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    1. The 7 Surprising Super Powers of PR

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      Historically, PR has been a bit of a black box in terms of how much it “helps.” That’s because the success of a PR campaign has been incredibly difficult to measure with any accuracy, until recently. We now have access to PR data that does for PR what AdTech tools have done for the measurement of advertising. In that sense, PR is the final marketing frontier.

      Not too long ago, marketers and advertisers could roll out entire campaigns without knowing how to analyze the results. But today, a prerequisite for working in marketing and advertising is having a solid understanding of data analytics. Thanks to the expansion of the PRTech ecosystem, PR is following suit, and we can see exactly how a story in TechCrunch is impacting a business on a granular level.

      Despite this advancement, PR is sadly still the first department to feel a pinch when the purse strings are pulled tight. But if I’ve learned anything since starting a PRTech company, it’s that PR can’t keep the ballroom lit if someone is always flicking the on/off switch.

      Here are some of the obvious and not-so-obvious reasons companies of all sizes should be investing in PR now more than ever.

      1. Great content inspires trust, creates credibility, and builds brand awareness.

      Think of it this way: PR is one of the very best ways to define your brand as told by a person a potential customer might actually trust. Everyone knows that when they are fed a retargeting ad, the goal is to get them to spend money. But when a journalist features your company in the news, potential customers have an opportunity to learn about your offerings in a way that doesn’t prompt them to take immediate action.

      It’s the equivalent of establishing a friendly rapport with a new coworker before asking them to complete a project for you by end of day Friday.

      2. PR fuels growth.

      In order to grow its user base, Slack worked with a PR firm on an ultimately effective PR blitz which invited potential users to “request an invitation” to use the app. The power of media prevailed, and Slack gained 15,000 new users within two weeks.

      Now, Slack is somewhat of a household name for anyone who works in tech. When you set hyper-focused goals for PR, you can capitalize on its power and give traditional marketing a run for its money.

      3. PR is a powerful lead generator.

      Strategic PR is a significant driver of high quality, top-of-funnel leads. When analyzing our customer data, we’ve seen owned media (blog content, self-published LinkedIn Pulse articles, etc.) perform as effectively as earned media at lead generation.

      And when earned media does lead the charge, it can drive meaningful action. One of our customers found that website visitors driven by earned media not only come to their site but also engage with their brand in meaningful ways (by making a purchase, playing a video, and so forth). With the right combination of data and attribution, you can see exactly which leads are moving down the funnel and converting to customers as a result of PR.

      4. PR is the key vehicle for brand transformation.

      When an industry goes through a disruption, every company in that space must change their narrative in order to have a fighting chance. The mattress industry is a perfect example of this.

      When Casper, Tuft & Needle, Purple, Leesa or any of the other dozen “sleep companies” that have popped up in recent years started making mattress shopping a breeze, veteran mattress companies were forced to change their narratives to remain relevant.

      PR is the key vehicle for shifting narratives and providing a new lexicon for how the press and public should be talking about a company or industry.

      5. PR is the most effective tool for reputation management.

      We all watch along uncomfortably when large companies handle crises poorly, which is exactly why crisis communications and reputation management are so important for companies of all sizes. If something goes wrong and your company must respond quickly in order to save face, your PR team is on the front line.

      In this sense, again, PR shouldn’t be treated like an on/off switch. If you need to correct misinformation about your brand, a journalist is exponentially more inclined to trust new information if they already have an established relationship with you.

      6. PR is an excellent tool for recruitment.

      Early stage companies in particular can drive significantly more qualified candidates into their pipeline when they’ve already secured coverage in respected news outlets.

      Think about what you do when a recruiter from a company you’ve never heard of sends you a message. You check out the company’s LinkedIn page, spy on the profile of the founder/CEO, and Google the company name. Gleaming content and third-party acknowledgement of what’s unique about your product are validation for candidates looking to make a quick decision about whether or not they will humor the recruiter.

