Five lies about PR measurement that can sink your strategy and career

By Julie Wright—President and Founder

Twitter: @JulieWright


Last month I attended the Ragan PR Daily PR measurement conference in Miami. The two-day event was crammed with hot tips and excellent case studies on PR measurement–how to design measurable campaigns, incorporate analytics, conduct surveys and develop metrics that matter.

Businessman pointing graphs and symbols Free PhotoIt is increasingly clear to anyone in the public relations profession that PR measurement is something our industry needs to embrace. With marketing budgets and margins under constant pressure, companies are looking to optimize their investments across paid, earned, shared and owned strategies. Not only does PR need to stack up against highly measurable digital strategies, it also needs to take digital paid, shared and owned tactics under its wing to produce more integrated, measurable campaigns.

After two full days of discussion in Miami, I was even more convinced of these truths and returned to San Diego fired up to confront some of the biggest whoppers about PR measurement head on. So here are my top five falsehoods. I’d love to hear your take on this list and maybe together we can all help move the PR field in the right direction.

LIE #1: PR just isn’t measurable.

If you are in PR and truly believe this, you’re toast. Sure, PR is not as easy to measure as digital marketing, but it is far from impossible to measure!

It requires a little more legwork and setting aside some campaign resources to do it well. But, keep in mind, the gold standard for PR excellence has always started with research and ended with evaluation—a.k.a. measurement.

Don’t believe the lie that PR isn’t measurable. Instead, refresh yourself on best practices in PR research and evaluation.  

  • Read “Public Relations Research for Planning and Evaluation” by Walter K. Lindenmann on the Institute for Public Relations’ website.
  • Check out the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation in Communications and their Integrated Evaluation Framework. AMEC has developed an interactive online tool that walks you through each step in the PR planning and evaluation process. The tool is designed to help support campaign evaluation; however, you can just as easily use it to guide campaign development to ensure you’re creating measurable campaigns from the start.
  • Read how others have designed measurable campaigns. AMEC has an annual awards program and shares case studies about the winning campaigns.
  • Check out the measurement resources provided by the Public Relations Society of America. It has collected all the measurement resources and links you could wish for in one place.

LIE #2: Our campaign goal is to raise awareness.

This is also a lie. As Joseph Ogden, BYU public relations professor, threw down in Miami, “If anyone tells you their only goal is awareness, they’re lying.” No one wants their PR campaign to simply raise awareness. They want their campaign to drive people to take some measurable behavior—to buy a product, drink less soda, visit a destination, attend an event, enroll in a course, submit their email, visit the website, vote, download the white paper or make a donation.

Hold yourself to a higher standard and help your client or boss understand that you do more than just “create buzz.” (Eye roll.)

It’s easier if you start by developing an objective that clearly states the behavior you want your stakeholders to take, by when and how often. Once you know your behavioral objective, work backwards and think about your informational objective–the message or knowledge your stakeholders need to receive and internalize—and the motivational objective—the emotional connection they need to make—to drive them to take the desired behavior.

Once you’ve set your intention from awareness through motivation and behavior, you can start to research your stakeholders to find out what their level of awareness and knowledge is and what motivates them so you can develop your strategy.

LIE #3: PR people aren’t numbers people.

That’s B.S. Don’t be boxed in by this lie. Good PR people are good storytellers, and one of the most powerful storytelling elements available to you in 2017 is data. Don’t shy away from it.

IBM Digital Experience Manager Brandi Boatner put it another way during the Miami conference: “Congrats, you’re all data scientists.”

Boatner pointed out the many data streams at our disposal today. There are internal sources that are coming from your advertising, website and internal processes. Analyze them as well as external streams you can study such as news trends, social media trends and competitive intelligence.

Google’s Louis Gray pointed conference attendees to Google Trends, a site where you can see in real-time what the world or the U.S.A. is searching, what news stories are trending and find interesting reports on search behaviors.

If you’d like to dig deeper into your audience’s awareness, beliefs or behaviors, check out Google Survey. Use this tool to cost-effectively add your questions to consumer surveys pushed out to targeted demographic groups via a network of publishers.Image result for PR measurement memes

Or if you have data of your own that you’d like to put into an impressive visualization, Gray pointed to Google Public, a data visualization tool. And don’t forget plain old Microsoft Excel. It will recommend the optimal charts and graphs for you based on your spreadsheet data.

