitch PRomise is there is a perception that, in general, PR pros don’t take enough care with the distribution of press releases and pitches.

      It’s dangerous to generalize and slap a label on any group of people and this is probably why we’ve seen an indignant backlash from PR folk who protest that they’re being accused of bad practices that they don’t do.  However, just as a brand has an image, so too does the PR industry. Image and perception are closely tied together. Corporate image is a core function of PR, so we should understand how an image gets formed and why the actions of some might impact the group as a whole.

      25 years ago when I first started teaching PR at the university level the number one complaint from editors and reporters was that PR practitioners sent them irrelevant press releases and pitches. Many PR pros at that time were using the “spray and pray”method of distribution. They’d send the release or pitch to as many reporters as possible and hope for a result.

      I taught my students to build relationships with the media – it’s called Media Relations after all. I made it very clear that the best results came from getting to know the reporters and only sending them material that fit their beat and the topics they covered.

      I still talk to reporters, editors and bloggers on a regular basis, but for a different reason now. For the last five years I’ve produced the annual t and, sad to say, the number one complaint about PR from the media is still the same: we don’t do our homework and we send irrelevant press releases and pitches about topics that they don’t cover.

      If this has not changed in 25 years I submit that we do indeed have an image problem. I don’t think Cision is stepping out of bounds here. They’re reacting to a legitimate issue. (Note:  I don’t work for or with Cision or use their products)

      And yes, I do know that this is not what every PR practitioner does. But it must be happening with enough volume and consistency for the media to be holding this up as the number one #fail of the PR industry for a quarter of a century.

      And now that PR and journalism are becoming more and more digital, the ground is shifting beneath our feet. There are news skills we need to learn when dealing with the media. What journalists need is changing. Their job is not what it was 5 years ago.

      This complaint from the media is only going to get worse if we don’t learn:

      • How to do media analysis online
      • Spot the gaps in media coverage we can fill
      • Figure out what the media really needs and wants today
      • Produce stories that are timely and relevant
      • Pitch them correctly
      • Offer rich media assets and content in a way they can actually use

      There are 15 Digital Skills every PR pros should master in 2016. Media Analysis and Media Relations Online are just two of them. Visual Content and Visual Literacy also impact your media relations results.  Metrics and analytics are essential to tracking results.

      Want to be sure you are set up for success this year? Get the poster and see all 15 skills you need.

      15DigitalSkills

    5. How A Press Release Is Like A Selfie

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      Today’s most successful PR campaigns begin with communications teams who have adopted the mentality of thinking like a journalist. Before even considering sending a pitch over to their favorite reporter, they’ve already strapped on their newsroom-caps and have evaluated whether or not Pitch A is a story with depth, nuance, and appeal.

      Would an editor accept a story that outlines the benefits of the running sock your athletic brand just released? If they write for Runner’s World maybe, but think about it. What’s more likely to get picked up? A pitch about your brand’s new running sock or a story about the best types of running socks (including yours) for different types of weather given that the rainy season is on its way? Exactly.

      Selfie, taking self photo , people with smart phone

      This, my friends, is why writing an old-school press release focused only on you is pretty much like snapping a selfie. It’s a one-way view, a solo dance party, the show Party of Five but without four other people. Here’s why they’re alike, and why you should instead focus on creating stories that puts your brand within the greater context of your industry as a whole.

      1. They are both all about you.

      Taking that selfie on the day you finish your master’s program is one thing. It’s a notable accomplishment that you’ve worked hard for, and your network of friends on Facebook would assumably enjoy the opportunity to congratulate you and hear about what you’ve been up to. The PR equivalent? Getting a new office space or hiring Mark Zuckerberg’s child as your new director of communications. The news alone is likely enough to land you some great press without further fluffing. But let’s be real. Most of the time, companies have to spin everyday offerings into newsworthy pitches. For these instances, writing a press release that’s all about you is counterproductive. Journalists aren’t interested in hearing about you and you alone. They’re looking for well-rounded stories that speak to what’s happening in your industry as a whole.

      2. Too many filters can decrease the quality.  

      What you see is not always what you get. Over-editing, whether with Instagram photo filters or by having too many people edit a release, can decrease authenticity and quality. Selfies can start to resemble early ‘90s CD covers when over-filtered and press releases can come across as fabricated when too many cooks in the kitchen layer in shout-outs about how great your brand is in every other paragraph. Beware of both instances.

      3. Both are open to interpretation.

      Once you put them out there, both selfies and press releases are open to interpretation and you can’t always control what happens next. One funny comment and your duck face could turn into the talk of the town (or at least the talk of your network). Similarly, you can describe your new app as “the next big thing in automated food preservation management” throughout your press release in bolded text but nothing’s going to stop a journalist from calling it “Uber for Ziploc” if they feel so inclined. How the story is spun, whether in regards to your face or your brand, is out of your control. The best thing you can do in the latter instance is to be real and not overdress your messaging.

