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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      1. Hip hip hooray for more targeted media outreach.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Congratulations to Jason on his impressive PR wins!

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

    2. Strategic Public Relations Leaders Are All of These Things

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      Do you like taking assignments or leading the charge? If the latter, good for you! My guess is that you already embody these oh-so-necessary PR leadership characteristics; But in case you need a few reminders for staying on top of your game, read through these traits of highly effective strategic public relations leaders.

      Strategic PR leaders are…

      1. Self-aware: They understand how their role fits within the organization.

      Today’s PR professionals understand the interconnectedness of the tech, marketing, advertising, content, and strategy functions of their organization, including how they fit in among them. Aligning public relations with other aspects of the business allows them to amplify everyone’s efforts, not just their own.

      2. Data-driven: They use data to drive everyday decision making.

      Practicing PR without data is like skipping sunscreen: It’s totally feasible, but not recommended and will soon become a thing of the past. Without data or metrics, you are essentially practicing old-guard PR that doesn’t position you for leadership or prove your value. Tracking results and gathering data enables you to make informed, forward-looking decisions — something that effective PR leaders “get” innately.

      Strategic Public Relations

      3. Constructively opinionated: They speak up.

      How can we give a voice to clients for whom we work, if we don’t have our own? If we want to lead companies and clients in the right direction, we must speak up. We must build trust by making sound decisions consistently, then develop our own voices — without giving into our smaller selves and cowering in the corner. Get really good at voicing your opinion via thought leadership opportunities, and you could even influence public opinion!

      4. Thoughtful: PR leaders plan with purpose and think outside the box.

      Leaders don’t just do things to check a box off a list. They critically think about why they are doing something before aiming and firing. I have data to support that when you send a thoughtful, targeted story that gets a journalist 50% of the way there, your shot at landing that story increases exponentially. This is a big boost, and it illustrates how spending a little more time on your work in the beginning pays off.

      5. Brave: They aren’t afraid of getting fired or finding a new role elsewhere.

      If you’re working for someone who is demanding you do arbitrary tasks with no foresight, then you should question whether or not your workplace is a fit. This “activity-based approach” to PR is one of the reasons the industry is criticized — it implies to others that we’re all tactics and no strategy.

      You can’t be afraid to point out fault, even if the thought of doing so is scary. In a nutshell: If the agency you work for isn’t being strategic and you continue to work there, your reputation is on the line just as much as the agency’s. And we all know a leader doesn’t hand over the reigns to their personal brand or reputation.

      Continue to speak up, take charge, and forge your way at companies where leadership and innovation are encouraged. Fulfilling tasks and assignments without a greater purpose is just-plain boring anyways. (And you are far from boring.)

      A version of this post was originally published on Bulldog Reporter.