Digital communications for marketing and PR
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Digital communications for marketing and PR
Using online communications in the multi-channel world of marketing
Curated by Amanda Wheeler
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Online newspaper articles command more attention than print

So, while in terms of raw numbers, the online editions of newspapers far eclipse print, when readers are online they tend to content snack on the odd article instead of staying put. You could say that’s one argument for the Murdoch or New York Times paywall, its worth having a smaller core of committed readers you can sell to advertisers.

However, against that comes research from the Poynter Institute (via Eric Tsai) , comparing print and online newspaper attention times. Eye tracking equipment was used with 582 people in four US cities, reading a mix of broadsheets, tabloids and online newspapers...
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Online media and social media have transformed PR, so what has public relations become? - Inside PR - PRmoment

Online media and social media have transformed PR, so what has public relations become? - Inside PR - PRmoment | Digital communications for marketing and PR |
Date: 30 March 2011 10:16

New technologies in the last five years, let alone the past decade, have revolutionised how we communicate (anyone remember Telex?), so it’s not surprising that the work that PROs do has altered dramatically.

The US has led the way in using online channels, so it is interesting to hear how PR is defined on the other side of the pond. Rosanna Fiske, chair and CEO of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), says that PR is seen as less about disseminating and more about starting a conversation: “What was once considered a form of ‘push’ communications has now evolved into a more prosperous and valuable two-way communication platform in which brands, organisations, governments, non-profits, NGOs, etc, are able to communicate and engage directly with key audiences in a mutually beneficial manner.”

Although Fiske believes that the traditional definition of PR still stands, it is always good to consider new ways of describing it. She says “At its core, public relations helps an organisation and its publics adapt mutually to each other. That is the foundation of the definition that PRSA unveiled in 1982, and it is what fundamentally guides the US profession some 30 years later. But the PRSA is keen to explore evolving this definition and has been actively commenting on industry blogs on this topic.”

Technologies may be having a profound effect on PRO work, but does this mean we have to rethink what PR stands for? Nick Murray-Leslie, CEO of PR agency Chatsworth Communications, believes not. He says: “The channels have changed, but the ethos and objective remains the same. The bottom line is that reputation is everything. PR remains a strategic and tactical job to enhance, protect and defend the reputation of the client.”

Murray-Leslie believes that whatever media is used, the best PROs will advise when to show thought leadership and when to hold back and can identify the best channels to use. That is as likely to be by phone as through an online posting.

To find an academic definition of PR, we turn to Richard Bailey, senior lecturer in PR at Leeds Metropolitan University. He claims that today’s definitions of PR are usually descriptions of the changing ways that PROs work. Bailey says a true definition needs to be broad, to cover all practice areas. He adds: “Academics are also interested in 'paradigms', which are still broader. For example, the relationship management or the reputation management paradigms.”

Bailey concludes his preferred definition is the longstanding one from Cutlip, Center and Broom in their book Effective Public Relations: “Public relations is the management function that establishes and maintains mutually beneficial relationships between an organisation and the various publics on whom its success or failure depends”, adding: “This includes a paradigm (relationships) and embeds a purpose for public relations (organisational survival).” However, Bailey admits this is rather long, so he uses this much shorter one with first-year public relations students: “public relations is 'ideas management'. I use this to make a contrast with 'event management'.”

Soundbites - How do you define PR?

Amanda Wheeler, PR and communications manager at market research firm GfK NOP:
“Public relations is better termed ‘communications management’: encouraging and generating content from within your company and then selecting the best channels through which to create and drive the maximum amount of public conversations around that content – as well as getting involved in externally-created conversations that affect your brand.”

Keren Burney, founder of PR consultancy Compege:
“A two-way dialogue achieving understanding and maintaining reputation via man channels.”

Joshua Van Raalte, managing director of London PR agency Brazil:
“To put my neck on the line, I’d say the term ‘public relations’ will be redundant in five years time, and a whole host of new specialisms will emerge from the fragmentation of marketing as we know it. A host of new descriptions will inevitably emerge, it’ll be interesting to see which wins out.”

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Strategy is Motivation (from Conversation Agent)

Strategy is Motivation (from Conversation Agent) | Digital communications for marketing and PR |

Even for business, strategy is motivation. In my video interview with Simon Mainwaring I explain a bit further the concept of buyers vs. customers, and the process I use when working with organizations to meet their goals.

The most frequently asked questions teams ask during a strategic engagement range from learning what best practices like companies use online, to how to respond in a crisis situation. Yet, by far, the biggest challenge organizations face is that of building continuity and consistency in their interactions.

