Heels vs. flats; of course there’s a difference.
No, this isn’t a misdirected post intended for 5inchandup; this is very much about media analysis and intended for those of you who rely on technology alone to gain insights from your news coverage.
How are shoes relevant? Because if you rely on software alone to tell the story of your media results, you’re potentially sawing off the branch you’re sitting on – the branch needed to demonstrate the value of your media relations efforts to your organization.
You see, I love my Jawbone Up Band and app, which tracks fitness, food, and sleep. It provides me a baseline to understand how active or sedentary I am day to day. On any given day I wear heels or flats – some days both. There’s no way to log this into my app, but I feel the difference in my legs and shoulders depending on the weight of my computer and whether I’m wearing flats or heels. My app consistently tells me the number of steps and distance I’ve traveled, but without the ability to qualitatively alert my device to the external factors (heel height, weight of computer bag, flat or hilly terrain), the app is limited to what true insights I can gain.
The same goes for your media coverage.
All media coverage is NOT created equal. Often times an outlet is a primary sorting field for many organizations, but depending on the goal, a hyper-local outlet could be far more influential based on the measurable objective. Example: An organization has a production plant in Bisbee Arizona. The media relations department has a goal to reduce talent acquisition costs by 10 percent for the fiscal year. This includes recruiting more local talent who do not require relocation services. In this example, it’s easy to understand that The Bisbee Observer, the town’s weekly newspaper, would be far more critical to achieving the goal than, say, The Arizona Republic. Unless your goals are aligned with your efforts, it is nearly impossible to show anything more than activity.
One common misconception in the marketplace is that public relations practitioners have to settle for the metrics provided by their software because they either have no extra time to drill into the results qualitatively, or it’s too expensive. That’s simply not true. In order to better understand if you are making progress toward achieving your goals (and ultimately saving money on efforts that are not supporting the end goal), you can work with a random sample of your coverage to glean real insights.
Granted, if you are reporting on only a sample (i.e. Google Alerts) of data, the challenge becomes more problematic. Without a larger purview your ”sample” could be very limited and as a result, your insights and ability to project future actions and insights is equally as limited. The ”cost” of not doing deeper analysis could be much more costly to your organization if you continue down a path that is not garnering the results needed to achieve your goals.
While I’m not a digital native, I love my technology. I wear it, carry it and I’m lost without it should a battery need charging. At the end of the day there are other factors that let me know my Up Band is really working, and those results are reflected on the scale, in blood pressure results, and in overall well-being, things which my device alone cannot provide. There’s no silver bullet to health and without adding insights to the fast metrics available, there’s no silver bullet to bettering your communication efforts as they relate to supporting your organization.
Measurement has been a big topic in PR for decades, but it continues to dominate our discussions because the digital age has given us more tools, metrics, and points to measure than ever before. We know it’s important to establish measurable goals and set benchmarks, but what about the actual tools for measurement? How do we get started with the tons of data at our disposal?
Ensure you’re measuring the correct things – outcomes, not outputs – and consider integrating tools like Balanced Scorecard, the Barcelona Principles, and the Sources and Methods Transparency Table. Learn how to use big data the right way by deciding your most important metrics and making decisions based on facts and evidence.
To help you fill up your public relations measurement toolbox, we’ve created this measurement primer. For more detailed tips and insights, check out our newsletter, Finding Meaning in Measurement.
Last night, The Wall Street Journal reported that their parent company, Dow Jones & Co. sued Real-Time Analysis & News Ltd., a financial news aggregator service known as Ransquawk, for illegal distribution of the Dow Jones content without publisher consent.
Dow Jones claimed in its complaint that the London-based Ransquawk accessed the DJX newsfeed, which Dow Jones’ real-time financial news subscription service, and republished the content “verbatim, within seconds” of its publication. Ransquawk’s website says that it provides live news headlines in a 24-hour scrolling news feed, as well as real-time audio with breaking news and instant analysis, drawn from over 100 news sources.
In a statement on the Dow Jones Press Room, Jason Conti, SVP, general counsel and chief compliance officer, wrote that Dow Jones “refuse[s] to sit back when others swoop in to swipe our content.” He also claimed that Ransquawk is “systematically copying, pasting, and selling our journalists’ work.” There’s not much of a reply from Ransquawk; chief executive and co-founder Ranvir Singh said only that, “We obviously strongly deny any accusations made against us by Dow Jones … we will only be in a position to make a statement tomorrow.”