It’s a data-rich world. Your company and clients are collecting data all the time. Extract that data to find amazing trends or to dispute conventional wisdom. Maybe there’s a surprising correlation between weather patterns and shopping behaviors, or day of the week and donations. The point is, you won’t know if you don’t look. And you won’t look if you think it’s outside of your skillset.

So, call a meeting with your company’s data guru and start spit balling with your new best friends in I.T.

LIE #4: More data is the answer.

It’s not about metrics. It’s about insights. And it’s not about the quantity of data points. It’s about their relevance to your goal.

Over a third of social marketers reported recently that they struggle to “distill data into insights and actions.” And it’s no wonder. Facebook and Google Analytics are just two sources that can generate a massive amount of data on your target audiences’ behavior.

Going back to your informational and behavioral objectives, it’s important to pinpoint a handful of key performance indicators to show that your message is reaching your target audience and that they are taking the behaviors that your client or boss really cares about.

You don’t need to track them all. You just need to focus on the metrics that matter and then go beyond tracking to analysis.

LIE #5: Setting measurable PR objectives sets you up to fail.

The old saying applies here: you can’t improve what you don’t measure.

It is not a failure to set measurable objectives and then fall short of them.

The failure is in not understanding why you didn’t meet your objectives. Were they not SMART enough–specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time dimensioned? Was your strategy missing an element? Was your target getting the information but not motivated sufficiently or too inconvenienced to take action?

If you’ve set measurable goals, you are forced to ask yourself these questions and better understand your successes and challenges, which will make you better.

The only real failure that should scare you is the failure to even try. Or as another old saying goes, no one plans to fail, they just fail to plan.

Let us know what you think. How has your experience with PR measurement been? What tips or tools have you discovered? What obstacles have you encountered with your team, boss, budgets or clients? We’re all in this together and I’d love to hear what you think. Tweet me at @juliewright or @wrightoncomm.

How to Strengthen your Business with Diversity

By Ronda Williams—Marketing & Administrative Coordinator

Twitter: @R_Williams11


Diversity is defined as…

an instance of being composed of differing elements or qualities.

(W)OC has a diverse team of experts in various fields including communications, social media, public relations, graphic design, videography, and more. Not only is our team diverse but the industries we cover are also; this makes for a complementary partnership. Who says you can’t be an expert in more than one field?

The Facts about Diversity:

According to the Harvard School of Law, “the presence of an industry expert independent director is associated with an increase of 4.6% in firm value.”

Whether it be a firm, agency, or business having an industry expert will add to the value of your company.

Another fact  says, “40% of respondents in a recent survey of S&P 500 firms identified industry expertise as a desired background.”

We all could learn a thing-or-two from the business strategies of the S&P 500 firms.

Diversity in a Contagious Atmosphere:

At (W)OC we have a positive atmosphere that makes for less stress and allows us to GSD (Get Stuff Done).  Everyone here works together in  the benefit of achieving the tasks at hand.

Mark Nadler says, “You want people who understand the business and the industry that you’re in so they can think strategically.”

Having a team that is comprised of a diverse background makes for a winning team that can strategize together for the big win.

To put it simply, “a diverse team makes for a strong team!”

He goes on to say, “the roles of the individual board member, the outside person, is to pull the two sides together, to create a link and to bridge different opinions and different points of view.”  Again, backing up the concept of,

A diverse team = A strong team!

At (W)OC we help strengthen each other with our expertise. We’re always lending advice and coming together for a team huddle to create winning strategies for our client partner’s. Having that one team member that is an expert in such industries can be helpful to bring together both sides of a vision.

To learn more about the diverse industries that we cover please visit, www.WrightOnComm.com or give us a call at (858) 755-5411 and let us help bring your visions to life!

Does Listening to Music at Work Increase Productivity?

By Ronda Williams­­ Marketing & Administrative Coordinator’

Twitter: @R_Williams11


“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything” -Plato

Here at (W)right On Communications we are encouraged to turn up our music and jam out as we work.  When you enter our office you might hear Julie Wright “fist pumping” to some EDM as she finishes up a report or Grant Wright “deep in focus” with some smooth jazz while he draws up a proposal. Then there is Keely Smith singing to Adele or Chance Shay listening to his “brotha-from-another-mother,” the artist formerly known as Kanye West. No matter what time of the day, we’re all listening to music as we work.

