Posts Tagged ‘strategy’


Mapping Best Practices for B2B Public Relations

Friday, November 29th, 2013

Businessman and business sketchAt the PRSA International Conference a few weeks ago, I attended my colleague Johna Burke’s talk about best practices in B2B public relations. She focused on several important areas that will always be key to our evolving industry.

Many departments within an organization have a methodical workflow. Accounting and procurement departments have a clear definition of their tasks, and they have a method for bringing in, assessing, and approving information,

PR departments and practitioners don’t exactly follow that type of workflow. Although they might create a template, or spreadsheet to plug in information, the template never quite ends up in its original shape.

PR practitioners are tasked with creating a workflow that provides clear direction for their organization. Everyone from customer service and administrative staff to C-suite executives need to understand what public relations workflow looks like, or what to expect under normal daily operating conditions.

Key to developing an effective communications plan is a firm grasp on the organization’s business strategy. Whether that strategy is education, driving sales and revenue, advertising, public relations, or marketing, understanding that focus allows PR practitioners to develop a workflow that focuses on an organization’s overarching corporate goals.

Integral to the business strategy is an understanding of the organization’s financial statements. Understanding a company’s profit and loss statement effectively aligns PR workflow and department objectives. Public companies produce quarterly and annual financial statements. Look for it, whether it’s publicly or internally available, and study it, because everything ties into to funding.

Do the research yourself. While educating yourself and your staff on your company’s financials, do the same with your competitor. Think twice about hiring someone outside of your organization to gather intelligence; you are your most effective resource.

In researching your competitor, don’t go for the thirty-thousand-foot overview. It’s too easy to misinterpret your market. Also, it’s critical to market against a competitor’s reality, not their myth, or your perception of their overarching goals. Know their concepts, understand their message. Understanding their marketing materials and how your competitor is spending money is equally beneficial to your overall success. The time you put into understanding all of these elements will provide the intelligence to back up what you will ultimately need to sell to your C-suite.

Next, study your customer. How do they find you?  What does their daily organic search look like? How do they get to your product or service? Are you creating SEO interesting enough to speak to your audience and capture your service or product’s attention?

That static audience no longer exists. Understand why people are using each platform and what they’re doing with the information. Are your followers influencers? Can they help your business? Are they able to cause action? How do you communicate with them?

Create thought leadership around the topics your followers have posted. Look for themes around the content you’ve created, or the content displayed about you. This provides an opportunity to invite followers interested in a topic that’s related to your service, product or industry. Create a saturated market by looking at what surrounds your brand and how those themes tie in.

Take an open-mined look at the conversations around your content. Ask someone else in your organization to interpret your message and help you clarify your message.

Talk to your audience. Talk to your advocates, the people who have had a good experience with your product or service. Reach out to your badvocates, those who have had a bad experience and need to be reconverted. Acknowledge the trolls – those posters, who no matter what are going to be out there spewing venom.. Instead, classify them and if necessary, call them out with, “Dear Troll, we know you don’t like us, however, you are not our target audience, so what we’re saying doesn’t resonate with you, but thank you for the comment, we so appreciate your feedback.” Ultimately people connect with people behind the message, not with brands or the message themselves.

The Keys to Facebook Campaign Success: Scale, Targeted Reach, and Measurement

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

The Keys to Facebook Campaign Success: Scale, Targeted Reach, and Measurement - BurrellesLuce Fresh IdeasBecause of its size, Facebook allows businesses to scale, or reach full audience objectives, with just one media partner. Speaking to the Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association (MIMA) and Minnesota Public Relations Society of America (MNPRSA), Joe Benarroch, manager of corporate communications and international ads at Facebook, invited the audience to think about the intersection of scale (over 1 billion users), targeted reach, and measurement. He says when Facebook speaks with partners (businesses and organizations of all sizes) they emphasize the importance of thinking about the people, process, and technology, which can bring creativity at scale.

“Don’t think in silos,” said Benarroch.  All areas of an organization – PR, marketing, advertising, media, creative, brand, and others – need to work for a common brand message. Facebook conducts “Publishing Garages” with large brands, which bring together all these organizational areas and their agencies to re-engineer the process of creating content. One agency in attendance said the process has been a great success for their client.

