As trust in advertising wanes, so should PR pros’ trust in AVE as a measurement of our work. So one of my favorite quotes from the day was in the panel ‘Using Data to Optimize the PR Strategy and Measure Bottom Line Results’, just a short quip from Michele Frost of PAN Communications:
“AVE? Don’t tie yourself to ad networks!”
- Michele, PAN Communications
The panel also dove into an interesting topic for the modern PR pro...the importance (and expense!) of content:
"We’re all content marketers now…content is time consuming/expensive; [PR pros] must show how that can be leveraged for earned media."
- Alison Kwong, Bazaarvoice
Which tied to an interesting comment from the panel ‘Finding Your Brand’s Superpower’:
"PR, social media, editorial content - every idea we have integrates all 3 - no one thing can work in a silo..."
-Dan Mazei, Senior Director, Global Newsroom at Reebok
So, as PR pros, how involved are you with the content team or strategy? Is there overlap with themes and campaigns? Is one feeding the other? If you are leveraging PR analytics, you’re got really valuable information for the content team.
- Web traffic - what earned articles are directing people back to your website and/or creating revenue opportunities for your company?
- Social Amplification - which of your earned pieces have strong social amplification? Is the social engagement strong enough to influence a PPC campaign?
- Share-of-voice - Are you looking to boost your share-of-voice in a specific topic? Let the content team know! They can help with blogs, organic search, and SEO keyword analyzation.
They could also be speaking with thought leaders that you need to leverage for media interviews.
Another major topic trending throughout the conference was based all around PR analytics. From who is tracking what, down to the ‘how’, everyone was very interested in the topic! So much, that when a panel about technology evolution in communications went off subject, people left the panel in droves. We were all there to try and understand how technology was evolving our jobs, but the panel pivoted into a discussion on internal employee communication tech....in the words of Sweet Brown, “Ain’t NOBODY got time for that!”
It was such a prevalent topic that even in a panel that didn’t have anything to do with data, questions came up. And Dan Mazei had a great response, [about measuring the success of your PR campaigns]: “The data is available, if we are willing to spend the time and money on the tools".
This reiterates our theme about marketing spend and measuring our work the same way our peers do...the marketing tech stack is growing and it’s time to get the budget and add PR tech to the mix.
Another theme that has PR pros asking questions and leaning on seasoned peers for advice, crisis communications. It’s been an intense year with everything from the sensational, internally created crises to those that make our stomachs churn, proving that there is no way to prepare for it all, but in the panel ‘Public Relations’ Role in Building Integrity in Public Communications’, Ellyn Fisher (@EllynJFisher), Senior Vice President, Public Relations and Social Media at The Advertising Council spoke about preparedness. She notes that to really prepare, you need to “...bring in your advocates AND your opponents…” Back to the idea that public relations cannot silo itself, you can never prepare enough for how someone will take your content, from all sides.
Then, one of my favorite quotes of the conference, Bill Nielsen (@billnielsen) spoke to the importance of PR, and how you cannot begin engaging:
"When you're in the spotlight is a bad time to try and make a good first impression..."
- Bill Nielsen, Management Communications Consultant