An End to the PR Measurement Standards Debate?

It is official, PR Week announced that it is encouraging PR professionals to abandon the search for a single definitive method of PR measurement and adopt a set of measurement guidelines that are defined in a newly released industry guide. PR Week’s The PR Professionals Definitive Guide to Measurement  provides common principles that seem to build from the Barcelona Principles.  The guide’s simple format breaks down each topic by chapter.  With a mouse click you can explore topics such as:  A Step-By-Step Approach to PR Measurement, Measurement Options and Why PR Measurement is Important. So, will this be the new PR measurement bible?

Over the past 20 years PR pros have debated about whether the PR industry should develop standards for PR measurement.  Progress was made in 2010 when representatives from nearly 150 companies around the world voted on seven specific principles that set a baseline for how to measure PR – what’s good, what’s better, what’s best, and what’s bad.  These principles have been termed the Barcelona Principles.  But the creation of these principles didn’t stop the debate.  Many PR pros were still looking for a “toolkit of consistent, reliable, and comparable metrics that would allow practitioners to work more efficiently” as stated by David Geddes in his blog post about setting standards. Many people believed there was one “right” way to evaluate PR, and everyone in the industry should use that method or metric. But, since no one could agree on a perfect formula, the industry has been given a set of rules to follow and must decide how to put them into action.

So now what?  Is this guide the answer PR pros have been looking for?  Will this new set of measurement guidelines provide the consistency and reliability that the industry has been searching for?  I would love to hear your opinion on this topic!  Take a good look at the PR industry’s new guide and let me know what you think.

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How to Make Your PR Campaigns Stronger

If you have read my blog before, you’re probably familiar with my stance on measurement – particularly that measuring PR is the key to making PR campaigns stronger.  I came across a similar point of view from Jessica Sharp who recaps what she learned at the PR News Measurement Conference in a recent blog post.  She points out that measurement makes your PR campaigns stronger by providing three main things:   1. Focus  2. Credibility  and 3. Accountability.  Measurement  also allows you to analyze results (like outputs and outcomes), make improvements and then analyze again.  This process can go on and on until your campaign reaches its maximum effectiveness.  Without PR measurement, the changes that need to be made are not clear, meaning it is much harder to make program adjustments that increase results.

If you want to make your PR campaigns stronger, then read Sharp’s blog and follow her 7 Steps of Measurement.  She does a great job of laying out actionable steps to get you on your way to effective PR measurement.  One fundamental step that we talk about a lot at Wallop! is setting meaningful and measureable campaign  goals.  Sharp’s blog post uses the anagram:  SMART to help you to set objectives that aren’t vague or difficult to measure.

SPECIFIC

MEASURABLE

ATTAINABLE

RELEVANT

TIME -BOUND

Being SMART about your PR measurement will help you improve your campaigns over time.  Many times goals are too ambiguous and because of that it is difficult to follow through with effective measurement.  It may take some time to adapt your goals to fit the SMART model, but it is necessary to help you understand what to measure and how to apply your results.

Another valuable point that Sharp makes about PR measurement is that “PR measurement is a circular process.”  Each time you analyze data you have the ability to make changes and improve, then you measure the changes again and the process continues in a circular motion.  Each time your campaign can get stronger and produce better results.

Do you have an example of how PR measurement has helped you to strengthen your PR campaigns over time?

How to Use Google Technology for Great PR

Have you ever found out, after using a piece of technology for a while that you haven’t even scratched the surface of what it can do for you?  This seems to happen to me a lot.  We have powerful tools at our fingertips and sometimes it takes a “techie” to help us discover it’s full potential (or just someone who has read a good blog).   I read a very instructive article about how to use Google to be better at PR that can take you to the next level in using this tool.  I think you will like what you discover!

First off, Carrie Morgan brings up the possibility of searching for additional options for posting your news.  By being creative with your wording in your Google search, you can find a variety of options available for posting articles, blogs and press releases.  Depending on your subject matter, you may find specific interest sites to fit your product or business that allow you to submit press releases, articles or comments.  I believe this is worth investigating.

Did you know that Google has the ability to bring up the latest news stories on particular subjects?  If not… Carrie gives great instructions and even visuals on how to do this.  This is very helpful for identifying news trends, keeping track of competitors and spotting opportunities to make comments.  She also walks us through an easy way to find blogs in a particular industry or subject so that we can take advantage of guest blogging possibilities.

Many of you may already use Google Alerts to receive internet news about your business or client.  (If you aren’t, this article will help you with that.)  But another advantage of Google Alerts that is highlighted in this article is “to identify news articles where you can post a client comment”.  Are you noticing a trend here?  Today’s PR involves taking advantage of opportunities to get in on the conversations that are related to your business or client.  Are you using this approach?  Do you have other suggestions on how to connect with what people are saying about your business or client?  Please let me know if you have any of your own “techie” tool advice for PR.

How to Revise Your Old School Marketing Tactics

It is easy to keep doing things the way we always have, because…”that is how we were taught” and “it has always worked in the past”.  But I’m sure you are beginning to notice that those old tactics aren’t cutting it anymore. Technology is changing the rules.  For example, there is some great information at your fingertips on this very subject and you didn’t even have to look very hard to find it.  Just click on the link to Katie Burke’s blog entitled “What Your Traditional Marketing Education Didn’t Teach You About Marketing Today”.

