Archive for ‘Uncategorized’:

AMEC North America Kick-off with #PRMeasure Chat

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016
Word cloud image created from the chat content

Word cloud image created from the chat content

This week is the third annual AMEC (International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication) measurement week here in North America—as part of AMEC Measurement Month.  There are PR measurement-related virtual events all week. The best part? They’re all FREE! Just go to and register for any you’d like to attend. Even if you aren’t sure you’ll be able to sit-in on the live webinar, if you register you will receive an on-demand playback link afterwards.


Measurement Week 2016 kicked-off Monday morning with a Twitter chat using the hashtag #PRmeasure. The chat was hosted by PR News and featured Measurement Hall of Famers Mark Weiner, Linda Rutherford and BurrellesLuce’s own Johna Burke.

I have personally been active on Twitter since 2008 and have participated in more chats than I can remember. I don’t say this lightly and can honestly say, this was one of the most robust chats that I’ve ever participated in, with more than 20 questions and netting more than 400 tweets in one hour!  It offered so much valuable information that it would be impossible to summarize into short form—simply wouldn’t do it justice.  Instead, we’ve created a Storify for your review. It’s not every single tweet but way more than what I’d call a “recap”.

Watch here for more posts recapping many of this week’s PR measurement activities!

New Resource (Book) for Millennial Job Seekers

Thursday, March 31st, 2016
Photo Credit: Bolla Photography

Photo Credit: Bolla Photography

As a PRSSA professional adviser and PR student mentor, I often get questions about job searching, professional networking etiquette, cover letters, interview preparation and follow-up, and résumé writing (as well as personal branding).  Those questions are typically prefaced with “how do I …” and followed by “will you read what I wrote and give me feedback”.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I get incredible joy and satisfaction from helping and mentoring PR students and gladly do so; however, I can’t count how many times I’ve thought that I should write this stuff down so I could just send a ‘canned’ response to some of those frequently asked questions—just to save time.


Last Fall, I was contacted via Twitter by Danny Rubin who had just completed a book called, Wait, How Do I Write This Email? and subtitled, “Game-Changing Templates for Networking and the Job Search”.  He knew (from my bio and various social media activity) that I do a lot with PR students and thought it might be helpful. A free book? Um, yes, please! Then I completely forgot about it until a couple months later when the book arrived in the mail along with a personal note from Danny. After skimming through, I knew within minutes that this book is as good as GOLD to, not just students but young pros or really anyone—especially those who’ve been out of job search mode for some time.


Around that same time, I was planning the PRSA St. Louis annual Career Development Day and thought this would be the perfect opening keynote topic. Fortunately, we were able to bring Danny in for the event to speak and do a mini-writing workshop and it was so helpful I wanted to share with you a few takeaways.


Use the power of storytelling in your cover letters , bio, etc. (even during the interview) to make you stand out from the crowd.

  • Lead with a compelling personal story—an anecdote that you can relate to the job skills required.
  • Stories, told properly, will capture the reader’s attention and keep them reading.
  • Unique details matter!
  • A personal story will leave a more lasting impression and makes you more memorable.
  • Starting and ending on the same story (a technique that professional journalists use) demonstrate that you “get it,” and that you know how to apply these tactics in a real-world setting.


So how do you do this? I’ll share an excerpt from Danny’s book (Chapter 9: The Power of Stories) where he steps the reader through the six parts of a storytelling cover letter.


Danny’s outline for the storytelling cover letter:

  1. Open with a line that places readers into the story. Grab their attention and make them think.
  2. Include concrete details about the story. The more specific you are, the more colorful the anecdote, the more memorable you will be. Quantify your results—provide hard numbers when appropriate.
  3. Demonstrate how the story applies to the job by referring to the job description—making sure the anecdote reflect the person the company is looking to hire.
  4. Show you did your research and understand how the company fits into the marketplace by explaining how you will help the company grow its business and make it more successful.
  5. Share more of your qualities as they relate to the story. Again, referencing the job description, touch on qualities you know the company admires and show how you would be a good cultural fit.
  6. Mention your story one final time and bring the cover letter full circle.


As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, Danny offers up more than 100 templates demonstrating various scenarios and taking the guesswork out of applying these techniques.