      4. Commoditization has killed the wow factor.

      Those first few selfies in the history of selfies may have been mind-blowing, but now they’re as common as slices of American cheese. Similarly, thousands of press releases hit the world every day–everyone can create them, they’re easy to push out with a little bit of funds, and it’s a highly saturated space. The best thing you can do to stand out is to turn your press releases into multimedia content packages equipped with high-res’ images reporters can publish, expert quotes from a range of companies (not just your own), and hopefully videos too. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

      5. They may get reposted, but not by who you want.

      The key publications you’re after are not the ones who will repost your press release. Sure, it’s great to see when your release has been picked up or reposted verbatim (it means you’ve written it well and that’s something to be proud of). But, these won’t be the publications you or your company’s CEO will squeal over. With a selfie–well you get the picture.

      The morale of the story? If you’re spending the time on press releases, make them multi-faceted and don’t focus them on yourself. Give insight into your industry’s past and demonstrate what you believe will come in the future. Zoom out, show more than those lovable cheeks of yours, and see what happens next time you share a more real, compelling group shot.

    6. Content Marketing: Building A Web of Influence

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      Can you name the last time you stopped to look at a spider’s web? Chances are, if you hate spiders, it was not recently. But there is much to be learned from these intricately designed feats of art and engineering.

      Every part of the web is connected, making it both complex and powerful. If any part is weakened or disconnected, the overall value and strength of the web is severely compromised.

      I started mulling over this idea after an AirPR data scientist came to me with a visualization of a subset of our content marketing strategy, which happened to look exactly like a spider’s web: expansive, intricate and continuously interconnected.

      AirPR-connected-content-marketing-web

      The overarching goal of any savvy content marketing strategy should be to build relationships and establish trust and credibility, while often filling gaps in “conversation” when media coverage is slow.

      There is now ample opportunity to publish content on owned media channels, contribute to conversations, and participate in thought leadership circles. All of these actions fall under the greater PR umbrella and are powerful avenues that can boost a company’s digital presence/street cred while keeping momentum going during traditional PR lulls.

      But what exactly is the best way to go about doing this?

      Our data shows that content filled with “high quality” (note: not vapid, link-bating) information will exponentially increase the possibility of your ideas spreading. The reason is simple: readers and colleagues will value your writing as authoritative and will share and reference you in tweets, blogs, and other various content.

      Simply put, the power to connect and strengthen the existing connections between owned and earned outlets is within reach. Can you morph last month’s authoritative editorial into a blog post by piggy backing on the existing narrative, adding a stimulating new conversation angle, and presenting it to your audience? The answer, hell yeah!

      Digital is the most consistent and powerful channel available and a content marketing is a huge part of today’s PR puzzle. So, what is the recipe for success? To be truly effective, a content creator must consider 3 key elements:

      1. Provide ideas and information in a charismatic way that doesn’t just push the brand’s own agenda

      Content doesn’t always have to be the booming voice of authority stating “what you need to know” and “why company X is great”. Campaigns can also be an opportunity to acknowledge a struggle, face uncertainty, or spark a dialogue. Nothing screams engagement like inviting for feedback, thought, and input.

      2. Include links to those who inspired your content, gave credence to your arguments, and advanced the overall conversation.

      By inviting folks into the web, you’ll be giving them props for their ideas and encouraging them to participate in the existing narrative. Talk about cultivating relationships!

      3. Employ thoughtful precision through a wide lens when it comes to selecting the authority sources included in content.

      YES! Don’t always pull from the same 5 sources. There’s a lot out there to spur inspiration. Try not to get struck in a rut.

      When you give “shout outs”, the likelihood of others linking back to you and referencing you in future articles increases exponentially. By weaving webs, businesses build rapport and become a part of the conversation with other companies in their space. This in turn boosts digital visibility online and elevates the profile of the brand or company.

      Conversely, when you opt to not think through a solid reference strategy or a partner publication isn’t willing to run links back to you, your web becomes less expansive and less impactful.

      Case in point:

      AirPR-not-connected-content-marketing-web

      Compare the two side by side…and think about this visualization next time you set out to build a content marketing campaign.

      Expansive Web A:

      AirPR-connected-content-marketing-web

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

      Not so expansive Web B:

      AirPR-not-connected-content-marketing-web

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

      Education is also key to building your “web”, so be sure partners see the potential synergies. Provide them links that support their proposed story angle or simply make sure YOU build a follow-on article to the final piece.

