Archive for ‘content marketing’:

PR Measurement: Beyond Vanity Metrics

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

“Sometimes just putting out basic metrics can actually hurt your measurement program and not help management see the true ROI and efforts you are putting in.” That was how Nicole Moreo began this AMEC measurement week webinar.  Well, that certainly got my attention! I thought how can reporting on basic metrics hurt my credibility?  Nicole explains.

Vanity metrics are metrics that feel important but are ultimately superficial, or worse, deceptive. What we usually think of are things like impressions, likes, re-tweets, AVEs (ad value equivalency), share of voice, mentions, page views, etc. They are not performance indicators. While some of these are important for benchmarking purposes, they should not be relied upon for actual intelligence.  In the big picture, vanity metrics actually hold you back.

So, how do we figure out what to measure?  First, Nicole cautioned, resist the urge to run out and subscribe to the latest tool or aggregator service that claims to programmatically measure for you.  She went on to outline the steps PR pros must take—before embarking on a measurement program.

Listen and Ask

Listen to senior management, your team, your clients (internal or external). Ask questions, such as

  • What is the strategic goal of the PR / marketing program, specifically the business goal? You may hear, for example, “increase share of voice” (SOV)—why? Or, “we want to put this message out on social media so people can see it”—why? What is the goal? Are you trying to increase sales? Are you trying to get people to download a whitepaper? How does that tie back to the business goal?
  • Who are the key audiences? Your program is obviously not to every single person in the universe, so precisely who do you want to reach?
  • Which platforms will be effective—based on the answers to the first two questions?
  • What are the internal KPIs (key performance indicators) that are being used? What business point does that tie back to?
  • What is the internal reporting structure?
  • What insights are you hoping for?

Once you have the answers to those questions, you want to use your metrics as a tool to tell a story (after all, that’s what public relations practitioners are good at—storytelling)!

So What?

Start with the basic metrics, like share of voice—but who are you comparing to? Competitors? Other divisions within the company? Ensure what you are comparing is apples to apples.  Engagement is also a basic metric that allows you to know how many people are actually interacting with your content and potentially have the influence to share it. Tonality (sentiment) is another that you may opt to use and there are others but start with these basics.  Then, ask again, so what? That may lead you to another point, where you once again ask, so what? Nicole recommends asking this three times will help you find the answers that offer a mix of qualitative explanations and quantitative variables.

She went on to offer specific examples, showing charts and graphs  sharing how each of them created a story of insights and intelligence that were meaningful and actionable. This was all possible by asking the right questions before embarking on the program.

Please feel free to add your own thoughts or experiences here in the comments section, and continue to check back here for more AMEC PR measurement tips from the experts!

Setting Measurable Objectives: Key to Proving PR Value

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

Setting-PR-Objectives-Infographic-CLIP-pmAs you’ve probably heard, this week is PR measurement week, part of AMEC Measurement Month.

TIP: If you’re interested but not sure you’ll be able to attend one of the live webinars this week, go ahead and register—you’ll receive an on-demand playback link afterwards!

The AMEC North America chapter kicked-off Measurement Week 2016 Monday morning with a Twitter chat. The chat was followed by an afternoon webinar on setting measurable objectives, led by Mark Weiner, CEO PRIME Research North America, moderated by AMEC North America’s Co-Chair and BurrellesLuce’s CMO, Johna Burke. In this post, I’ll be recapping that webinar.

The most common PR challenge is proving the value of our work. This is often difficult because value is so subjective and individual—varying from one organization and/or person to another.   Weiner suggests the key to success is setting proper objectives and then meeting (or beating) them.

Just what is a “proper” objective? A proper objective should be three things:

  • Meaningful – must be tied back to the organization’s goals (e.g. increasing business performance such as sales or stock price, optimizing labor by attracting and retaining top talent, avoiding loss by averting a crisis or potential reputation disaster, etc.)
  • Reasonable – openly-negotiated, aggregate opinions of top executives and discuss what is really reasonable, then get confirmation and approval to proceed
  • Quantifiable – must answer what, who, how much (by what amount should the metric change) and when (not open-ended)

Let’s focus on the quantifiable objective-setting process. In my experience, this is the step that stumps many of us.  Weiner suggests you take these steps:

  • Review past performance by looking at past objectives and the results, compare to competitors, and determine what would be a realistic increase.
  • Document the public relations objectives in writing (being sure to answer the who, what, when and how much questions).
  • Share the objectives with the executives with whom you originally spoke and with anyone who may be involved in resource allocations, negotiate final details and get authorization to proceed with the plan (as well as publishing the final plan with key executives).