One morning I was wondering if listening to music while you work increases your productivity, so I started to research and here is what I found:

It’s good for repetitive work!

 “Various studies have indicated that, in general, people who listened to music while they worked on repetitive tasks performed faster and made fewer errors.”

How music affects the brain…

According to examinedexistence.com,

“The meter, timber, rhythm and pitch of music are managed in areas of the brain that deal with emotions and mood.”

So listening to music while you work should not only increase your productivity but also put you in a better mood. This article goes on to say,

            “A great way to relieve the tensions that bring you down is to listen to music. Soothing tunes can help relax your tensed muscles, as well as pace down your breathing rate.”

Having a relaxed mind and muscles can also help prevent prolonged work injuries to your arms and wrists.

Crew.com quoted neuroscientist and musician, Jamshed Bharucha, as saying:

 “Creative domains, like music, allow humans to connect in a synchronized way, helping us develop a group identity and makes us more likely to work together – which was an immensely important advantage for keeping the human species alive.”

Not only will listening to music while you work put you in a better mood but it will increase team morale in the workplace.

Just remember that you are in control of your mood and stress levels at work. Tomorrow is a brand new day so try something new and listen to some music while you’re getting stuff done.

Want to read more of our blogs? Visit our blog home page or stop by our social channels (see below) and see what we’re up to.

Five Pro Tips For Mouth-Watering Food Photographs

By Shae Geary—Senior Communications Strategist


Ready. Set. Selfie!

We all love showing off our personalized pictures of food, travel, and fun experiences, especially during holidays. With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, we’re betting you’ll be sharing some delicious eats with your sweetie or besties. To make sure your food selfie skills are perfectly polished, we’ve delved into our archives for today’s blog. Here are five pro tips from San Diego food photographer Sam Wells for producing mouth-watering and Instagram worthy photos for this Valentine’s Day xoxo.

In Hospitality Public Relations, we often rely on images to help tell our stories – a pristine white sand beach; a mojito in a mason jar; a field in bloom. With the rise of social media and the availability of high quality cameras on most smart phones, photography is often how our guests tell their vacation stories, particularly when it comes to food.Tip1

Despite having such ready access to cameras, however, most of us remain photographically challenged. A good camera phone isn’t enough to turn our latest gastronomic delight into the envy of all our friends: placement, lighting and composition are all important elements in the quest to capture delicious food memories. Sounds difficult, right? That’s when you turn to the pros.

I was recently fortunate to work with Sam Wells, a respected San Diego food photographer who shoots for publications like Carlsbad Magazine and San Diego Magazine. While I watched him work his photographic magic, it occurred to me that he must have a load of helpful hints for us “do-it-yourselfers.” Sam was more than happy to give his insights on what makes for great food photography. Follow his tips and you’ll be on your way to drool worthy food on Instagram in no time.

Food Photography Tips from Photographer Sam Wells

Tip3

Tip 1: Light quality is everything. 

I shoot most of my food in areas I call “transition zones” – where the light is transitioning from light to dark. Windows, open doors, and the outer edges of shaded areas all produce beautiful directional light. If there are any conflicting tungsten lights in the restaurant, try to block them to create clean light.

Tip 2: Create a strong composition.  

Negative space can be a great asset to a photo. Using the “rule of thirds” always helps – just imagine there are two horizontal and vertical lines dividing up the frame into nine rectangles. Place the most interesting point of focus on any two lines or where the lines intersect, and you’ll instantly have a better-composed image. Add a few more details to fill the frame, and you’re off and running.

Tip 3: Steady your hand.  tip4

Motion blur can ruin a photo, so if you are hand-holding the camera make sure to take a few and be gentle when you push the shutter button. Make sure your camera or phone doesn’t move when you shoot the photo. I always use a tripod to ensure maximum sharpness.

Tip 4: Show some life and action. 

Have a hand reaching for something. Take a bite. Make it messy. Do anything that makes the food look delicious and enticing.

Tip 5: Styling can make any dish interesting. 

I always use linens and napkins to help spice things up a bit. Adding other elements allows you to create a more interesting composition by leading the eye through the image. Think of image flow – a fork placed in the lower right hand corner pointed towards the dish will lead the viewer’s eye towards the focal point.tip6

Keep this handy for your next dining adventure and you’ll definitely have some Insta worthy food photos. Need more photo inspiration? Follow the latest in Sam’s food reel on Instagram at @swellsphoto.