We understand Facebook has the scale of users, and it also has the targeted reach. When you combine them, you have the reach of a mass media with the ability to target your primary audience’s demographic(s). You also have the ability to cluster people together.

Benarroch shared some of Facebook’s best practices:

  • Start with business objectives (and not a social metric)
  • Structure for success (include the right people)
  • Art and Science (prove the effectiveness of the campaign)
  • Leveraging @ Scale (you can reach large targeted audiences)
  • Ship & Iterate (Unlike traditional channels, you will get immediate feedback on your content, so you can refine and improve it at any time.)

Think Mobile

Facebook says they are a mobile first company, so companies need to think about how their content will look on mobile. Out of the 128 million U.S. Facebook users, 101 million are active daily mobile users (469 million globally are on mobile daily).  On average, Facebook users check Facebook 14 times per day, and 46 percent will even check it while they are shopping or running errands.  The time spent on the desktop is 320 minutes per month compared to mobile, which is 785 minutes per month. Additional usage stats are available on Tech Crunch.

Because so many people are accessing the Facebook newsfeed via mobile, businesses can still reach them when they are on their summer vacation, which is normally a slow time for other media.

When it comes to content, remember to make it “thumb friendly” or consumable by thumbs (mobile-friendly). The Lay’s Potato Chips “Do Us a Flavor” campaign‘s reviewing of new flavors is a great example. The campaign was easy to share, easy to respond to, and it provided Lay’s with new flavors and a new product to market.

What’s your Facebook strategy? How are you including it in your media mix?

Debbie Friez BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas Blog Debbie Friez serves as tech editor for the Capitol Communicator and is also a consultant. Previously, she worked as Vice President, Major Accounts for BurrellesLuce. She originally joined BurrellesLuce at their Minnesota Clipping Service affiliate.

Friez was a senior account director for West Glen Communications, a broadcast PR services company. While at West Glen Communications, she was a frequent contributor to the DC Communicator newsletter.

She has a broad understanding of the technologies that are transforming the marketing and communications profession. She serves on the advisory board for the Capitol Communicator, the membership committee for the Minnesota chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, the national marketing committee for the Association of Women in Communications, and is a member and past president of Washington Women in Public Relations (WWPR).

Friez is a graduate of the University of North Dakota. She lives in Minneapolis, MN with her husband Paul Croteau, their two cats, Smokey and the Bandit, and Gus, the dog.

LinkedIn: dfriez Twitter: @dfriez

Debbie Friez serves as the Tech Editor for the Capitol Communicator and consultant. Previously, she worked as Vice President, Major Accounts for BurrellesLuce. She originally joined BurrellesLuce at their Minnesota Clipping Service affiliate.

Friez was a senior account director for West Glen Communications, a broadcast PR services company. While at West Glen Communications, she was a frequent contributor to the DC Communicator newsletter.

She has a broad understanding of the technologies that are transforming the marketing and communications profession. She serves on the advisory board for the Capitol Communicator, the membership committee for the Minnesota chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, the national marketing committee for the Association of Women in Communications, and is a member and past president of Washington Women in Public Relations (WWPR).

Friez is a graduate of the University of North Dakota. She lives in Minneapolis, MN with her husband Paul Croteau, their two cats, Smokey and the Bandit, and Gus, the dog.

LinkedIn: linkedIn.com/in/dfriez Twitter: @dfriez

Making Sense of Social Media and ROI in the Digital Age

Monday, October 21st, 2013

Making sense of social media and ROIby Tom Kowalski*

Let’s be honest, social media in terms of ROI is overwhelming and convoluted.  How does one make sense of it all in a digital age where everyone has a decreased attention span and increased multi-tasking?  It’s impossible to give 100 percent to anything you do while multitasking.  So, in this day of #hashtag and social media platform overload, how do we give 100 percent, while effectively managing the online chatter?

I attended three presentations at last week’s Digital PR Summit: “The Wake-Up Call: PR’s Role in the Social Landscape,” “How to Measure and Communicate Social Media ROI,” and “What’s in Your Toolbox? Social Media Monitoring Tools – the Paid and the Free.” The common denominator throughout each presentation was listening.  Are you a good listener?  Listening well will ultimately equate to success.

But how can we be great listeners with so many different social media platforms that each play a significant role in the marketing DNA of our organizations, and how can we do it in an efficient and effective way?  There are platforms out there that bundle your various social media accounts, offering a one-stop-shop to listen and engage.  But what if the budget doesn’t allow for that?