      In November of 2016, we saw a spike in interest on our AirPR jobs page driven by both new and old content.

       

      7. PR outlasts advertising.

      PR has the potential to be even more powerful than marketing in the sense that PR content is permanent and essentially dateless, while advertising is temporary and short term. Once you stop paying for an ad, it goes away. But when an article about your company is published, it’s there forever, waiting to be found again and again.

      I’ve experienced this long-tail effect of PR firsthand. Some of the content written by members of my team years ago continues to drive traffic to our website today. Here’s an example of content from 2013 and 2014 that still drives traffic to our site and garners engagement:

      PR’s Bottom Line

      Frankly, if you’re not embracing public relations as the next marketing frontier or viewing it as a long-term strategy, you won’t scratch the surface of leveraging it as effectively as you could — and your competitors might beat you to it.

      A version of this post published on the Nasdaq Blog MarketInsite.


      Live in SF? Be our guest at next week’s Salesforce panel: “PR Upgraded.” 

      Sign up here!

    2. PR Data Insights: How to Benchmark Engagement

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      PR’s access to data has grown exponentially in the past few years, however one of the most frustrating aspects about measuring PR is the lack of industry benchmarks available.

      It’s challenging to set measurement goals without an understanding of how others in your field are faring. In fact, PR may be the last business function to have clarity around how to gauge its performance from an industry-wide perspective.

      This year, AirPR aims to change that by providing clear industry benchmarks for important metrics, like InteractionsThe whole goal of PR is to reach and activate your target audiences, so keeping tabs on changing interaction rates specifically is a must.

      To find PR’s Target Interaction Rate, which is 1.8%, we plotted the distribution of nearly 400 event and goal interaction percentages across our entire customer base, including AirPR’s own site data.

      What are events and goals, anyways?

      Events and goals are designated engagement points your website tracks by way of your analytics provider (typically Adobe Analytics or Google Analytics). Examples include demo requests, content or asset downloads, or video plays.

      This target rate of 1.8% is meant to help you better understand if the aggregate performance of your PR-driven interactions is falling above, below, or on par with the rest of your industry cohorts.

      But that’s just one way to gauge success. Another valuable way to understand performance is to zero in on the specific types of interactions that matter to your brand. While specific interactions differ from business to business, there are general categories we can delve into.

      These include events and goals tied to:

      1. Product Exploration

      Knowing which offerings potential customers are exploring can help you understand what’s of most interest or which value propositions are resonating. AirPR customers have a myriad of ways to track general product exploration.

      Two examples of events and goals that fall into the product-exploration interaction bucket are navigating from a homepage directly to a product page, or a product pricing page view. When we isolated all the events and goals tied to any type of product exploration, the average interaction rate was 2.3%.

      2. Increasing Time on Site

      Getting a potential customer to your website is only half the battle. Keeping them there long enough to explore, understand, and consider your product or service is the other half. There are many ways to increase the amount of time a visitor spends on your website.

      Two examples of events and goals that fall into the increase time-on-site bucket are when a video is played to completion or a live chat function is activated. When we isolated all the events and goals tied to increasing a visitor’s time on site, the average interaction rate was 4.7%.

      3. Product Purchase or Sign Up

      Converting a site visitor to a customer (or trial customer) is the ultimate end goal. And while not all businesses provide the explicit ability for product purchase or sign up, here are two examples of events and goals that fall into this interaction bucket: a trial download/sign up, or an order confirmation. When we isolated all the events and goals tied to product purchase or sign up, the average interaction rate was 0.8%.


      What’s most intriguing, IMHO, is to see how these average rates differ. Product exploration and increasing time on site have much higher average rates than actions that require a deeper commitment, like purchase or sign up.

      It’s also important to note that these average interaction rates are going to look different than in marketing or advertising where conversion paths are far more linear.

      PR-driven visitors might trigger different engagement points based on the content that drove them to your site in the first place. The actions taken by visitors reading a blog post could look very different than the actions taken by visitors driven by earned media.