      Another welcomed benefit of expanding and reinforcing your web’s threads is the increased likelihood of a potential customer getting “stuck” in the web. The more touch points leading towards the center aka your website the more apt a visitor is to land on your page and potentially turn into a customer.

      To sum it up, I will leave you with a great quote from content marketing authority Ann Handley, “Content shouldn’t be created as one-off pieces, or even as a campaign. Rather each piece should become part of an ecosystem. The overall ecosystem produces a customer experience that dovetails back to the brand.”

      Well said, Ann. Those pesky little spiders may just be onto something after all.

      A version of this article first appeared on PRNewser.com.
    7. Getting First Dibs on the Future of PR and Media

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      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.

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    8. PR Summit and PRTech Award Notables & Quotables

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      Last week was a whirlwind of PR awesomeness. We had the pleasure of attending the 5th annual PR Summit in San Francisco (thank you Shaun Saunders), the Publicity Club of New York’s New Media Influencers Luncheon (thank you Peter Himler), and the first round of AirPR’s PRTech Awards in NYC (thank you Mediabistro and Porter Gale).

      Curious about what hot topics are being discussed across the country by PR pros, media, marketers, and technologists alike?

      Of course you are.

      Below you will find three PR trends that permeated every event, oh-so-tweet-worthy PR tidbits, and the individuals leading the PRTech evolution that should definitely be on your radar.

      Let’s kick it off with the trends, shall we?

      #1 – Data must be used to drive marketing and PR decisions

      No longer can PR rely on purely anecdotal or observed data. For the first time ever, companies and publishers have insights into what is working in terms of content and messages and PR professionals across the globe are now required to use data to drive and optimize their efforts.

      #2 – The role of PR is finally getting the credit it deserves due to technological innovation

      The lines are blurring between social, content, media relations, media buying, and analytics with PR assuming more responsibility in all of these areas. PR is breaking out of its silo and establishing itself as one of the most important layers in any organization. Technology and measurement is helping cement PR’s seat the table as a key business driver and decision maker.

      #3 – Social, content, and measurement are the 3 elements shaping the future of the PR

      This trifecta demands that PR rock at the intersection of the strategic insight and creative thought. From social and blogging, to partnerships, thought leadership, contributory writing and beyond, PR pros must create relevant communication in real time and ensure all pieces of content marketing are connected, supportive and of course, driven by data.

      And now, in case you’re looking to quote bomb Twitter this week, we’ve got you covered.

      From PR Summit in San Francisco

      On content:

      • “To better relate to people…Write an amazing story first and then fit your company in later.” – John Rampton
      • People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Start with the “Why?” not the “What?” – Jill Rowley
      • “We are programmed to pay attention to things that violate our expectations.” – Ben Parr

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    9. Serena Ehrlich from Business Wire sets the record straight

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      DON’T FORGET: The 5th Annual PR Summit in San Francisco is 1 month away! Be sure to buy your tickets. Here’s 20% off because we love you: http://bit.ly/1iXXuWE

      Back in the fall of 2013, I wrote this blog post where I equated the press release to that annoying guy nobody wants to invite to a party, but for some reason everyone feels obligated to invite.

      This type of behavior (inviting unwanted guests) entirely eludes me – probably because I’m not nice. Or something like that.

      Truth be told, however, being nice has its distinct advantages. Namely: you tend to have a higher quality of life and meet people you wouldn’t otherwise meet. These people, the ones you may have otherwise ignored while clinging for dear life to your bitchy resting face, can end up being great advocates for you…if you take the time to get to know them, understand where they’re coming from, and ultimately relinquish your propensity to thinking “hey, I’m usually always right.”

      In a moment of weakness, niceness, and extroversion, I accepted an invitation to a PR gathering in San Francisco hosted by Paul Wilke (whom I adore), the founder of @UprightComms. While there, over an assortment of wine and charcuterie, I met a woman by the name of Serena Ehrlich – who just happened to be the very friendly Director of Social and Evolving Media at Business Wire.

      Oh, and she was also named the “top 25 women in mobile to watch”, “25 women who rock social media”, “best social media blogger for PR”, and a various assortment of other titles that tend to intimidate-slash-excite me.

      In true social media culture fashion, we spoke to each other briefly in person at the little gathering but quickly launched a rather heated Twitter affair – which is entirely appropriate given her skill sets. We have serendipitously run into each other at PR-related events over the past year, the last of which was the “PR News’ PR Measurement Conference” in Washington DC – where Serena graciously gave me her perspective on why newswires are still relevant (despite Google’s algo updates and my seeming disdain for press releases) and how we can measure their impact more effectively.

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