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    1. PR Data Insights: Rethinking Narrative Pick-Up

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      One of the most touted PR outcomes I see almost every PR pro report on is narrative pick-up a.k.a how many additional media outlets republish a recent piece of content.

      While story pick-up can be an incredibly positive PR outcome, I challenge the notion that all story pick-up is created equal.

      Public relations is about reaching and engaging important constituents, whether they are current customers or potential customers. But if you’re not actually reaching your desired audiences, does story spread really do anything meaningful for your brand?

      My answer: probably not.

      So how can you be sure your narrative pick-up is indeed driving the kind of reach you want?

      It all goes back to goal setting at the onset of any PR activation.

      One pitfall I see PR pros succumb to again and again is failing to explicitly identify the audience they are trying to reach before story creation and pitching.

      Content is far more impactful when it’s created with a target audience in mind. At AirPR, we challenge our customers to answer the following questions before launching any campaign:

      1. Content: What format shall I choose based on the audience I’m trying to reach?

      2. Channel: What conduit am I using to deliver my content so I can best reach my target audience?

      3. Measurement: How am I defining success a.k.a. what do I want my audience to do after encountering the story?

      These questions all revolve around target audience and rightfully so! Your target audience should always be at the heart of any PR work.

      It’s also practically impossible to say whether a story was successful or meaningful unless there is clarity around who it is for and what you want to happen as a result of someone consuming the story.

      This simple, three question exercise can exponentially increase the probability of PR success and makes it clear how to communicate and showcase those successes.

      Another important step to ensuring story pick-up is impactful is knowing which primary and secondary target audiences specific publications reach.

      Sure, getting a piece in TechCrunch is impressive and cool, but if your target audience is first-time homebuyers, your story is more likely to fall flat considering that TechCrunch is not a publication whose content is designed for that specific target audience.

      Pro Tip: Dedicate 20 minutes to attaching primary and secondary audiences to the publications listed on your target media list. It might surprise you how many of your target media outlets aren’t aligned with your desired customer segments.

      The final piece to identifying and leveraging meaningful narrative pick-up is to analyze the kinds of story pick-ups that occur.

      To date, about 19% of AirPR’s earned media coverage has resulted in meaningful article relationships. Article relationships are a concrete way to track the explicit connectivity between specific pieces of content.

      We track two types of article relationships: syndicated articles and follow-on articles. Syndicated articles are near carbon copies of original articles published on different domains. Follow-on articles contain a link which references a previous media placement to support an “argument” or key point in a new story.

      While syndications are all well and good, follow-on pieces are actually the more important source for insights. Follow-on articles demonstrate who views who as a source of authoritative content and which narratives are compelling enough for someone else to forward and build on them.

      Tracking the evolution of conversations via content can be incredibly powerful when it comes to message development and future narrative creation.

      As with any PR outcome, context is key! Narrative pick-up and spread can be important data points to show off, but only if they are bringing you closer to achieving business goals. That can only be known when who you’re trying to reach and what you want them to do are clear.


      Curious to see which of your PR efforts are driving meaningful article relationships and narrative spread? Reach out! We’d love to show you some data that’ll blow your mind.

    2. How to Be a PR Hero According to a Journalist

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      public relations best practices

      Last week was an interesting PR convergence of sorts for me.

      I emerged from the boiler room with AirPR’s CEO, our lead investor, and some of the top marketing and PR minds on the planet with what I’m sure will be the next big thing in navigating our story-driven world. (Stay tuned. It’s going to be a fun ride.)

      One of my dear friends simultaneously sent me this article on the birth of PR and where it is now, which helped frame the conversation. It’s well worth the read if you have five minutes.

      Additionally, LinkedIn announced the launch of Trending Storylines, which is a noteworthy attempt to diffuse the noise and surface quality content to interested readers.

      Then, I ended up on an informal call with Jason Feifer, editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur (a publication I’ve been contributing to for over five years). We discussed TechCrunch’s recent announcement to cut PR pros out of the mix in terms of contributed content.