We team up with photographers like Sam to help tell your hospitality story. Get in touch with me, (Shae Geary, Senior Communications Strategist), if you’d like help getting your hospitality story out there.

B2B PR Best Practices For 2017

By Chance Shay─ Director B2B and Infrastructure Development

Twitter: @ChanceShay


 “Why aren’t sales through the roof? We’re the best in our industry.”

If I had a dollar for every executive that’s thought this to his or herself (or said it out loud), I’d be able to retire. They eventually come to the conclusion that it’s simply because the people who should be buying their product or service just haven’t heard about them. To a great degree, they’re right. The obvious solution to this, of course, is to tell these people about their brand and everything the company does.

That’s where they’re wrong.

The solution to attracting, closing and retaining new customers isn’t to tell people about the product or service, it’s to show that the product or service solves their problem better, faster, cheaper and with less headache than anything else out there. This is even more important for B2B brands, whose customers are naturally more discerning. In fact, 60 percent of all companies choose B2B vendors after actively trying to solve a problem and researching solutions. For B2B brands, this means the more difficult question becomes: how do we show our customers that we’re the best solution for them?

Because there are so many factors to account for- the industry, competitors, market conditions, decision makers, etc.- there is no short answer to this. Truth is that audiences are more fragmented than ever. So to help decide where to stack your chips, here are five marketing pitfalls to ditch and five fresh techniques B2B brands should incorporate into their PR and marketing strategy.

Don’t: Focus exclusively on content marketing

  • One dimensional marketing hasn’t been effective since salesmen walked door to door in the 60s. Don’t get me wrong, content marketing is a great way to increase the odds of your brand being discovered by those actively looking for a solution like yours. A brand just can’t put all its eggs in one basket.

Do: Utilize a comprehensive and diversified communications strategy

  • Ever heard of the PESO Model? It’s an acronym that represents the four types of communication channels: Paid (channels you have to pay for), Earned (like media), Shared (essentially social platforms) and Owned (channels a brand controls). It’s a model that works well for B2B brands because it provides an easy to follow framework. Content marketing falls under the Owned channel, meaning that a brand only doing content marketing is missing 75% of the communication opportunity. Even as a true PR evangelist I will tell you that it’s unrealistic to think that earned media is all you need to reach your growth goals. Competing for attention is harder than ever because of where stakeholders get information (and thus how they’re influenced) is fragmented. B2B brands need to strategically integrate all of their communication channels in order to holistically cultivate prospects and beat the competition.

Don’t: Get press coverage and let that be that.

giphy

  • That’s like qualifying for the New York City marathon but then not running another day before the race. Landing coverage in an outlet with a readership of 250,000 does not mean a quarter million people saw your article. It means there was an opportunity that 250,000 readers could read about your post. Don’t let the value from all the hard work that went into identifying, securing and coordinating the piece end once it’s published.

Do: Promote your press

  • This is where having an integrated communication plan kicks in. Anybody in sales will tell you that they make contact with prospective customers at different cycles of the sales cycle. Make their job easier by showcasing press that both differentiates and helps (soon to be) leads evaluate your product. Showcase your press on social channels, your blog, newsletters and trade show materials. You can even include it in your email signature and in presentations by (including screen shots of headlines and any awesome comments the article received).

Don’t: Only write white papers to show thought leadership

  • White papers and articles for peer reviewed journals require a lot of effort, but they’re great tools to showcase how talented a team a brand has. However, often times the paper is read by other smart people working in a similar fashion as the writer, not the target audience. Luckily, there are new ways to demonstrate to potential customers that a brand has a team of experts.

Do: Be a conversation starter

  • While white papers are great at providing information, conversations help develop relationships, build trust and can be information. If you know your audience, you know what they’re interested in, where they get information and what strikes a chord in them. Show that you know this by heading to a forum (likely LinkedIn groups) and start a conversation around topics relevant to your audience. Write a headline you think will make your audience’s eyes bulge. Pose a provocative question or offer an opinion that is against the grain. Choose a topic you know the audience will want to opine about. Remember, the goal is to first get them talking and then you can jump in with expert input. Don’t be promotional or salesy. React to and opine, not promote and push. I feel like this goes without saying but you can visit any LinkedIn group and see a number of smart people breaking this cardinal rule.

