Tis the season...for PR measurement conferences! We rang in December with another fantastic communicator’s conference: the PR Daily World Conference, hosted at the Associated Press. Industry events like these are a way the TrendKite team keeps our finger on the pulse of where the PR industry is headed, and what PR pros are talking about in 2016. We figure sharing is caring (especially during the holiday season!) so below we’ve summarized some of our top takeaways from the latest PR Daily World Conference in NYC.
Google Analytics is the topic of the year for 2016 PR conferences
By and large, the main focus for PR professionals this year is learning Google Anayticsso they can measure, track, and take credit for PR’s digital impact. Every conference we attended had a session on Google Analytics, and PR Daily World was no different, featuring Louis Gray from Google to teach PR pros how to use the web’s most important analytics suite.
Forward looking conference attendees balk at the idea of “leaving the digital measurement to the data teams;” rather, they’re taking control of their destiny and getting GA savvy themselves, so they can self-serve when it comes to pulling traffic and conversions driven by PR, studying the audience quality of their different earned media placements (based on website engagement), and looking for new PR opportunities by keeping close tabs on evergreen traffic to blog posts.
Sidenote - if you didn’t attend one of these conferences this year and could really use a primer on Google Analytics, check out our popular ebook, “Everything a PR Pro Needs to Know about Google Analytics.”
AVE is dead. Like dead, dead.
At TrendKite we’ve been a bit controversial by claiming Ad Value Equivalency (AVE) is on the brink of extinction, but looks like we’re not the only ones saying this anymore. It was a recurring theme in presentations, workshops, and conversations.
As Marco Benedict Larsen, CEO of Public NYC, put it: “Ad Value is totally irrelevant in today’s age of PR measurement. This is the kind of measurement tool that we’ve always relied on, and ironically is what’s undermining our credibility as PR professionals. We don’t have to throw darts anymore - we can sharp shoot.”
We liked Marco’s straight-up style, but later it was eloquently reinforced by Melissa Dodd, Professor of Advertising & Public Relations at the University of Central Florida, who covered the industry standard of measurement, the Barcelona Principles, which refutes the legitimacy of Ad Value Equivalency as a form of PR measurement. It’s official with the most official!
If that’s not enough, there’s social proof too. At the PR News Google for Communicators seminar last month, the moderator polled the room on how many PR pros were still required to report AVE and only 2 / 60 raised their hands. It looks like AVE is finally being put to rest.
Grammar is the Communicator’s Catnip
Colleen Newvine, besides being a fantastic tweeter, also knows the right buttons to push to move a room of PR professionals: talk about grammar. As the rogue Product Marketer, I was amused by watching a room of PR pros perk up when Colleen started reviewing 2016 additions to the AP Stylebook. And boy did you really feel the energy rise when she came around to discussions on the Oxford Comma!
SEO: What a Crowd Pleaser!
TrendKite had a speaking spot at PR Daily World this year, and our CEO, Erik Huddleston, presented on PR & SEO (Search Engine Optimization), given our recent launch of SEO Impact. The talk introduced TrendKite’s take on the Communicator’s Funnel (Brand Impact, Digital Impact, and Bottom Line Impact), and the honed in on the three concepts PR pros need to be familiar with to influence SEO: Domain Authority, backlinks and keywords. We were amazed at the amount of social engagement and knowledge sharing this presentation stirred up, and estimate that SEO might topple Google Analytics as the measurement topic of the year for 2017.
Brand Journalism: Add Authentic Value to Your Audiences
During Mark Ragan’s presentation on Brand Journalism, he polled the audience:
“How many of your think your press releases sometimes bore the journalists you’re reaching out to?” About 50% of the hands went up.
“How many of you have written press releases that bore yourself?” All hands went up.
“So if we’re bored by our own stuff, you can bet your readers are too. You don’t want to be bored by bad media - so why do we bore others with our PR?!”
He went on to make a case for setting a story-worthy standard for your original content, and then curating other content to create a valued destination. Mark swears by a brand-journalism strategy: become the leading publisher in your niche to increase engagement, social amplification, and inbound journalist interest to republish or repurpose your content.
Lessons learned from the Pitch Tank
Hands down my favorite session at PR Daily World was “The Pitch Tank,” where brave PR pros from the audience volunteered to pitch three seasoned journalists, Amy Vernon, Director of Audience Engagement from the Daily Dot, Laurent Lawrence, Director of PR at PRSA, and Lauren Young, Money Editor at Reuters. We heard all kinds of different pitches from the U.S. Army Reserve, Anthropologie, and more, and there were a few big takeaways from the Sharks’ feedback:
- Stats Up Front! Every journalist seemed to be selectively listening for the stats, and perked up at a good one. They agreed they want the stats first when they hear a pitch, so they can imagine the story around them.
- Don’t bury the lead (or lede). Tell an interesting story, and if the journalist bites, then give them the deets (they don’t care the time, place, venue of the event if there’s no story to tell).
- Comparison is powerful. Give journalists numbers and things to compare them to. Nannette from SaveMart gave a stellar pitch on the budget friendly grocery store by comparing their cost per pound of a Thanksgiving Turkey to Whole Foods ($.40 to $.125!)