      The result of our convo has been documented below for what I believe is the culmination of this PR convergence: The future of PR is all about quality. Data helps. Research helps. Being a human and not a robot helps. Creative thinking helps. Good products and services help. Impeccable storytelling helps…

      But how do we get there? Check out Jason’s thoughts below.

      Rebekah Iliff: How do you think PR played into TechCrunch’s decision to accept contributed content on an invite-only basis?  Do you think we will continue to see publications raise standards for what they accept in terms of contributed content?

      Jason Feifer: I can’t speak to TechCrunch’s decision-making, but I do think every brand is thinking hard about how to remain relevant and trusted. A media brand is nothing without its credibility; it needs to be considered an authoritative source for information, and that authority is built or diminished with every story it publishes. Quality control is a must.

      RI: An overabundance of pitches from PR people makes it difficult for reporters to manage their inboxes. What’s a solution? Or, what’s a better way for PR professionals and reporters to work together?

      JF: I’ll tell you the solution from a journalist’s point of view, although I know it isn’t a practical solution from a PR firm’s point of view: PR people should send far fewer pitches. Like, maybe one tenth of what they currently send.

      I receive probably 100 PR pitches a day, and 99 to 100 of them aren’t a fit for Entrepreneur. If publicists were only pitching publications they were confident would be interested in the story—a confidence built upon research and a deep familiarity with the publication and the kinds of stories it runs—I’m confident that I’d be getting only a small handful of pitches every day, and those pitches would more regularly lead to coverage.

      Here’s a situation that repeats itself with regularity: A publicist sends me a pitch that’s way, way off from the kind of stories I run. I ignore it. They send me two or three follow-up emails, and eventually I relent and respond to say “this isn’t a fit.” The publicist then replies to say something like, “I figured it was a long-shot, but had to try anyway.” This response drives me crazy. If you knew it was a long-shot, why pitch it? That just damages your credibility, and makes it more likely that I’ll ignore the next pitch entirely.

      I do understand that a publicist isn’t always exercising their own judgment. They’re sometimes at the mercy of their boss, or specific demands from their client. But the entire industry—and every client—would benefit if pitches were sent with real discretion.

      RI: How do you think PR professionals can be better “PR citizens” in terms of the quality of content and ideas they pitch?

      JF: Research. Most publicists who pitch me haven’t spent any time understanding the kinds of stories Entrepreneur covers. Their emails make that very clear. If they truly dug into the magazine—and to every major publication they’re pitching—and thought critically about what’s in there and why, I really do think they’d more consistently land stories. That would serve their clients better, and, for what it’s worth, make journalists’ inboxes happier places as well.

      RI: What makes a great source? 

      JF: When I’m interviewing someone, I want humanity. The best sources are willing to tell me how they think and feel, and reveal their concerns, mistakes, and challenges. When a source only sticks to their talking points, or speaks like a Harvard Business School textbook, or glosses over the challenges they’ve faced in their business, I lose interest and am more likely to exclude them from the magazine.

      Now, if you’re talking about those pitches that PR people often send where they say “if you’re covering X subject, here’s an expert you should interview,” I don’t think I’ve ever replied to a pitch like that. Those pitches are frequently tied to the day’s news, and as a monthly magazine editor, I’m just not chasing the daily story.

      At a monthly, I can’t envision any situation where those pitches would make sense. They’re so temporal; for it to be useful, I’d have to be working on a story at the moment that email came in. Otherwise, I’m just going to delete it and forget about whatever source is being pitched.


      Thanks, Jason.

      AirPR Blog readers: Let’s work together to push the PR industry from a state of noise pollution to thoughtful storytelling and consciously useful information sharing. What do you say?

    3. PR Reporting for People Who Care About Data

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      The thing about PR reporting is that it’s really fun when you have positive results to share and the opposite when you don’t. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Even when a campaign doesn’t work out the way you’d hoped it would, valuable learnings always lie between the lines.

      That’s why, this week, we’re sharing our top posts focused on reporting the qualitative and quantitative metrics that matter most to your CEO, CMO, or head of communications.

