Name: Johna Burke
Bio: A PR practitioner for over 20 years, I use my expertise in media relations, public relations, measurement, and analysis to act as an advocate for PR professionals and the PR profession. I joined the BurrellesLuce team in 2000, after 12 years as a BurrellesLuce client when I was Director of Public Relations and Investor Relations at U-Haul. Now as Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales at BurrellesLuce, my PR approach is “Truth first, details second.” I’m a member of PRSA, AMEC Social Media Work Group, Measurement Conclave, and IABC, where I was also the Southern Region Chair in 2009. Outside the office, I’m passionate about my family, which includes my three Boston Terriers, and using my Seinfeld trivia powers to bring about good.Twitter: @gojohnab; LinkedIn: Johna Burke; Friendfeed: gojohnab; Facebook: BurrellesLuce
Posts by Johna Burke:
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.
The advent of digital technology has created some pretty interesting debates over the fair use of copyrighted content and how publishers can be paid for their news contributions and protect their copyrights.
By violating copyright – even inadvertently – PR professionals can expose their organization, clients, and constituents to a number of liabilities. That is why BurrellesLuce has worked directly with publishers and other content providers (for close to 30 years) to establish use agreements that pay publishers royalty fees and allow our customers worry-free access to copyrighted content.
We are staunch supporters of commercial use of content with the expectation that those providing a similar services to ours should also pay for the use of the content. We are also long-time members of the The Software and Industry Information Association (SIIA) and believe that people, including PR and communications practitioners, should pay for commercial use of content. We have had a turnkey copyright compliance program in place since 2008 and we work to educate our customers on copyright compliance and the proper use of licensed content.
The same cannot be said for other companies in the media monitoring and evaluation space. Some aggregators, posing as monitoring services or search engines – depending on what best serves their position of the day – are not curating content, but archiving and hosting a database of publisher’s content. This creates challenges for PR and marketing pros, and some media monitoring firms expose their clients to potential liability.
At BurrellesLuce we curate content on behalf of our clients and charge a royalty. Those royalties go back to the publishers. PR professionals are understanding, more and more, why these measures are necessary. They recognize the difference between a genuine media monitoring service and an aggregator. They realize they may be exposing their organization, as well as their clients, to substantial copyright liability by using the latter.
The difference is best outlined in an article by Neiman Journalism Labs, which discusses the difference between search engines and aggregators. A search engine, like Google and its “free” business model, typically provides links to the original content and pays a licencing fee to the copyright owners, while aggregators repackage the publishers’ copyrighted material, send it to their customers, and charge their customers without paying a royalty to the publishers. As a genuine full-service media monitor, BurrellesLuce uses a business model that ensures that the publishers get paid for the use of their copyrighted content, and gives our customers the peace of mind that comes with compliance with the law.
Despite what some proponents contend, traditional media is not dead. In truth – it’s not even on life support. Sure, The Media has changed in scope (with the biggest decline in outlets occurring in 2009), but certainly not in respect to relevancy, and absolutely NOT in how news consumers access content and satiate their growing appetite.
Why do I think so? “A mounting body of evidence finds that the spread of mobile technology is adding to news consumption, strengthening the appeal of traditional news brands and even boosting reading of long-form journalism,” confirms The PEW Research Center in its State of the News Media 2012.
The PEW study shows, “27 percent of the population now gets news on mobile devices. And these mobile news consumers are even more likely to turn to news organizations directly, through apps and homepages, rather than search or recommendations – strengthening the bond with traditional brands.”
Our changing media consumption habits are augmenting, not diminishing, the importance of traditional media. Largely in part to how today’s audiences access The Media across multiple platforms and channels rather than simply swapping one media type for the other.
The study goes on to cite the comScore whitepaper on Digital Omnivores: How Tablets, Smartphones and Connected Devices are Changing U.S. Digital Media Consumption Habits, quoting, “The evidence also suggests mobile is adding to, rather than replacing, people’s news consumption. Data tracking people’s behavior, for instance, find mobile devices increased traffic on major newspaper websites by an average of 9%.”
What’s even more interesting is that mobile users tend to favor traditional media values even when using digital platforms to access the content. For example, “The data also found that the reputation or brand of a news organization, a very traditional idea, is the most important factor in determining where consumers go for news, and that is even truer for mobile devices than on laptops or desktops,” according to Amy Mitchell and Tom Rosenstiel of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, and Leah Christian of the Pew Research Center in Mobile Devices and News Consumption: Some Good Signs for Journalism.
Despite the growth of social media, the brand reputation of traditional media (which also has a social ecosystem) has more influence on audiences – exceeding shares on social networks, including Facebook and Twitter, and even those made by friends.
So, the next time you read a tweet or hear about the demise of traditional media, try to put it in perspective and remember that unless you are seeing your coverage from ALL types of media, you won’t have an accurate representation of how your messages are playing out and influencing ALL of your audiences. While I recommend stakeholder targeting related to your goals and initiatives, all forms of an outlet should be part of your sample or you are skewing your data and results of a high level of integrity based on sampling. Ironically, in an effort to be trendy, some organizations focus solely on digital. However a digital focus alone, that doesn’t include traditional media, is blindingly misleading and can be equated to looking at the Grand Canyon through a straw. Sure, it’s pretty, but you miss more than you see!
By now most of you have seen the “Dad uses Facebook to teach daughter a lesson” video where a frustrated father shoots his daughter’s laptop with hollow-point bullets. Yeehaw! But have you all seen his response to the media requests? There are several interesting things about this response. First it prompts my apologies to the IT world as a whole — contrary to popular belief, some of you DO understand media relations as demonstrated by the father’s response to the media. Most importantly, he provides transparent and clear, written communication.