      In the end, we hope visibility to these categories assists you in setting attainable, realistic targets for incremental growth and provides you a better understanding of the power of PR.

      Got questions about your overall interaction rate? Want to tap into this data point? Reach out to usAnd be sure to stay tuned, because we’ve got more PR benchmarks and data points to share.

       

    3. Universal Truths About PR

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      In life, there are certain universal truths that exist. If you’re waiting for a call and go to the bathroom, the person will call when you go. Or, when looking diligently for something, you can never find it. No matter how you break it down, you can’t get away from the fact that certain things will always be the case.

      In light of examining universal truths, let’s look at the universal truths of PR.

      Truth #1: Your Job is Never Done

      PR is all about storytelling. From conceptualizing to developing to monitoring and optimizing messages and perceptions. Public relations does not stop when a media placement goes live or a blog post publishes. True industry professionals are always crafting relevant and impactful stories, and always forming new connections with which they can share those stories.

      The results of PR-driven content have a longer life than the amplification they receive on their publish date. They often continue to drive engagement and site traffic long after the content has gone live. Given that companies of all sizes are becoming increasingly focused on branded content, it’s more important than ever that PR professionals demonstrate the residual results of their content and storytelling efforts. The circle is round, it has no end.

      Truth #2: You Must Be Comfortable With the Unknown

      Meticulous planning is the norm for the average PR pro, but crisis communications situations are never scheduled. Brand and client needs can happen at any time. Because of this, it is fair to say that a significant percentage of PR efforts for any team are reactive.

      Given this nature of work, do everything you can to ensure that your team and clients are as prepared as possible with approved reactive messaging, explanations, and further information. Just like with any other crisis, preparation can make a huge difference in your end result.

      Truth #3: First Impressions Make a Difference

      I’m not just talking physical. This also applies to pitch emails and all other first-touch outreach. Is your pitch email too long? Does it include grammatical errors? (Everyone’s worst nightmare.) Before interacting with anyone for the first time, do your research about them and study your notes so you can bring things up where appropriate. Think of all first professional interactions like a job interview — show you’ve studied up!

      Truth #4: Relationships Really Matter

      Everyone knows that relationships are a significant part of any public relations strategy. People are your public. Especially in this digital age, genuine, face-to-face conversations — both formal and informal — are what really make our human relations successful. It is through these conversations that you can learn the personal things that help to maintain those positive relationships, like a person’s favorite color and birthday. When the time comes to send them a present or gift of gratitude, personalization matters.

      Truth #5: Your Are More Valuable Than You Will Ever Get Credit For

      Too often PR efforts are either unrecognized or misunderstood. Although this industry and the work of PR professionals is far from new, there is still a lack of understanding about what exactly constitutes public relations — and what PR teams should be responsible for.

      Even with new and improved measurement options that help to prove the worth of your work (wink, wink), the vast majority still may not understand its value — because, let’s face it, it’s difficult to value what you don’t understand.

      Don’t let this discourage you! Telling the ongoing story of your brand helps to drive and maintain all aspects of business, which means you’ll only get more opportunities to be given credit where credit is due.

       

      As with all universal truths, these are in large part products of perception. Keep your eyes on the prize and optimize, optimize, optimize!

       

      Thanks, Kelly. Meet another bright mind behind the scenes at AirPR:

      Leta Soza

    4. Common Math Mistakes That PR People Make

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      Let’s be honest. The typical PR person has an aversion to math.

      Couple that with the fact that the PR industry has historically lacked the type of quantitative performance data that’s usually available to marketing teams, and you’re left with a large group of professional communicators who are prevented from tapping into insights that could help them perform better in their roles.

      Here are some examples of common number-blunders. If you’re making these mistakes, you’re downplaying the role of PR:

      Math Mistake #1: The Law of Large Numbers

      For data to be statistically relevant, you need a sufficiently large sample size for your estimates to have reliable predictive value. Pitching survey data is a common area where this issue comes into play. For example, Penny the PR manager has a great idea for an internal communications survey about job satisfaction, but journalists are unlikely to justify using her data because the sample is simply not big enough to return meaningful results.