      The first one, “Common Math Mistakes PR People Make,” identifies a few “problem reporting areas” that many of us, number-savvy or not, fall victim to. For example, reporting percentage growth can imply radically different things for small as opposed to large businesses. Read more here to make sure you’re not committing these communications faux pas.  

      And as much as we’d like to think we’ve nailed how to report PR results to the C-suite, chances are we still have a bit to learn given that AVE and impressions no longer rule the PR world. In order to report the metrics that matter, consider how the person you report to sees PR. Do they understand that all content is essentially part of your company’s narrative, or would it be beneficial to explain to them the idea of paid, earned, shared and owned media first? The “70% noise reduction rule” will help you with this too. Read the rest here.

      Lastly, this article shares a few mini case studies about how Bayer Corporation and The Coca-Cola Company effectively measure and report internal communications results. These brands have comms down to a science, and you should too. Check it out on Forbes.

      PR-reporting primer adjourned.

    4. 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

    5. 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?

    6. How To Best Manage Outsourced PR

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      Whether you’re on an in-house PR team that occasionally outsources specialized work or you’re engaging with a PR agency for the first time ever, there are a handful of best practices for optimizing outsourced PR to keep in mind. The goal of these practices is to provide a view of how it’s all supposed to work while setting proper expectations for all parties involved. 

      Once you have vetted candidates and found the perfect PR pro/team to help make your comms dreams come true, here’s what to do next:

      #1 – Develop a clear and detailed strategy.

      In a typical scenario, it can take two months to begin to see press coverage. This means the first 30 days are reserved for strategy, message development, positioning, and media research. This is also an ideal time to set your outsourced PR person or team up for success by giving them access to your product; Have them test it and allow them to give you feedback. Their input can be invaluable when it comes to key message or value prop development. Plus it never hurts to have another set of objective eyes.

      how to manage outsourced PR#2 – Ask for a weekly status call.

      Even if you don’t have anything to talk about, regular check-ins are a great opportunity to touch base, voice concerns, and ensure everyone is on the same page. Developing a close rapport with your partner helps them to feel invested in your business, and they’re likely to be more enthusiastic when they conduct outreach on your behalf because of it.

      #3 – Set expectations for bi-weekly or monthly reports (via email).

      Regularly updated documentation will keep you informed as to what outreach is being done and where your PR pro is currently focused. It also helps everyone stay on track or identify potential gaps in strategy. Sometimes monthly is enough, but if you want to see this stuff weekly or bi-weekly, your PR pro should be able to show you the goods (without getting heavy-handed on hourly billing).

      #4 – Provide your PR pro with what they need in terms of content, feedback and access.

      Without you, your PR pro may find themselves working with limited resources thereby undermining your potential success. Arm them with what they need to work their magic. This means data to help round out stories, access to the C-suite for media opportunities/interviews, and the list goes on. Help them help you.

      #5 – Be quick to respond.

      Respond to your PR pro within 24-48 hours when they have requests that will enable them to do their jobs better. Failing to get them what they need quickly is a lose-lose situation and, honestly, it’s just plain unprofessional.

      Conversely, if your PR pro takes more that 24-48 hours to respond to you, that’s a problem. Their primary function is to push things through the funnel and if they’re not doing that, it could be cause for a larger concern (i.e. a waste of your money).

      #6 – Agree on measures of success from the get go.

      The worst thing you can do when working with an outsourced PR pro or team is not having a candid conversation about your PR expectations and measures of success. It is most important that both parties agree on what’s feasible and what the outcomes of the PR outputs should be. This conversation must fall out of your overarching business goals and should be a dialogue that may or may not evolve when the work starts.

      Got more tips for those looking to outsource PR? Keep ‘em coming → @AirPR @LetaSoza

      Thanks, (author) Leta! Meet another bright mind behind the scenes at AirPR…

      VincentPark_EmployeeSpotlightGraphic

    7. A Simple Customer Philosophy: “Meet Me Halfway”

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      Two people stand on opposite sides of a two-lane highway, separated by a four-foot wide, one-foot high, concrete median. Cars fly past them at nearly break-neck speed. They need to figure out a way to reach one another to exchange a backpack (which is full of vital information), but the noise from the highway makes it nearly impossible to communicate. An additional caveat: they only have one minute.

