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#MeasurePR + PRTech = PR’s Bright Future

Last Tuesday Rebekah co-hosted Shonali Burke’s first #measurePR Twitter chat of 2015 alongside Deirdre Breakenridge.

The topic? Why, PRTech of course.

Considering these are 3 of the smartest (not to mention loveliest) ladies to ever utter the letters PR, it’ll come as no surprise that the rousing chat was chock full of wisdom and key industry takeaways.

Curious about what hot topics were discussed, what PR pros should be paying attention to, and why PRTech is proving to a defining force in 2015?

Of course you are.

Below is a taste of the juicy chat tidbits as well as a few takeaways guaranteed to take your work to the next level.

Let’s get after it…

PR bright futureOn the importance of measuring PR:

  • “Understanding [PR] performance let’s you enhance, iterate.” – Julie Diaz-Asper
  • “If we want a seat at the ‘grown ups table’ we have to earn it via metrics.” – David Rockland
  • “We cannot say ‘PR drives bottom line’ and not embrace measurement. Either we’re integral or peripheral to business.” – John Friedman

In case it wasn’t clear from the astute observations above, PR measurement is a non negotiable. Proper measurement helps us optimize and improve, while clearly demonstrating the value PR. In regards to PR measurement, let’s make a pact here and now: We vow to be practical, produce great work, and measure our asses off. How about you?

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How PRTech is reseeding the PR Landscape

This week we let go of our blog reins. Mostly because we don’t like to talk about ourselves, but also because we recently met an impressive young women named Alexis Anthony whose PR prowess deserves some love.

Rebekah met Alexis back in October at the Cision/Vocus #FutureofPR event in Washington D.C. Needless to say, she left a lasting impression. Alexis is currently studying Public Relations and Business Analytics (our favorite combo!) at the University of Maryland.

We were taken by her philosophy on PR’s evolution, so we picked her brain about the recent launch of our newest site: PRTech.co.

Alexis spent the day at AirPR last week and from everything we saw and heard, we are certain this lady personifies the PR professional of the future.

We hope you enjoy her take on PRTech’s role in creating a robust, thriving industry.

How PRTech is reseeding the PR Landscape

By Alexis Anthony

As odd as it sounds, PR pros could learn a thing or two from lawn care specialists. Yeah, weird idea I know, but bear with me. Imagine a golf course. Aside from the everyday mowing and trimming, ground gurus keep the fairways and greens in pristine condition through a process called reseeding.

They don’t actually re-plant seeds. They apply more seed where the grass is thin or bare to make it more robust and add structure to the landscape.

So how does this tie in to PR?

PRTech.co logo (b)We’ve talked again and again about the importance of PR measurement, data literacy, and understanding technology. It’s the industry revolution we call PRTech.

But many seasoned practitioners resist these emerging PR tenants because things like automation and universal analytics feel unnatural. After all, the industry has gotten along for 200 years without them, right?

What those practitioners may not see are the thin or bare patches their PR landscapes. Instead of thinking about PRTech as replanting the industry, we should see it as reseeding – filling barren cavities with data and technology.

Still with me? Here are three reasons we need to think of PRTech as a movement to reseed the industry and three ways we can jumpstart the process.

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5 PRedictions for 2015

With 2014 quickly rolling to a close, it’s about that time for everyone and their mother to bust out their crystal ball and make industry predictions for the coming year. Not one to buck the trend, we’re (#obviously) going to offer up our own take on what’s coming down the pipeline. However, much of the […]


Medium: A Peek At The Blueprint Of Publishing’s Future

On June 25th, Medium announced the hiring of Steven Levy, longtime technology writer at Wired, to be the editor-in-chief of an unnamed technology site associated with their platform. Back in April 2013, Medium acquired Matter. The publisher has since become Medium’s defacto product and functionality testing ground. If you’re curious to see what Medium might […]


Leaders Of The Pack: 15 Companies Blazing The Brand Journalism Trail

The proliferation of digital combined with the democratization of information via the Internet has shifted our information consumption habits dramatically. Where once we were comfortable being spoon-fed, each of us now possesses the tools to be active information seekers demanding real-time answers for our every want and need.