      Math Mistake #2: Reporting % Growth

      One of the most egregious positioning errors is when small companies pitch extremely high percentages as impressive growth rates. This often causes the adverse effect: instead of “Whoa, Company X crushed it last year!” the reader thinks: “Whoa, I had no idea Company X was that small to begin with.”

      If Sammy’s String Cheese had $2,500 in sales in 2014 and $70,000 in sales in 2015, it would be mathematically true to say Sammy’s String Cheese grew 2700% despite a relatively small increase in revenue of just $67,500. When a bigger company goes from 10MM to 20MM, the growth figure is 100% but revenue is actually up by 10MM. Business-minded people get the nuances of this and gawk at those who don’t.

      Math Mistake #3: Reporting % Change

      A similar error occurs when calculating % change. If your employee count grows from 100 to 400 in a year, many people would eyeball that as 400% growth when it’s really 300% growth or 3x plus your original number. You can’t include your starting point as part of any growth you report. That’s just not how it works, folks.

      Math Mistake #4: Believing in Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE)

      Since much of the influence of PR is felt indirectly, the industry has struggled to develop effective proxy measurements to connect PR success to revenue-related figures. Sadly, AVE (also known as ACE or Advertising Cost Equivalency) is a proxy measurement that is prone to lead people astray.

      For marketers, it’s much easier to arrive at reliable figures for return on investment. If you spent $100K on AdWords and sold $150K of product to people who clicked on the ads and converted, then your campaign returned 1.5x. Since most marketing measurement is based on link tracking, earned media, which rarely features links, is especially difficult to accurately measure in this way. (Only ~15% of all earned media includes backlinks.) Without links, there’s no way to determine direct causation.

      Using AVE to assert that the cash value of earned media is proportional to the amount of money a brand would have paid in order to purchase advertising is incorrect for so many reasons. What you pay for something is not necessarily what it’s worth.

      Math Mistake #5: Overvaluing Impressions

      Impressions sound the most impressive, but while representing the total number of people who could have seen a given piece of content does provide some insight into your ability to reach large numbers of people, impressions do not tell you whether or not you’ve accomplished a business goal.

      You can use one gallon of water or 10 gallons of water to wash your hands after handling bacon. Though 100 gallons sounds like it could give you a better chance of accomplishing your goal of cleaning your hands, if you don’t have any soap, more water isn’t going to help much. If your approach is ineffective, no amount of impressions will drive increased performance.

      What you need to know is what works. Even if the number of PR-driven conversions is just 100, therein lies the answer to improving PR performance. What content, publications, or messages were most successful? That’s the important question. Not, “How can I reach the largest number of people with a message I can’t be certain is influencing anyone?”

      No one’s perfect, and we all have room to grow in certain areas of our professions. But if you’re a PR pro, you don’t have to fall victim to the embarrassingly common math mistakes outlined above. Rest assured that there are tools today that can help you effectively measure the worth of PR, and remember that it’s all about asking the right questions.

      How are you ensuring that your efforts are impactful?

    5. Up Your PR Game Using BuzzFeed’s Measurement Mindset

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      I read an article in Fortune recently titled BuzzFeed: Days of Counting Pageviews and Unique Visitors Are Over that made my PR engineering heart jump with joy.

      In the piece, media-and-tech-beat writer Mathew Ingram examines how BuzzFeed is shifting from so-called fuzzy metrics, like unique visitors or subscribers, to more engagement-driven metrics that align with the unique goals of specific content.

      YES! OMG! BUST OUT THE BUBBLY!

      If media giants like BuzzFeed move towards metrics that matter, its partner in crime (PR) can’t be far behind. And let’s be real; This is one of the smartest shifts the comms world has seen to date.