      Person one, let’s call him “Joe,” waves furiously motioning for person two, let’s call her “Jenny,” to come over to his side. He’s ultimately asking her to make 100% of the journey. She balks, knowing that she’s a clumsy, slow runner and the chances of her being side-swiped by a quickly moving car are high, not to mention the fact that it would probably take her at least a minute to cross the street while dodging cars.

      “No way,” she shouts, and motions for him to come to her side. He remembers his heavy backpack and realizes he’d probably be able to make it 70% of the way before he’d need a break, but the last 30% would be tough given the weight of his bag. This would put him squarely in front of a moving car just past the concrete median.

      Meeting halfwayHe shrugs, and shouts back, “It’s too heavy. I can’t make it all the way over in less than a minute. No chance.”

      They both pause, somewhat stubbornly, then Jenny waves her hands to snag Joe’s attention. “Hey,” she calls to him excitedly, “Just meet me halfway, on the median. We can do the exchange there!”

      This concept of “Meet Me Halfway” came to me a few weeks ago when I spoke at the RetailROI fundraising event in New York as part of the National Retail Federation Conference. During that event, keynote speaker Jimmy Wayne recounted his story of growing up in the foster care system, making his way to the top of the country music charts, then dedicating his life to raising awareness for foster kids’ needs. As part of his mission, in 2010 he walked halfway across the U.S. in a campaign called (you guessed it) “Meet Me Halfway,” then subsequently wrote an NYT bestseller called Walk To Beautiful.

      His goal for “Meet Me Halfway” was to shed light on the fact that it’s not about giving people (in this case, foster kids who are aging out of the system) handouts, but rather giving people the opportunity and resources they need to have a shot at stable, secure lives. In other words: meeting them in the middle and giving them a fair chance to thrive. I agree wholeheartedly with his sentiment: no one wants to feel like a charity recipient.

      How often do we operate like this in life? How often do we really ask ourselves the question “Am I meeting this person or situation halfway, or am I over-giving or underselling myself?” I’m all for being of service, being a giver, and showing grace, but at some point over time the scales must balance.

      So if we use this idea of “Meet Me Halfway” in terms of how we treat our customers, or how we prospect customers or clients, what would change?

      Last week, I caught wind that a competitor (I use that term loosely) had offered to buy out one of our customer’s contracts in order to win the business. They were willing to go 100% to our customer’s side of the road. Our customer wouldn’t have to budge an inch. But you know what happened?

      We’d invested so much time and energy into meeting the customer halfway along the journey thus far that our customer told them to take a metaphorical hike. We’d never over-offered anything, nor had we ever asked the customer to completely come over to our side of the road. With every twist and turn along the way (from prospecting to closing to retaining), we’ve brought our customers what they’ve needed and they’ve brought us what we’ve needed in order to have a successful engagement.

      Now, I understand how business works. I understand competition is fierce and that often times in order to thrive, you believe that you first must get what you need to survive. (There is a level of truth to that.) But when you’re surviving, you don’t think about things in terms of the “Meet Me Halfway” principle; you’re only thinking about how to get what you need at any cost.

      The result can go one of two ways…

      #1 – You overcompensate. You don’t ask the other person, customer, or client to budge; You just waltz on over to their side of the road and throw it all in. While it may seem like you’re being generous, it actually makes the customer begin to question your intentions or even your credibility. It can even look desperate.

      #2 – You become detached from your customer or client’s needs in order to get what you need and want. They come all the way over to your side of the road, dodging dangerous traffic in order to do so. They may not even realize they’re doing it at first, but after a few brushes with death, they will wise up and get the heck out of Dodge.

      As we think about the best way to operate, not only in business but in life, this concept of “Meet Me Halfway” goes a long way. This isn’t about tit for tat or give-and-take because “Meet Me Halfway” doesn’t pre-suppose immediate reciprocity or restitution. It merely invites each party to offer as much as they can while both do their best to find a solid and even playing field on which to mutually thrive. Meet them halfway.

    8. 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!

    9. 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