As consumers, we have become empowered to choose the information we engage with and as a result, the relationship between brands and media has also adjusted to serve our emerging behavior patterns.

There are more opportunities than ever for brands and businesses to self-publish and directly communicate with their customers. Owned content is a powerful vehicle for connecting with your audience, and brands are jumping on the opportunity to establish outlets that create a direct consumer touch point.

Brand journalism is still learning to walk but even in its infancy, there are many lessons to be learned from those blazing the trail. Below are 15 companies whose brand journalism outlets are chock-full of key takeaways, best practices, and innovative approaches.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to brand journalism, so check em’ all out and decide for yourself: Whose channel reigns supreme?

1. GE

Beautifully designed, impeccably curated, and impossibly clickable, GE’s online magazine features stories about innovation, science and technology. Along with viewpoints on important issues regarding GE and the world, GE Reports should be applauded for its uniqueness and its uncanny ability to capture attention.

2. Eloqua

The bottom line about Eloqua’s channel is it’s all about the bottom line. Exploring the role innovation plays in revenue generation, Eloqua looks at demand generation, operational efficiency and marketing analytics. Point blank: It’s all about revenue.

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Killer content: 6 newsletters not to be missed

Admit it. You receive at least one email a day that gets you all giddy. Maybe you’re inspired by quirky copywriting or maybe those tips on how to metamorphose social content into conversions gave you something cool to share at your last marketing meeting. Don’t be shy —we all gain inspiration from somewhere.

Here, I invite you into my personal closet full of content crushes. Sign up for their newsletters, read their blogs like juicy tabloids (often and fanatically), and reap the rewards of being informed by some of best in the business.

Without further ado, I bring you 6 newsletters content marketers should sign up for right now:

1. For cream-of-the-crop copywriters: Copyblogger.

This blog is all about how to streamline your content creation, measure success, and storytell in a way that’s both authentic and branded. From how to spice up bland text to “The 5 Things Every (Great) Marketing Story Needs,” Copyblogger shares the ins and outs of words that work. The best part? The content is stripped dry of overused jargon. It’s straight-forward, quality content about well…content!

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The Most Useless Blog Post There Ever Was

While everyone else is off drinking beer and eating hot dogs, overachieving startups like us are busy working. Well…working and culling together useless pieces of information for your entertainment.

Why are we doing this, you might ask?

It could be because we’re a self-proclaimed bunch of weirdos. Or it could be because no one gives a rat’s ass about anything anyone says for the rest of this week (helloooooooo, I have much more important things to think about, like sparklers and BBQ).

But really, it’s to amuse ourselves while we fantasize about an extra day off. Especially our Chief Architect, Patrick, who is wearing the same clothes today as he was wearing yesterday – much to our surprise this morning – because he was here all night. Working. And probably thinking about fireworks.

Without further ado, we bring you 4 things you really didn’t need to know, but now you do know.

1.  When you yawn and stretch at the time, you are “pandiculating.”

Yawn Stretch

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PR Summit and PRTech Award Notables & Quotables

Last week was a whirlwind of PR awesomeness. We had the pleasure of attending the 5th annual PR Summit in San Francisco (thank you Shaun Saunders), the Publicity Club of New York’s New Media Influencers Luncheon (thank you Peter Himler), and the first round of AirPR’s PRTech Awards in NYC (thank you Mediabistro and Porter Gale).

Curious about what hot topics are being discussed across the country by PR pros, media, marketers, and technologists alike?

Of course you are.

Below you will find three PR trends that permeated every event, oh-so-tweet-worthy PR tidbits, and the individuals leading the PRTech evolution that should definitely be on your radar.

Let’s kick it off with the trends, shall we?

#1 – Data must be used to drive marketing and PR decisions

No longer can PR rely on purely anecdotal or observed data. For the first time ever, companies and publishers have insights into what is working in terms of content and messages and PR professionals across the globe are now required to use data to drive and optimize their efforts.