As we discussed on Monday, copyright compliance is a primary concern in media monitoring and news aggregation. This case looks to be very similar to that when the Associated Press filed a lawsuit against Meltwater for copyright infringement, a case which the AP won.
Why Ransquawk didn’t take notice then, we’ll never know, but they certainly shouldn’t be surprised at the lawsuit given that in recent years Dow Jones filed – and received large settlement claims from – other “hot news” misappropriation lawsuits against Briefing.com and Cision.
Once again, BurrellesLuce is not an aggregator but a curator, and we negotiate licensing fees with our providers to ensure our content is copyright compliant. We strongly believe that news outlets must be fairly compensated for their content, which EVP Johna Burke blogged about just three days ago. PR pros rely on content generated by high-caliber content produced by the AP, Dow Jones, and other providers not just for those valuable media mentions, but also for measurement purposes. In their need to be on top of the news, PR pros should protect the content they need and value by using services that respect and compensate the very publications that produce that content.
So many of us are committed to “community” nowadays, but where would the PR community be without journalism? Media and PR may be separate yet tandem communities, but they are part of the same ecosystem, and without balance on both sides, that ecosystem will crumble.
This weekend I heard a lot about the controversy surrounding money and the NCAA big games. The NCAA makes money selling broadcast rights to the game; networks make money from ad sales; schools make money on ticket sales; and coaches make millions. Who’s not making money in this situation? The players.
Professional athlete I am not, but this plight reminded me of a situation I deal with daily, in which the revenue options of publications and publishers are circumvented, while public relations and advertising firms, which rely on those same publications to broadcast their message, continue to thrive. In fact, most PR pros recognize that traditional media is still incredibly influential in building a brand and telling a story, and media relations undisputedly plays a significant role in benchmarking and demonstrating results in the development and success of public relations campaigns.
So if the media is so important, why the misconception that the information that demonstrates results should be cheap or free? It’s not Google’s fault; they’ve already determined that news access is a loss leader to advertising revenue. But if there were no high-quality journalist-produced content to search, Googling would be a whole different ballgame, and the lines would be further blurred between editorial content and advertorial, if there were a line at all.
Apologies for the strained metaphor, but let’s extend the comparison to consider what the implications are in the NCAA version of content and media monitoring:
News alert = big game is televised
Article headline = Quarterback Makes Perfect Throw to Downfield Receiver
Article snippet/link = Receiver doesn’t miss a stride, but two linebackers are on his heels
Paywall = Broadcast signal dies for everyone except those who pay for a premium cable subscription or those with a credit card willing to pay extra to watch on demand.
PR using only alerts = Looking at the final score and using that data point to determine if a “play” was a success or failure.
PR using comprehensive copyright-compliant content = Provides play-by-play analysis, and sets up brand “linebackers” in the same or better position in the future to impact future outcomes.
Those PR pros who work diligently to secure placements for their organizations are the NCAA coaches. These PR pros are high-value with honed expertise; in fact, PR pros are doing so well, the 5WPR recently reported that they “achieved record-high financial revenues” in 2013. Such success warrants an increase in fees and retainers. But if the field is empty (i.e. high-quality editorial content further erodes), and there’s no way to broadcast a message, monitor its progress, and continually reposition, it’s like coaching an empty field, and suddenly, that value is gone.
So why is traditional media perceived as no longer having value? Because the digital age made some things free – or seem so. But the truth is, we’ve been paying for traditional media content since its inception. We paid for newspaper subscriptions for decades, so why is it no longer “worth it?”
With more access to metrics and our social habits, we should be leveraging all of the information to make our brands smarter; have a world-class offensive plan. Instead, too many people are taking shortcuts (like looking only at headlines instead of the full content) and sacrificing quality for quantity. If trends continue similar to those in this 2012 report, public relations’ value will continue to grow. But if you’re not working to curate information strategically or seeing everything included in your media content, it’s like watching every sports game simultaneously on a 20-inch screen. Sure, you can see there are games – many of them, all the size of postage stamps – but in the bid to see “everything,” you sacrifice really seeing anything at all.