      Not only will BuzzFeed be able to better gauge the effectiveness of its output (which is the first step towards optimization), it will also have a clear picture of success. And really, isn’t that what we’re all after in the end?

      Here are a few key takeaways from the piece, plus how you can super-charge your PR game using the BuzzFeed measurement mindset.

      Takeaway 1: It’s time to re-evaluate the emphasis we all place on traditionally tracked metrics in lieu of more modern metrics.

      BuzzFeed is moving away from unique visitors and pageviews which is pretty much the equivalent of PR’s impressions and social shares. Yes, there is some merit to these measurements, but there are far more powerful metrics to focus on. Identifying these new metrics does require an investment at the outset.

      As Ingram astutely states, “The right thing to pay attention to depends on what the goal of the content is, where it appears, whether it’s a video or a photo or a news article, and how the network or platform it is on functions.”

      Sounds a lot like the 3 Content World questions every PR pro needs to ask about their output:

      1. Content: What format am I choosing based on the audience I’m trying to reach? (Text, Video, Visual, etc.)

      2. Channel: What conduit am I using to deliver this content because it can best reach my target audience? (Earned, Owned, Newswire, etc.)

      3. Measurement: How am I defining success? (Number of views, amount of conversions, message pull through, etc.)

      What this really boils down to is content-specific measurement. Success, and the metrics you use to demonstrate it, are going to look different depending on what you create, where you seed it, and who you’re trying to reach.

      BuzzFeed knows this and now, you do too! 🙂

      BuzzFeed iconTakeaway 2: BuzzFeed’s team continually re-evaluates whether or not they’re looking at the right things when measuring a type of content’s effectiveness.

      That’s right. Today’s measures of success will not necessarily be what matters 6 months down the road.

      BuzzFeed publisher Dao Nguyen calls the continual application of healthy skepticism “re-anchoring.” BuzzFeed’s team never stops looking at all the ways they’ve done things historically and questioning their relevance. Ingram describes it as, “…an almost scientific approach of checking to see whether the thing being measured is actually the thing that is most important.”

      For PR pros and content producers, this should be a reminder that what worked last year (or even last quarter), isn’t necessarily the measurement practice you should be using today as consumer and media behavior changes over time.

      Think about where your customers spend there time has changed, and consider “following them” to the places where they naturally “hang out” if you haven’t done so already.

      Are you meeting your customers where they are or are you still trying to hook and pull?

      Takeaway 3: There isn’t one golden ticket for successful measurement.

      Silver bullets rarely exist in PR and the same goes for measurement. The key is always to consider the goal of specific types of content.

      Consider a video, for example. Are you more concerned that your audience shares the video or watches the video the whole way through? Maybe a combo of both. What’s the goal with a short-form article? Perhaps a lot of shares or maybe it’s seeing key brand messaging appear in the copy.

      What this means, PR pros and content creators, is that one size doesn’t fit all. Just like how there isn’t one surefire PR strategy that works for every e-commerce brand, success metrics have to be thought about in the context of your business.

      What do you think of BuzzFeed’s recent measurement moves? Got another way PR can take a page from the book of BuzzFeed? Let us know in the comments below!

    6. 6 Things You’ll Never Hear Today’s PR Pros Say

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      It’s like hearing a long-distance runner turn down a plate of pasta the night before a big race or witnessing Cookie Monster refuse a plate of his favorite cookies (chocolate chip). You just can’t imagine hearing certain things from certain mouths without your world imploding in on itself.

      That’s why, for the sake of humor and self-regulation, we’re exploring a few smh-statements that today’s public relations pros just never say.

      “Writing isn’t my strong suit.”

      Given that PESO strategies (paid, earned, shared, and owned media) are the new black when it comes to PR planning, it’s more important than ever that PR professionals possess polished writing skills that are close to if not at the same level as that of the reporters they’re pitching and the the articles they’re reading. Poor writing is no longer something that can be hidden behind the guise of “Well, I’m a relationships guy… that’s what our copywriter is for.” Exceptional communications and writing skills are fundamental PR musts.