Don’t: Wait to be invited to speak

  • Every brand and person operates within their own bubble. Things that are a big deal in one bubble aren’t even noticeable in others. Some brands make the mistake of thinking they (or their leaders) are such a big deal that phones will be ringing with requests to present and speak. Even if a brand does get invites to share thoughts at certain events, they could be missing out on an opportunity to parlay that into additional exposure.

Do: Be your own biggest cheerleader

  • Sometimes doing great work is enough to get noticed, but often times you have to be like Ron Burgundy and tell people to come look at how good looking you are. Use great press coverage and presenting on past panels to secure new speaking opportunities. One idea is to use an article as the center piece of a pitch to present on a similar theme or trend. This shows that you are indeed an expert and gives you credibility. If you’ve been included as an expert on a certain topic or have a published by-lined article forecasting a trend that materialized, you’re a great pick to speak about that topic at a conference or trade-show. For people whose job is to select panelists and presenters, their goal is for attendees to say, “that presenter blew me away.” Help them help you.

Don’t: Think you have “an audience”

  • Even if you think you have a “target audience” you’re wrong. Truth is that for most brands (with the exception of the most narrowly niche companies out there) there are many segmented audiences that make up your collective stakeholders and customers. Brands must avoid the mistake of thinking the similarities between various customers is enough to consider them one group.

Do: Segment your audience

  • A very savvy PR expert named Ben Veal said, “The key to successful B2B PR is accurately identifying your audience and their drivers, and then developing tailored content that is specifically designed to engage and resonate. This content needs to be released at the right time, and in the right format, to ensure that the decision-makers you are targeting are reached and understand the message.” There are a number of ways to segment your audience- by title, industry, demographics, psychographics, geography, etc. What all these characteristics speak to is the difference in how they are influenced and make purchase decisions. For example, if your customers are retailers there could be young, hip retailers with one store in Brooklyn who love what they hear through Buzzfeed and their customers’ experience is the most important thing to them and then there could be retailers who have been in business for 40 years with franchises across the southwest U.S. that read industry magazines and are focused on keeping costs down. They’re both retailers, but what their pain points are and how you show them that your product is the best solution for that pain point can be drastically different.

Any way you slice it, there are more opportunities to communicate than there is budget to do so (I’m still searching for the unicorn that is the unlimited budget). Every brand will need to get a precise understanding of their customers and make smart decision on where to focus their efforts. The good news is that by knowing these five tips brands can be more effective executing their plan no matter what shape it takes.

HR Communications: You can’t hire top talent because your job ads are lame

Communications

By Katherine Beaulieu─ Communications Strategist

@katstubborngoat


It’s every HR Communications staff person’s nightmare—posting an excellent job opportunity that isn’t attracting top candidates while having a hiring manager full of helpful suggestions, like “Why don’t you advertise in Arizona?” or “My brother just hired someone through LinkedIn, why don’t you try that.” or “Can’t we just post the job in the Wall Street Journal?”

If you’re already trying every tactic in the book and still can’t attract top talent to your company, one simple place to start your analysis is with your job ads. Maybe you can’t hire top talent because your job ads are lame.

What makes a job ad lame? All the same things that make any marketing and PR efforts lame – which mostly boil down to not connecting with your potential audience. Are you writing a job ad that sells an intriguing experience or are you writing one that reads more like a legal waiver with grave consequences if its breached?

Businessman in troubles Free Vector Think about how many resources your organization invests into reaching out to new customers and developing new markets. It’s a process that usually includes writing key messaging, identifying consumers’ pain points and developing a memorable brand.

Now think about how much time you’ve spent developing your job ad. Think about the time you spent identifying the key messaging, studying your target markets and identifying pain points. Have you put much thought into it?

For starters, have you looked at the job from a “What’s in it for me” standpoint?

  • What turns your target audience on? Do they like autonomy, or do they prefer a more structured environment?
  • How does this target audience gain a sense of accomplishment and how does the job deliver that?
  • What does a good day look like? What are the amazing milestones the employee can expect to hit?

Recent statistics listed the unemployment rate at 4.8 percent in San Diego County, compared to 5.3 percent for California and 4.7 percent nationwide. By many economists’ measures, this is nearly full employment, which means finding top talent is getting a lot more competitive. If your job ads speak directly to qualified candidates, you’re going to be one step ahead of the competition.

Kat Beaulieu has expertise in HR marketing and communications—from upgrading your job ads to developing full employer brands. Reach out if you’d like to chat about your HR communications needs.