Trying to sell social media to your C-suite to obtain a budget can be tough.  Executives want to see instant tangible results.  So before you give your elevator pitch, have a customized strategy with the organization’s end goals clearly defined and present the information real-time.  Don’t overload execs and bring them into the entire realm of the social media vortex; rather, start small, perhaps using Twitter and Faceboook as a sample.  Remember that your focus should never be whether you’re good at social media, but whether you’re good at business.

If there’s one question clients constantly ask me, it’s to provide suggestions to better analyze their coverage.  There is no magic equation, as there are many different factors that need to be taken into consideration to show ROI.  Therefore, the question is always turned into a consultation to discuss the organization’s needs before presenting a detailed road map.  As companies and the digital age rapidly evolve, so will reporting methodologies.

It seems that we’ve come far, but there is still a long road ahead on analysis of coverage in the digital age.  One size does not fit all and it’s imperative that you’re a good listener with a strategy that is mindful of your organization’s goals.

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*As an account manager at BurrellesLuce, Tom Kowalski works closely with New York-based clients and PR agencies. Tom brings extensive knowledge of the PR industry with more than seven years of agency experience. He hopes to stimulate readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas by sharing useful information related to the communications industry and business in general, as well as different perspectives on customer service. LinkedIn: Tom Kowalski Twitter: @IntheknoTK Facebook: BurrellesLuce

The Outlander Guide to a Viral Social Media PR Campaign

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Tips for a viral social media campaign from Starz series OutlanderWith a saturated social media landscape and the constant pressure to keep things “new,” instigating a buzz-worthy PR campaign and keeping the flames alive is an active challenge.

One current campaign is making a social media splash: Outlander. Starz network is adapting the first in a series of seven (soon to be eight) books into a television show, and their social media campaign has grown every week since its inception in June.

Here’s how you can take a page from the Outlander book to maximize your social media PR campaign.

Engage with your base

The Outlander book series has an existing zealous fan base. Starz network is leveraging that base – which is devoted to the books and their author, Diana Gabaldon – to help the campaign become more widespread. By bringing existing brand evangelists into the fold, they’re not only keeping conversations about the show almost wholly positive, they’re spurring those evangelists to spread the word. The lesson: leverage your fan base to broaden your message.

Share new developments…

The Starz team shared casting information as they confirmed individual cast members. They’ve also shared progress on production and tidbits from locations and the set. Updating followers on exciting developments is crucial to maintaining engagement, so instead of insisting on total secrecy regarding updates on projects, new products, or campaigns, release salient tidbits at a slower but consistent pace. This keeps users anticipating the next announcement, but gives them enough time to discuss, process, and publicize the latest developments.

… But don’t share too much

Much as Starz keeps its fans in the know, there’s a lot they’re keeping under wraps. They haven’t released any photos from the set that show actors, costumes, or locations (though bystanders have shared many unauthorized on-set photos).

Though fans are clamoring to see photos of the two stars (and on-screen love interests) together in costume, the studio hasn’t released any. They also delayed announcing cast members for significant supporting roles, causing fans to generate plenty of social media threads speculating.

Allowing the base to know just enough but not too much keeps the hype and energy going. If you’re running a campaign for the launch of a new product or service, start the PR campaign as the project is being developed, sending out bits of information that will create interest without giving it all away. Think of it as building to the climax of a story, not just dumping information. Allowing room for speculation creates extra press and anticipation.

Pursue author engagement

Another thing in the TV show’s favor is that the books’ author, Diana Gabaldon, has a significant presence on Facebook and Twitter, and already engages in prolific brand evangelist interaction. Knowing how devoted the fans are to the books, Starz consulted with Gabaldon when casting, which helped assure fans that the brand was author-approved, regardless of how much say Gabaldon ultimately had in the casting.

Similar tactics can pay off for your PR campaign. If the subject of your campaign has dedicated, involved authors or creators, integrate that person into the campaign, especially if that person is known in his or her field as credible, a thought leader, or an influencer. Even if they’re not, the campaign can help establish them as such, at much benefit to your organization.

Get key players to engage

Starz uses its official account to disseminate information, but the show’s director, writers, and lead actors are all on Twitter. They all interact with fans and help spread announcements. In fact, one of the show’s leads, Sam Heughan, went from around 1,000 followers before the casting announcement to over 15,000.