The webinar wrapped-up with an objective-setting checklist (mainly covered in the previous two paragraphs) and examples of what are not proper objectives.  The examples included actions or activities (such as “create press release”, “plan special event”), and goals or aspirations (such as “get more media placements”, “improve brand reputation”. These may move you toward achieving your objective, but are not objectives in and of themselves.

In his final remarks, Weiner cautioned, “Objectives are not fate, we have to work hard to set and meet objectives. They provide direction, help departments prioritize, focuses energy and helps management align with public relations. Objectives must be specific, measurable and unambiguous.”

I want to thank Mark for all this great information and guidance, and invite you to add your own thoughts here in the comments section.

Continue to check back for more posts recapping many of this week’s PR measurement activities!

Don’t Cry Over Ick: How Bleachable Moments Changed the Clorox Conversation

Monday, October 27th, 2014
Bleachable Moments Clorox Conversation Tressa Robbins BurrellesLuce Ketchum Media Monitoring Press Clipping Public Relations PR Software Content Marketing

slide from presentation, Clorox & Ketchum

One of the best sessions I attended at the PRSA 2014 International Conference was on how a 100+ year-old company launched a multi-media campaign to become relevant to Millennials. Rita Gorenberg, manager of public relations and social media at The Clorox Company and Leslie Schrader, partner and director of DC Brand Marketing Practice, consumer health and wellness, at Ketchum, explained the who, what, how, and how much (outcomes/measurement) of this campaign.


The target audience is what they called “newly responsible” consumers. Research showed that young parents aren’t afraid to talk about life’s messy moments. Conversations and videos were already happening online about these messes but there was no conversation about where it goes next – the cleanup phase.

The key insights that were garnered from the research were:

  • Consumers gather information online
  • Market WITH Millennials, not AT them
  • Social media is embedded in the Millennials’ life – case in point, video on YouTube where kids make a mess with flour –mom’s first instinct was to grab video and share
  • Most conversations were about the “3 P’s”—pee, poop, puke
  • Content is NOT king with Millennials—context is


The strategy was “See mess, hear mess, speak mess.”

  • See mess: “Talk to dirty to me”
  • Hear mess: Share all things messy via “bleachable moments”
  • Speak mess: Create a language of mess, based on the “ick-speriences” of the newly responsibles


They created the “Ick-tionary, your wiki for the icky.” To do this, they sought out “ick-sperts” (influencers) mommy bloggers, daddy bloggers, comedians, in order to use popular language (not Clorox’s terms) that resonates—such as poo-nami. Language had to be genuine and authentic or it wouldn’t work.

There were other demographics, such as millennials without kids, which were targeted. “Bleachable moments” was launched from Las Vegas with people on the street video interviews filling-in the blanks “I _____ my ______ in Vegas”. They used paid media such as digital billboards and taxi cab toppers, but the on-the-ground activation of these interviews pulled in earned media as it gave the media something to talk about.

This campaign had multiple components across multi-media platforms—from traditional PR and advertising to digital and web-based application, so Ketchum worked with other agencies to ensure Clorox was getting the best of the best in each area.


So, did it work? Yes, both internally and externally—by posting Ick-tionary terms in office bathrooms, it re-empowered employees, giving them something new to talk about. It drove social interaction – it was #1 nationwide trending on Twitter (which would’ve been a $200,000 buy). Conversation around Clorox in conjunction with “messes” and “cleanup” rose 18 percent. Online connections between Clorox and general messes increased 142 percent. Conversations around all Clorox brands increased across the board. “Bleachable moments” conversation volume increased 200 percent. Activities resulted in nearly a million page views, 12 million Twitter impressions, and 63 million media impressions. Finally, where it really counts, the brand perception shifted—a 10 percent increase in brand favorability and an 8 percent increase in purchase interest (5 percent was the goal). I’d call that a “clean” success!



How – and Why – to Fact Check Your PR Writing

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

How – and Why – to Fact Check Your PR Writing Ellis Friedman BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas Public Relations Media MonitoringAs the tragic story about MH17 broke last week, broadcast news networks (especially those of the 24-hour variety) scrambled for any scoop they could find. In the mad dash to find an eye witness, MSNBC got pranked pretty good when a caller who said he was a sergeant stationed at the U.S. embassy in Ukraine claimed he’d seen a missile hit the plane.

He then made a lewd reference and cursed at the host, Krystal Ball, who didn’t pick up on the rather obvious fact that he was pranking her. Both MSNBC and Krystal Ball come away looking rather poorly; someone manning the phones at MSNBC obviously didn’t bother to verify the man’s story – a simple Internet search would have shown that the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine is stationed in Kiev, which is more than 200 miles from Hrabrove, the site of the crash. At that distance, he wouldn’t have seen a thing.