How does this domestic squabble translate to business? Other than being a teenager’s “crisis” I don’t know that it does, but it does strike me to remind everyone the importance of responding to negative comments online.
Here are my top tips for dealing with negative comments online:
1. Stay calm. Don’t let your adrenaline (fight or flight urge) get the best of you and cloud your judgment.
2. Respond publicly. Mirroring the original format is very powerful. Dominoe’ss Pizza is probably the best case study of this when they had their viral video crisis in 2009.
3. Be courteous*. Offer acknowledgement or an apology, whichever is most appropriate, with sincerity and gratitude for the opportunity to address the matter. *If you run into a troll refrain from calling them out until you have done your due diligence of their misdeed or erroneous feedback.
4. Provide resolution. In some cases this means a refund or some other compensation for the problem. In other cases this will mean “agreeing to disagree” on what is fair and what you can do based on the feedback.
a. Why did this person take their grievance public?
b. Was this the only forum available to address the concern?
c. What are the opportunities you have to improve your product or
service to strengthen your relationship with all of your customers?
d. Did you provide resolution to the issue?
6. Be thankful. REMEMBER: Negative can be positive. Your public response will demonstrate your commitment to your clientele. Also, when a customer is talking to you, even sometimes negatively, you are still communicating and can improve the situation.
At BurrellesLuce public comments are primarily responded to by either our account managers or the marketing team. These are the people who are closest with our existing clients and who manage the external communication and social media interactions. This post by Mack Collier further reinforces the importance of public responses and provides additional resources of how companies have fared much better when they respond to negative feedback. This list is meant to be a primer and I welcome your feedback and additional tips for the Fresh Ideas readers.
Be sure to RSVP for the commPRO.biz Holiday Party and Celebration of Ballroom Dancing, featuring Patrice Tanaka, co-chair, chief creative officer, whatcanbe Ambassador CRT/tanaka and co-hosts Fay Shapiro, publisher, commPro.biz and Todd Grossman, VP, Multivu™, a PR Newswire company.
This book review by Johna Burke, BurrellesLuce SVP, first appeared on commPRO.biz and is reposted with permission.
First, let me say that I love biographies. People are fascinating and their stories rarely fail to compel and inspire me to think differently, try something new or just try to be an overall better person.
Patrice Tanaka’s book “Becoming Ginger Rogers…How Ballroom Dancing Made Me a Happier Woman, Better Partner and Smarter CEO” was, as advertised from the front cover, “inspiring.” And, for me, a page-turner because I’ve met Patrice personally, but also because she is a public relations pro telling her own story. In essence, whether your personal “style” is rumba, foxtrot, tango or the samba—you’ll really like this book. Reading this book IS the mirror-ball of communications—and it’s A WINNER!
Not only is Patrice co-chair, chief creative officer and whatcanbe ambassador at PR firm CRT/tanaka, but she is also is an artist of words. Throughout her career she told the story of her clients and organization so eloquently; this is no less true in her book. She turns her storytelling into a master class of “take care of you” for every professional. Within her book she wins and loses love, she struggles and succeeds in business and she follows her passion to develop new skills. Patrice teaches lessons of endurance and empowerment through life and specifically through dance. As she transforms her physical appearance and mental strength she learns and fills gaps of vulnerability with confidence, poise and glamorous gowns.
A few lessons I learned that you can apply to your daily life and career, as well:
- Be a leader. Be in tune with yourself and allow wonderful things to happen all around you. Patrice, while herself is a dominant leader, her strong lesson came from her taking cues from her strong partner and instills those same traits with her “whatcanbe” program at her agency.
- Be a follower. My favorite lesson is from the mambo where Type-A Patrice let her partner lead. She didn’t rely on a routine, but allowed herself the freedom to live in that moment of the dance in the power of her knowledge to guide her and trust in her practice and experience.
- Love yourself. When times are tough, remember that unless you are strong and take care of yourself it’s hard to be strong for others.
- Love what you do. It will show. No matter what you’re doing: PR, marketing, dancing, knitting, accounting—love it while you’re doing it and you’ll find the best YOU. If you don’t love it, don’t worry, but don’t force something that doesn’t feel right. There’s a “Ginger Rogers” in you waiting to bloom.
- Follow your gut. Patrice suffered loss in her life, but you would NEVER know it. She commands an audience whether her feet or her mouth are telling the story. She is inspirational and truly in tune with her heart and her instincts.
This book is a tapestry of communication and life lessons and skills exemplified at the highest level. Each day we all dance our own mambo and after reading Patrice’s book you’ll be reminded to master the basics and the routine will follow. So many times in a world trying to be clever, the simple lessons are the most powerful.
I read this book in two days—just the pleasure and the mental vacation I needed. The real joy is that it’s a business book too. Patrice is an entrepreneur who has a keen business sense and places high value on people to make her organization thrive.
Through all of the stories and lessons the secret ingredient to this book is, in fact, Patrice. She transforms herself and reminds me to prioritize and be diverse. Communications plans are very much the same. You know the moves you have the technique and you need to trust your skills to execute and rely on cues for subtle adjustments as needed. When you meet her in person, don’t be fooled by Patrice’s tiny stature … her presence is large and in charge on the dance floor and on the PR scene.
About Patrice Tanaka: Patrice is Co-Chair, Chief Creative Officer and whatcanbe Ambassador at CRT/tanaka. She’s also author of “Becoming Ginger Rogers…How Ballroom Dancing Made Me a Happier Woman, Better Partner and Smarter CEO.” Her personal philosophy is that of “whatcanbe,” CRT/tanaka’s brand vision, cultural ethos and approach to business that involves helping the agency, its clients and the community-at-large to envision and manifest a bigger, brighter, better future.