      “What’s Periscope?”

      Today’s PR pros know how to build effective social media strategies and they’re up to date on the latest social trends, including ephemeral content. They also know enough to not adopt every single social media platform that arises just for the sake of it. Not every platform is a fit for every brand. (Is Snapchat really necessary for your big-box auto parts client?)

      6-Things-You’ll-Never-Hear-Today’s-PR-Pros-Say“It’s all about impressions.”

      We’ve graduated from AVEs and impressions and we’re now measuring in a far more sophisticated manner than we were 10 years ago. Impressions can still be a part of the PR measurement mix, but engagement, share of voice, power of voice, message pull-through, conversions, and more should be tracked too to give you a holistic view of how your PR efforts are moving the needle. One million impressions isn’t worth a cent if a reporter explained what your company does incorrectly, right? Impressions alone are just too narrow.

      “My job is glamorous.”

      Contrary to popular belief, the life of a PR pro can be the opposite of glamorous. Sure, we attend some high-brow events, tech conferences can be indubitably thrilling, and every once in awhile you may find yourself giddy with excitement if a New York Times reporter likes one of your tweets. But these are the exceptions, not everyday occurrences. Do you consider milling through data and analyzing blog performance glamorous? If so, well then, yes, our jobs are glamorous. Nevermind the rebuttal above.

      “The boilerplate will have to do.”

      Slip your toes into a journalist’s shoes and you’ll quickly feel the frustration they feel when they reach out for information and you either send them manufactured answers or attach your boilerplate and call it a day. Today’s PR pros know that every interaction is an opportunity to build a mutually beneficial relationship, and if you can help a reporter find the information they’re looking for you’ll soon be their go-to expert on that topic. Personalized messages and authentic interview answers are definitely the way to go.

      “All press is good press, baby!”

      Guys, please don’t. Just don’t. Your clients aren’t going to buy it, and neither does Judy.  

      Judge Judy eye roll

      On that note, what’s a one-liner that will never slip out of your mouth? Any PR pet peeves? Bonus points if you can keep the convo positive. 🙂

      Rachel Kirschen About

       

       

    7. 5 sites that will sharpen your storytelling skills

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      One of the many hats a PR Engineer wears is that of storytelling. But between juggling data, gathering insights, managing relationships, and more, how are busy PR pros supposed to find time to stay both inspired and up to date on the latest and greatest in industry trends that inform compelling storytelling?

      Let me make this easy on you! Here, I’ve gathered up a few of the sites and blogs that keep me sharp and feeling inspired so that all you have to do is sign up for their newsletters or follow them on social media to reap the rewards. You may not have time to read every article these sites send out, but you’ll be doing great if what you do consume gives you one or two takeaways a week that can positively inform your work.

      Without further ado, I bring you 5 sites that will sharpen your storytelling skills.

      1. 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!

      2. Brain Pickings

      Created by writer Maria Popova this ad-free online digest is a delightful mix of thought-provoking essays, reflective works, and more. Read an article about the dynamics of workplace friendships (accompanied by storybook illustrations), or a poetic debate about science and art (sprinkled with stacks of inspiring pull-quotes). This online magazine and its newsletter are a feast for any content creator or creative type looking to redefine how they talk about or present a subject. It’s also the best way to start your Sunday, in my opinion.

      brainpickings3. Percolate’s Blog

      Not only will Percolate’s blog keep you on your toes when it comes to what’s happening in the content strategy world, but it will also keep your marketing skills sharp too (a benefit to all of those multi-hat wearers out there). Industry trend-laden articles about “Why Content Creation Will Make or Break Brands in 2016” to posts about the qualities SaaS companies need to succeed are examples of what you can expect from Percolate’s continually pumping blog. Regardless of the topic, the content is always well-researched and journalistically written.