Put that whole story next to the study released this week, which shows that journalists live tweeting during the 2012 election acted more as stenographers than reporters, as 60 percent of them just repeated what the candidates said, instead of fact-checking such claims for veracity.

As more and more marketing and public relations professionals are themselves becoming content creators in addition to their long-established role in working with journalists, it’s important to remember that with your organization’s reputation on the line, fact-checking is something we all need to do – not just journalists.

This doesn’t mean you need to employ a fact-checking machine a la The New Yorker, but it does mean that taking a little extra time to double-check that everything is in order can save you or your organization from making a silly but meaningful blunder.

Things that always need to be fact-checked:

  • Names, dates, locations, job titles
  • Quotes – always check that you have not only the words right, but the context as well
  • Numbers and statistics
  • Basic facts – because “facts” aren’t always completely factual

Google is a useful fact-checking tool, but if you’re Googling to find out whether a statistic is correct, make sure that the sites you’re using for verification are themselves reputable, and that you can find the same statistic in more than one place. While Wikipedia can also be useful, keep in mind that pages can be and are frequently changed and updated, so it should not be your independent source of information, especially if you’re doing an online-only fact check.

Email and the telephone are also great tools – if you need to make sure someone actually said what they said, just call. In journalism, fact-checkers won’t read a quote back to the speaker, but in public relations and marketing, there is no such restriction, so if there’s an error, it’s easy to re-work a quote.

Chances are that you won’t be live-tweeting election debates and that your account won’t be held up to as much public scrutiny as a journalist’s, but even if you’re at a conference and life-tweeting a presentation, keep in mind that if the speaker makes an assertion, you tweet it out, and that assertion later turns out to be incorrect, you could come away with a negative perception. You never know when what you tweet will come back to haunt you – just ask Justine Sacco.

3 Measurement Gaps in Content Marketing – and How to Fill Them

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014
Three Gaps in Content Marketing Measurement and how to fill them Ellis Friedman BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas Public Relations PR Media Monitoring Media Measurement News Clipping Press Clipping

flickr user Pawel Loj under CC BY license

When 90 percent of surveyed marketers say they’re uncertain that their key metrics are effective in measuring business results, you know you’ve got a measurement gap.

That startling statistic came earlier this week when Contently released its State of Content Marketing survey, which sampled 302 marketers split evenly across B2B and B2C businesses. Though social media metrics and measurement are hot topics in marketing and public relations communities, it seems the boots on the measurement ground aren’t sure what to do.

While that headlining stat does suggest a large swath of uncertain marketers (albeit in a pretty small sample), there were other statistics toward the bottom of the report that were far more telling:

Marketers are choosing the wrong metrics for their goals

The report showed that only 11 percent of marketers stated ad monetization as a goal for their content. Yet 69 percent of them measure the success of their content by pageviews, a metric which – the study points out – is primarily used for buying or selling ads.

That means that many of the more than 72 percent of marketers who identified brand awareness as the goal of their content are measuring that goal with the wrong metric. There is a world outside of the pageview. But multiple metrics does not cohesive measurement make – it doesn’t matter how many metrics you’ve got if you don’t have the right metrics.

Shares are overvalued

Luckily, many (65 percent of respondents) of the marketers who measure pageviews also measure for shares and likes. Unfortunately, a quick look at the next page in the report shows that shares and likes may not mean that much after all, since research from Chartbeat shows that there is zero correlation between reading an article and sharing it.

Lack of awareness

Nearly 50 percent of marketers said they wished they could measure how much real attention people are paying to their content, even though simple analytics like bounce rate or time spent on a page (which only 45 percent of respondents measure) are great basic indicators. Not to mention that how much attention people pay to content is exactly the type of thing Chartbeat measures.

How to fix it

Measurement is not easy, and the reason many of these simplistic, sometimes irrelevant metrics persist in measurement programs is because they are free and easy to obtain. Unfortunately, they’re just not effective measures of everything.

We need to start thinking of measurement as a spectrum of interactions instead of a slice of numbers. That’s why the debut of AMEC’s new Social Media Measurement Framework User Guide is so important; it looks at the stages of the marketing funnel over different channels and encourages users to think critically about their objectives, channels, and resources as it relates to their content and marketing process.

The difficulty of tracking measurement and conversations is why marketers and PR pros also need social listening programs to ensure they don’t just count the shares, but listen to what’s being said about their content so they can start tracking tone and sentiment in responses as well as in their media mentions.

Here are some BurrellesLuce resources to get you started on developing your measurement processes:

PR and the P&L

Finding Meaning in Measurement

Navigating the Terrain of Paid, Earned, and Owned Media

The Infographic Guide to Measuring Your Public Relations Efforts

Measuring the Success of Your PR Campaign

Up Your Measurement Game with AMEC’s New Social Media Measurement Guide