Do you have an example of how you’ve done this effectively that you’d care to share with our readers? Or additional thoughts to offer?

Campaign Mistakes PR Practitioners Should Learn From

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

by Emma Hawes


It’s that time of year when you hesitate posting a political gaffe of a candidate in fear that your Facebook page will become a battle ground by posting the article. The truth is election brings out the worst in both parties. Let’s stop fighting for a moment and think about how awesome, and scary, it is that the future of our country is determined by your vote. So not only do your part and vote this election, but do your research over candidates from non-biased sites. It is inevitable that all candidates make mistakes regardless of the party.


Cue the music-

If there’s one mistake we see each year, it’s a political candidate or campaign manager who does not ask an artist to use their music. It just backfires and makes the candidate look bad for not doing their research. Even though a musician might share the same political views they may not want to endorse the candidate. Songwriters need to be included too because Sam Moore changed the lyrics of the Sam and Dave hit “Soul Man” to “Dole man” for Bob Dole. However, the songwriter Isaac Hayes demanded a cease and desists where eventually the song wasn’t played. Enter Sam Moore in 2008, when he asked Barack Obama to quit using “Hold On I’m Coming.” His statement included how his vote was a private matter between him and the ballot box.  However, he did perform for Obama later at the 2013 Inaugural Ball.


Communication Breakdown

Whatever you say on the Internet is eternal because a screenshot of a deleted post lives forever. That happened to Bernie Sanders when a tweet was sent out that said, “Greed, fraud, dishonesty and arrogance. These are just some of the adjectives we use to describe Wall Street.” The tweet was deleted because the words were nouns not adjectives. It’s okay if you have to sing a Schoolhouse Rock song while writing to reintegrate basic grammar.


Cruz fired his communication director around two weeks after the Iowa Caucus. Lies were spread about Ben Carson suspending his campaign after Cruz won Iowa and Rubio’s religious beliefs. Just creating a lie about the opposing candidate is bad and if issues arise the first time the director should not even have a second chance.


When celebrating, don’t get crazy

Before John Kerry won the Democratic ticket in 2004 enter Howard Dean, the man who won the coveted Iowa Caucus. He stated his excitement how he was going to win states then a scream that doomed his political career. Not only does that moment live on YouTube, but Dave Chappelle made a skit, which parodied the scream.


Everyone is important

Where does one begin on Donald Trump’s comments about different races and women? His comments about reporter Megyn Kelly is just one of the many numerous comments.  That is not a smart way to pick your battles considering that according to NY Magazine single women are currently the strongest political force.


However, during a debate, Ted Cruz stated most Americans could not relate to Trump because he had New York Values. Well Cruz’s mistake was just as bad because it is like calling someone from a rural area in Wyoming a country idiot.


Also, as much as you might want to get a certain demographic don’t try to reach out too hard. Hillary Clinton faced flack for the Hispanic community when she posted an article that said “7 ways Hillary Clinton is just like your Abuela.” Soon after the post was made, #notmyabuela became a trending topic on Twitter. Instead, she should have made the post in different languages to reach out to different demographics instead of speaking Spanglish.

Measurement Week Interviews: Mark Stouse

Friday, September 26th, 2014
Measurement Week Interview Mark Weiner BurrellesLuce Media Monitoring PR Software Public Relations Media Measurement Press clipping

flickr user HeavyWeightGeek under CC BY

Last week was AMEC’s International Measurement Week, and to honor it, we reached out to some of the top measurement experts to get their take on measurement dos and don’ts, common mistakes, and how they found themselves a member of the Measurati. We got such an enthusiastic response that we’re extending our celebration to include all their answers. We’ll be running their answers all this week, and be sure to check out our latest newsletter for measurement insights from 11 other experts in the field.

Let’s hear from today’s featured expert, Mark Stouse, creator of the Influence Scoring System.

What is your “measurement moment,” the time you knew your career was becoming measurement-focused?

My “measurement moment” happened in 1992 when I left the profession and agency life, a departure I assumed at the time was forever. I moved into a series of business roles, including sales, product development, and ultimately leader of a new business that I created in the defense sector.

Looking back, it is clear to me that this decision to join the business was the best investment I ever made in my marketing and communications career. Its impact on me has proven as indelible as any tattoo.