#2 – The role of PR is finally getting the credit it deserves due to technological innovation

The lines are blurring between social, content, media relations, media buying, and analytics with PR assuming more responsibility in all of these areas. PR is breaking out of its silo and establishing itself as one of the most important layers in any organization. Technology and measurement is helping cement PR’s seat the table as a key business driver and decision maker.

#3 – Social, content, and measurement are the 3 elements shaping the future of the PR

This trifecta demands that PR rock at the intersection of the strategic insight and creative thought. From social and blogging, to partnerships, thought leadership, contributory writing and beyond, PR pros must create relevant communication in real time and ensure all pieces of content marketing are connected, supportive and of course, driven by data.

And now, in case you’re looking to quote bomb Twitter this week, we’ve got you covered.

From PR Summit in San Francisco

On content:

  • “To better relate to people…Write an amazing story first and then fit your company in later.” – John Rampton
  • People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Start with the “Why?” not the “What?” – Jill Rowley
  • “We are programmed to pay attention to things that violate our expectations.” – Ben Parr

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Airing PR’s Dirty (Data) Laundry

Let’s be honest. In an era when even the most challenged of industries are employing data-driven decision making, there’s no reason PR shouldn’t be able to catch up. As media mongers, we’ve long relied on vanity metrics to prove our work’s worth. From AVE (advertising value equivalency) to print circulation, these dirty-data metrics are often muddied with inaccuracies, and they fail to strategically inform our work.

Dirty Data is:

  • Incomplete
  • Misleading
  • Non-integrated

Think about the falsities of “print circulation” as a metric. Does the number of newspapers sitting in an untouched stack by the doorway of a coffee shop really equate to the type of exposure you’re looking for? Does that number help you decide what story to pitch next? Or, are you simply assuming the success of past campaigns? If the latter, you’re definitely playing with the little devil we call dirty data.

Reporting the success of a news story you’ve pitched using dirty-data metrics (aka “vanity metrics”) may show why you deserve your job, but it doesn’t tell you how to do your job better.

Before you blast off into a dark mood because you’ve just realized you’ve been working with faulty numbers this whole time, know that you’re not alone. It’s a problem within the industry and there’s already a solution out there — it just hasn’t been embraced widely yet. Why not be one of the first? I’m talking about improving your data literacy and applying clean data to your PR strategy.

Clean Data is:

  • Devoid of inaccuracies
  • Interpreted in a uniform way
  • The basis of a strategy that works

Here, I examine three companies — that have nothing to do with PR — to demonstrate how data-driven decision making help achieve better business performance. Think of it as “data inspiration.”

How could PR can benefit from similar business tactics?

squareData Beast #1: Square

Did you ever hear the story about the little, Seattle-based ice cream shop that got mobile and tablet payment provider Square to revert to an earlier version of software? The NPR article “Technology May Turn You Into A Bigger Tipper” outlines the stellar story of community-driven data and service.

In the merchant-preferred version of the Square software, customers were presented with a screen that suggested optional tip amounts before they could get to the signature page to complete their transactions. In the new software version, the tipping option appeared on the same page as the signature box. There wasn’t as much of an incentive to give a few bucks for a job well done, and tipping declined (in a huge way) instantly. Square’s solution? Revert to the preferred software version immediately and avoid the wrath of unhappy merchants (and potentially “bad PR”).

What the PR Industry can learn from Square:

  • Community feedback is invaluable data.
  • The ability to pivot on a dime should be a best practice for any business.

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Subtle Shots of Storytelling

I’ve been thinking a lot about storytelling and the strength of tiny tales. Small stories are kind of like taking a shot of [insert your preferred booze type here]. It may be little, but man can it pack a punch!

In business, we tend to turn our attention to BIG stories: product launches, rebranding strategies, funding announcements. But what about all the other opportunities we have to communicate our narrative that go unsung?

If every touch point is an opportunity to tell our story, why should conventional components lack the creativity and character that go into product launches? Take this rock star example from Kentucky-based design and branding firm, Cornett.

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