This blog does an excellent job of explaining the differences between old school and new school tactics and why they work… in the appropriate era of culture and technology.

One of the key points of this article is that businesses need to leverage their owned assets – blog, websites and Facebook pages.  That way when consumers are ready to look for your services they will find helpful, quality content.  The old School way is to deliver your message to the consumer when you think it is the best time for them.  Today’s marketing lets the consumer decide when they are ready to receive the message.  Something that was not possible “back in the day”.

Katie points out for example that Press Releases of today should be designed to tell a compelling story to the world.  Instead of just targeting journalists, consumers are actually reading press releases… when they are compelling and relevant to them.  In  my opinion journalists don’t play near the role they used to.  Because of the changes in media, we don’t have to subscribe to the newspaper to find out current events or interesting stories.  Consumers search out what they want to know about from whatever source they choose via mobile device or computer.

Timing is another big thing that has changed over the years.  In the past “measurement almost always came either after a campaign ran or just before it went out the door.”  Now we are able to learn from and act on data on a daily, not annual basis.  This makes PR measurement even more critical today.  Through polls and customized call-to-action, you can keep your finger on the pulse of what people are saying about your company, brand or product and make changes accordingly.

So revise those old marketing tactics, engage with your consumers and use PR measurement to make smart up-to-date business decisions!  Do you have any new school tactics that you would like to share?

Applying a 1950’s Ad Campaign to Today’s Media

Is there any benefit to comparing how ad campaigns were done in the past to how they are done now?  Does the past teach us?  I would have to say… yes!

History teaches everything including the future.
-Lamartine

I was very intrigued recently by a blog that took the successful 1950’s Miss Clairol Color Bath campaign and re-imagined it to fit today’s media.  When you look at how a successful ad campaign was implemented then and how that same product would be implemented now, it really highlights the vast changes that have taken place.  Here are just a few differences that Shannon Johnson highlights in her blog “What Would a ‘Mad Men’ Era Ad Campaign Look Like Today?”

Today

  • Media Choices Almost Limitless
  • Competition in Advertising is Ruthless
  • Ability to Target Customer is Best Yet
  • Goal is to Create Digital Experience
  • Focused on Being the Thing People Want to Consume

Yesteryear

  • Media Choices Very Limited
  • Easier to Make a Big Impact with Ad $
  • Used One Size Fits All Approach
  • Focused on Interrupting What People Want to Consume

My favorite quote from the article is this:  “Marketing can no longer rely on advertising that interrupts what people want to consume; it has to be the very thing people want to consume.”

She goes on to give us specifics on how she would create a successful Clairol campaign with today’s technology using social media, interactive YouTube videos and specific calls to action.  I think this activity of taking old ad campaigns and re-imaging them for today’s media could be a very useful tool for us to get our juices flowing.  Let me know what you think.

4 Secrets to a Successful Digital PR Campaign

One of the best ways to learn new and creative ways to be successful in PR, is to take a look at what other organizations are doing that works.  I have a great example of a non-profit organization that took their small budget and created a fun campaign from something that could be considered somewhat boring- cancer research.  I think you will find this article by Talia Sinkinson very inspiring.

City of Hope (a research, treatment and education center) gives us a great example of how to turn research into sharable social media content.  City of Hope took a look at what was popular with their target audience (wm 25-45) on social media and found out that health and nutrition got a lot of attention.  They felt that this tied in beautifully with their “Super Foods” cancer research and therefore developed the “Super Foods for Super Heatlth:  Cooking Against Cancer” campaign.  Because City of Hope realized that sharing recipes is  much more interesting to their target audience than just sharing cancer research, their internet fan base grew four-fold!

Here is how Talia breaks down the “4 Secrets of Success” that City of Hope used in their campaign.

  1. Get Creative With Your Content
  2. Act Like a Selfless Friend
  3. Create Regular Content Flow
  4. Think Visually

Let me know if this inspires you or if you have any similar examples.

Are Press Releases Still Valuable?

Many of you may remember when press releases were one of the primary tools of the PR trade.  They were used on a regular basis and very effective at getting important information about a business to the media.  As time continues to fly well into 2013, you may be wondering “Are press releases still valuable?  Should I still be using them on a consistent basis?”  I ran across a great blog post on Hubspot that deals with that very topic.  Rachel Sprung, in her blog “When Press Releases Do (and Don’t) Help Your Marketing” breaks down the benefits and drawbacks of press releases in today’s PR world.

Rachel highlights that including photos and especially embedded video in the press release greatly increases the views.  In fact she has research from Dan Zarella that points out that engagement increases 55% with video.  That is a significant increase!  People can really experience what you are communicating by seeing and hearing it, in addition to reading about it.  Imagine, press releases with a new, creative and exciting dynamic to them.   These type of press releases could certainly be valuable.

Rachel also points out many drawbacks to press releases as well.  She suggests that they are hard to measure and their messages usually don’t reach your target audience anyway.  So how much value do press releases have?  Take a look at Rachel’s blog, then let me know what you think.  Have video embedded press releases helped you?  Do you think press release information ever reaches your consumers?  Is it possible to measure the impact press releases have?

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