I got a very intense education in what it means to be in business. For example, I gained a new appreciation for what it meant to make quota, not just in the conventional sales sense, but also as a leader who had to make payroll. My vision of things became significantly enlarged. I began to understand how hard it is for a CEO to balance everything that a business is, particularly all of those often zero-sum investment choices that must be made in a rapidly growing enterprise.

I began to see life through the eyes of a business leader, because that’s what I had become. Today, that perspective still is very present in my conversations with CEOs and other leaders, even though I earned it years ago in a much smaller company.

I sold the company in 1999, and I re-entered the profession on the agency side. But I had changed dramatically. From that point forward, I operated as a business leader who happened to specialize in marketing and communications. The result was a completely different approach, one that focused – above all things – on connecting marketing and communications investment to business drivers.

Today, I’m pleased to say that we’ve done it.   We have a proven methodology, manifested in a cloud-based platform that correlates investment in Paid, Earned, Shared and Owned (PESO) channels to both functional outcomes and business impact, including revenue, margin and cash flow. But to be honest, I doubt very much that I would have pursued those connections to business impact if I had not first discovered what it means to be in business instead of just being in a business.

What is your proudest measurement moment?

In 2008, it became clear that the Influence Scoring System (ISS) actually worked, not just at the marketing and communications level but with the CxOs that was designed for in the first place. The system showed for the first time that it could tie investment in both Earned and Shared programs to both functional outcomes and CFO-certified business impact.

It didn’t take long for ISS to start receiving tangible recognition. Based on its data, we received large increases in our budgets during the depths of the recession. Later, it won a BMC Innovation Award – it was the first time that anything outside of the company’s product line had won the award. In 2014, ISS was recognized as the Innovation of the Year in Marketing and Communications, and then it received the Holmes Report Diamond SABRE Award this past May in New York City. We had come a long, long way.

What is your most important piece of measurement advice?

There are several important pieces of advice. First, start with the business KPIs and drill down into your function. Anything else is classic “inside-out” thinking and will not get you where you need to go.

Second, remember that the C-suite only cares about the past if that data strongly suggests what’s going to happen next. If it doesn’t do that, you’re wasting their time and yours too. Third, get clear on what ROI is and is not. By definition, ROI is a cash-on-cash number, so it applies to business metrics like revenue, margin and cash flow. The number of impressions you racked up last quarter is not the ROI on the investment you made to get them.

What’s the most common measurement mistake you encounter?  

Reporting out again and again and again on metrics and KPIs that business leaders don’t care about. When they see that you actually use them to run your function, it dawns on them just how disconnected you are from everything about the business. That’s why you have no “seat at the table” during normal business hours.

Tell us a breakthrough story, in which you took your company from metrics to KPIs.

I joined BMC Software in early 2006 to lead Communications. The team was the “tail on the dog” inside the company. We were order takers and the last people in the company to know anything. The team’s only metric was a quarterly clip book, and even that was not exactly anything to brag about.

Soon after, however, we replaced the incumbent agency with Waggener Edstrom, and we immediately began to publish a standard report of coverage and the common metrics we all know so well: volume, tone, reach, share of voice, etc.

In early 2007, I presented my thinking about a new system to the executive team, one that would begin to connect the dots and demonstrate progressively stronger correlations between their investment in Comms and our business impact. They gave it the thumbs up, though even they didn’t see how it could be actually implemented.

But by the end of 2008, we had moved well past the retrospective view into the ability to accurately forecast of our future performance. We also showed an ability to understand, calibrate and manage our opportunity cost, ensuring that a lot more of the money we were spending “ended up on the screen,” as they say in Hollywood.

As the data rigor in the system began to deepen and strengthen, our conversation with the C-suite and the sales teams began to change rather dramatically. By 2009, we were launching nascent connections between ISS and sales data. Our first success was in demonstrating how, why and to what extent we were helping to drive faster sales velocity. Everyone looked at the logic path and the data connections and said “Wow!” Actually, it was more colorful and emphatic than that, but you get the point.

And from that point forward, we were off to the races.

What do you see as measurement’s biggest challenge ahead?

It sounds like a simplistic answer, but we have too many people in marketing and PR who chose the profession because they were not good at math. We spend time asking “Is the PR profession creative enough?” when we should be asking, “Do you understand how your business makes money?”