Getting your key players to participate in social media campaigns can have a huge positive effect. Make sure to establish ground rules from the beginning – what’s permissible for sharing, how to interact with fans, how to deal with any negativity – and set a baseline for daily or weekly interactions. This will have the two-fold effect of diversifying users who see your social media efforts, but will also help turn your members in authorities, in turn bolstering your organization’s profile.

Build a presence around industry attendance

Last weekend, Gabaldon and the show’s writer and producer, Ronald D. Moore, made a joint panel appearance at New York Comic-Con. Not only did this stir up a lot of excitement on social media as they shared new insights, it also raised the profile of the show and made them visible to a larger audience.

If you’re attending industry events and conferences, incorporate that into your social media campaign. Create your own hashtag around the campaign and your presence, and before you get there, engage with people who will be going. Then, engage with them in person and on social media during the actual event. Post pictures, provide updates, and maintain an active presence throughout the event.

Stay true to the brand

Throughout everything, it’s essential to stay true to your brand’s values and vision. If the campaign deviates too sharply from what fans know, it could create a lot of confusion and animosity. It comes back to knowing your audience, harnessing your existing fan base, and building off of past success.

Measuring the Success of Your PR Campaign

Friday, October 11th, 2013

Tape measure bar chart“We don’t all measure the same things, measure the same ways, or use the same tools or terminology,” wrote Jack Felton in the forward to the 2002 edition of the Dictionary of Public Relations Measurement and Research. The dictionary unifies the nomenclature of PR and media measurement, but once you know the vocabulary, it’s time for the down-and-dirty work of actually measuring.

David Rockland, partner and managing director of global research at Ketchum, said of the principles of PR measurement, that “Public relations has evolved at an extremely rapid pace of the past decade, and with that evolution must come a comprehensive and effective way of measuring its value.” Within are some of the most effective measurement tips to assess the progress of your PR campaign.

Establish Goals

Every successful PR campaign starts from clearly-defined, measurable goals. Is your aim to create brand awareness, to generate leads, to increase sales, or to position your organization as an industry leader? The scope of your organization’s goals affects methods of measurement and definitions of success.

Set Benchmarks

Establish your benchmarks based on what enables you to clearly, quantitatively, or qualitatively determine success. Most PR campaigns utilize media outreach, so it’s imperative to track tone, prominence, share of voice, and page visits. These are central to tracking how your key messaging plays in the media.

For goals that influence target groups, include metrics like brand awareness, recognition, credibility, and image. Business-oriented goals like increasing revenue, brand value, or market share are best measured through market analytics and sales tracking.

Quality

The quality of media coverage your PR campaign receives is just as – if not more – important than the quantity of coverage it receives. Don’t focus solely on circulation or media value; qualitative measures like tone, prominence, and share of voice are indicators of campaign success.

The Right Quantity

Though Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE) has proved a popular PR yardstick, there are more revealing quantitative measures to use. These quantitative measures don’t need to be confined within narrow parameters, and the most effective quantitative measures distinguish placement and publication prominence and message variety.

Social Media

Now that social media is an inherent component to most PR campaigns, it must also be measured, and there are plenty of social media tools to help. When monitoring social media platforms, look out for discussions relevant to your organizations and become an active participant. Approach social media with an analytical eye and identify patterns, trends, and opinions.

Quantify the results of your social media efforts by shares, recommendations, retweets, followers, reach, and tone, as well as social media measurement standards such as impact and value, influence, relevance, reach, impressions, and sentiment.

Remember to identify who your most active users are. Active users can not only help spread your social media messages, they may also be prime candidates for becoming brand evangelists.

Best Practices for Measurement

Choose measurement benchmarks that can consistently track progress over extended periods of time. Keep your analysis on a manageable scale; limit your analysis to a few select publications or competitors, or keep the tracking within a shorter amount of time.

Finally, make use of experts. This could mean enlisting internal experts on tracking and coding, or it could mean hiring a third-party expert to provide a comprehensive, robust measurement report.  Make sure that any expert fully understands your goals and objectives, and be sure to ask plenty of questions so you know exactly how things are measured and the depth of analysis your campaign requires.

How do you track your PR progress? Which metrics do you find most revealing?