      4. Influence & Co.’s Knowledge Bank

      If anyone “gets” content marketing, it’s the Influence & Co. team. Their Knowledge Bank is stuffed with useful, thought provoking, actionable content written specifically for the modern marketer. From posts on how to shrink your sales cycle with killer content to a library chock full of not to be missed whitepapers, Influence & Co. is a shining example of how being entertaining, engaging and educational really is the key to content success.

      5. Gapingvoid

      Think of cartoonist/author Hugh MacLeod’s blog as a happy place for professionals who both appreciate art and are seeking the occasional motivational nudge. Sign up for Gapingvoid’s newsletters for a daily dose of kooky cartoons accompanied by inspiring words — artwork that MacLeod describes as “Motivational art for smart people.” This content has a mission, practical purpose, and people are genuinely delighted by it. Can you ask for anything more?

      gaping void innovation storytellingWhat’s your go-to industry blog or source for inspiration? Tell me if you love any of the above too, plus why you do! Tweet-tweet. → @AirPR

    8. 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.

    9. Today’s Top Publishing Platforms (That Aren’t WordPress)

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      Remember LiveJournal? How about Open Diary? Blogger? Boy, we’ve come a long way since self-publishing first put the power of the pen in our hands. Today’s top publishing platforms are unlike the hidden blogging caves of our past. With social sharing capabilities baked in and curious communities at their core, these new publishing platforms are built to work within our fast-moving, mobile-relying lives. To boot, they’re beautifully designed and perhaps even more user-friendly than an iPhone.

      top PR publishing platformsHere’s everything you need to know about the best new (and improved) platforms for publishing and discovering.

      1. Atavist

      Atavist is a publishing platform that makes it easier to create and share compelling, visually-appealing stories. The site is similar to services like Medium, as it allows users to create articles or stories using a combination of text, images, and interactive materials. It’s also similar to sites like WordPress or Squarespace, as it includes a useful toolset that gives users control over the look and feel of the site without requiring any coding knowledge or experience. It has multiple features that make it a more effective publishing platform than simpler sites like Medium for brands or businesses. There are five payment plans — Creative, Pro, Team, Business, and Enterprise — each designed for people or companies with particular interests and intentions. If you know how to use a computer, you know how to create great content on Atavist.

      2. Ghost

      Ghost is a new, open source, blogging-only platform that you can use on its own hosting site (for a fee) or download for free and host it on your own or another’s server, all of which invites some comparisons between Ghost and WordPress. The software is supported by a new Ghost Foundation which helps manage a worldwide corps of volunteer programmers and supports the project financially. Ghost aims to take some of the best features of WordPress with the ease-of-use of some of the simplest blogging platforms, or as they profess, returning to the blogging roots of WordPress.

      3. Medium

      Medium is designed to provide a clutter-free writing area for publishers and a similar reading experience for the readers. Medium has in-line notes and responses instead of comments. Medium is a completely hosted platform so the user doesn’t need to worry about the software. Medium is expected to allow custom domains for publishers so you can use your own domain names on Medium. The platform is also suitable for all devices and screen sizes.

      4. Posthaven

      Posthaven is a long-term project that aims to create a blogging platform that remains for as long as humanly possible, instead of having to move your posts and photos every time a service goes away. This includes durable URLs you can use forever and a straightforward, open, self-sustaining, pro-user business model. This site does have a charge of $5 per month per user which will buy you up to 10 sites with more for a small additional fee that maintains a clean, safe and up-to-date site. Posthaven is ultimately seen as long-term data custodians, without the hassle of having to change sites as websites go through their trends.

      5. Slant

      Slant, known as America’s most diverse newsroom, is bringing new voices, and unique perspectives on major stories to the forefront. They’re providing a platform for writers to publish their stories and share their perspectives with the world while providing professional editorial support and 70% direct compensation based on the performance of their articles. Slant’s model combines the quality of a traditional newsroom with the authenticity and diversity of a new wave of writers, encouraging them to take different ‘slants’ on pressing stories and societal issues that don’t always make the front pages.

      Which new publishing platforms have you explored? Please share with us below in the comments!