I see a lot of people in marketing and communications today who are real scared of measurement and the accountability that goes with it. This aversion to data and the language of the business world is the single most destructive thing in our profession today. It’s time to do what is necessary to get over that fear.

There’s been a lot of work done at the tactical end of things to try to standardize marketing and communications metrics. But the only standards that are determinant here are the standards of the business. Several years ago, a really famous tech CEO said to me: “Your colleagues need to understand that we (business leaders) expect marketing and communications to understand our standard of proof and meet it, not develop their own.”

Bonus question: You just won the lottery. What’s your dream job?

I’m an innovator. I’ve been one all my life. My 8th grade teacher wrote “Innovator = Big Helper” next to my name in the yearbook, and that’s really how I think about it.

One day, I’d like to apply that bent – and all I’ve learned about how to innovate – in the service of humanity. For that reason, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has a very special attraction for me. Not only for the work they do, but for the way they have disrupted philanthropy by driving a very strong tie between their investment and real impact on the ground.

When I look at what they’ve accomplished, it pushes all of my buttons.


Measurement Week Interviews: Roxane Papagiannopoulos

Thursday, September 25th, 2014
Measurement Week Roxane Papagiannopoulos Frank Ovaitt BurrellesLuce Public Relations PR Institute for Public Relations Media Measurement Media Monitoring Press Clipping

flickr user Pink Sherbet Photography under CC BY

Last week was AMEC’s International Measurement Week, and to honor it, we reached out to some of the top measurement experts to get their take on measurement dos and don’ts, common mistakes, and how they found themselves a member of the Measurati. We got such an enthusiastic response that we’re extending our celebration to include all their answers. We’ll be running their answers all this week, and be sure to check out our latest newsletter for measurement insights from 11 other experts in the field.

Let’s hear from today’s featured expert, Roxane Papagiannopoulos, President at RMP Analysis.

What is your “measurement moment,” the time you knew your career was becoming measurement-focused?

Assomeone who always wants to know the answer to the ‘Why?”/ “How?” question it was inevitable that I ended up where I am. While I was employed by Vocus one of my clients challenged me with how to wring more out of that software. The goal was to provide data to the PR team that they could use to improve their tactics and performance. Once I walked through that door I found my zone and have never looked back.

What is your proudest measurement moment?

My proudest moment was the decision to start my own business. The experience has opened up more opportunities to service customers individually.

What is your most important piece of measurement advice?

Getting started in a new measurement effort or starting one where none existed is stressful. Find a vendor partner who is going to work with you to uncover the reality versus what will make the vendor or you just look good. Ask to see some of their work and explain how it will relate and can translate to your industry/business efforts.

What’s the most common measurement mistake you encounter?

Valuing counts over insights. All too often PRs look at number of mentions as a measure of success “Look at how many outlets picked up this story!” – so what? As well as impressions multipliers (painful).

Tell us a breakthrough story, in which you took your client from metrics to KPIs.

My client was in a crisis situation and the news stream was completely negative toward the company. Internally there was a debate on the process of how to handle crisis situations. On one side we, along with several of the PR team, were advocating the customer put out a statement and address the issue at hand to end the news cycle and allow customers to focus on the positive company efforts.

On the other side the stalwarts were advocating to be quiet and it will go away (really shocking, but this is how crisis were handled for a long period of time.) Using metrics we were able to demonstrate the news cycle would be curbed or ended if the company simply addressed the issue. This allowed us to gain support to present the evaluation of qualitative outcomes tied to reputation change, deposit volumes and product sales.

What do you see as measurement’s biggest challenge ahead?

The question indicates that measurement has made progress, however that is the challenge in my opinion in the PR/Corp Comm space. The industry is very slow to implement measurement practices.

Bonus question: You just won the lottery. What’s your dream job?

You hear people say “I wouldn’t quit my job” all the time when asked this question. The truth? I would quit, not because I don’t love what I do but there is a cause that would benefit more from the lottery winnings that would require 100 percent of my time. My dream job would be to set up a honeybee sanctuary in as many states as possible (I’m a beekeeper). Don’t doubt it…metrics would be an integral part of the effort. Ask me in person sometime and I’ll talk your ear off.