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    1. 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.

    2. 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

    3. 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?

    4. 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

    5. 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.

    6. 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!

    7. 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

       

       

    8. 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

    9. 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.