Why is this such a challenge? For several reasons:
- many organizations operate in an environment where buy in by multiple groups is a necessity
- thinking ahead is hard when immersed in the day-to-day operations of the business
- planning programs vs. campaigns requires coordination with several other agencies, especially in the enterprise
- companies are still having a hard time reconciling the name recognition of the individual vs. using a completly branded approach online
- analysis-paralysis or inability to get started
- over reliance on the opinion of experts with little attention paid to the ideas and feedback of the people on the front lines

What else? What are the stumbling blocks you face to building continuity in your programs? You may have noticed that I did not mention lack of resources -- that is a given in many organizations, including those that find a way to build interactions in their way of showing up in the market. If you enjoyed this post from Conversation Agent, subscribe, share...
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Many Voices, One Message (Online Communications) | Econsultancy

Many Voices, One Message (Online Communications) | Econsultancy | Digital communications for marketing and PR |
Many Voices, One Message: Shaping valuable conversations in fragmenting channels explores the current state of online communications through the eyes of senior communications executives from around the world. Produced in association with Bite Communications, the report includes chapters on the collision between digital and traditional communications, new roles for communications teams, the prospects for automation and skill sets for communicators in the future-present. (RT @bite_uk: Want to know what senior global communications executives think about PR? #biteresearch Many Voices, One Message)
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E-commerce stats: £10bn spent online in January and February

The UK's shoppers spent £4.9bn online last month, 20% more than in the same period in 2010, bringing the total spend so far this year to £10bn. 
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Will AVEs ever die? - Inside PR - PRmoment

Will AVEs ever die? - Inside PR - PRmoment | Digital communications for marketing and PR |
All PROs agree that AVEs are outdated. So why are they still being used? We discuss more precise ways to prove the effectiveness of PR

Date: 20 January 2011 12:01

Last year, attended the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC) conference, leaders of four trade bodies agreed that measurement must be at the heart of public relations. Fair enough. But exactly how measurement should be carried out is still causing arguments.

The key to evaluation, says Tom Watson, professor of Public Relations at Bournemouth University Media School and co-author of Evaluating Public Relations, is to focus on what you want to measure, rather than counting up mentions in the press or online: “The fundamental issue in measurement and evaluation is the setting of objectives for the outcome of PR programmes, not the output (clippings, mentions, traffic). Once the objectives are set, PR folk have a much greater opportunity to choose the appropriate benchmark that tells them how the strategy is progressing and what the results are."

Although Watson decries using advertising-value equivalents (AVEs), calling them a “junk measure of outputs“, some clients still like their simplicity. Amanda Wheeler, PR and communications manager at research agency GfK NOP, says that the problem is that budget holders still want AVE figures: “They love the security and clear direction that comes from being able to point to a neat column of figures and say, ‘yes, PR last year gave a positive ROI: we’ll keep that investment going for 2011’, and so we continue to feed the AVE beast, knowing that it’s not an accurate representation of our full achievements.”

Wheeler prefers to assess work by looking at lead generation and changes in perception, for example by measuring whether particular PR activity led to increased visitors to a specific page on a website, generated enquiries, and increased awareness of the product or service. Although Wheeler says the first is fairly easy to measure, the other two are more challenging. “The only way to count those accurately, without extra expense, is to keep pally with our colleagues in the product teams."

Of course, if it gets too complicated, there is always the option of calling in a specialist evaluation agency. However, Helen Westgate, founder and director of PR and marketing communications agency Westgate, says that in these straitened times, many clients don’t want to pay for this and prefer their agency to provide results in as cost-effective a way as possible. Like Wheeler, Westgate has found that although AVEs are an outdated form of measurement, some clients do like them. Westgate prefers to steer them away by offering an alternative evaluation system, using criteria that are most relevant, whether it’s length of articles, percentage of brand mentions, tone, or whether a picture is included. Uplift in sales is also a key measure. Often, it is not quantity, but quality. Westgate explains: “A useful measure can be as straightforward as being able to identify that a certain piece of coverage in a key trade publication led to the client winning new business.”

Measurement is much more of an issue today, believes Westgate, for two reasons. First, because everyone is now so results focused. Second, because of changing technologies: “Fifteen years ago it was hard to prove the effectiveness of PR, but now in the online world it is easier to convince people of the value of PR, because such measures as how you rank in an online search are quantifiable.”


How do you evaluate PR?

Paul Stallard, account director at agency Berkeley PR:
“Every Berkeley PR client measures the success of a campaign in a different way. Traffic sent to the site, sentiment of coverage, amount of tier one clips, get me on TV, make my phone ring – the list goes on. The only thing that stays the same is the need to be clear about what you are trying to achieve and how that fits in with the client’s other marketing and sales activity.”

Lucy Kemp, account director at communications consultancy Seal:
“It is the intelligent analysis of coverage which sheds light on whether objectives have been met – sentiment, tone, direct response, click throughs, etc. Useful evaluation is more about aligning PR campaigns with business and marketing goals. For example with Michelin we have agreed deliverables against each of their marketing objectives for 2011 and have produced a campaign plan that will;

a) drive an agreed percentage increase in web traffic, b) engage with a target number of influential bloggers and c) generate an agreed number of press cuttings in the pre-agreed target media.”

Chris Duncan, senior strategic planner at integrated agency Kindred:
“Rather than relying simply on column inches, we prefer to look further into impacts on audience behaviour and success in relation to the client’s deeper business objectives. Boundaries between communications disciplines are becoming increasingly blurred and we feel it’s essential for the communications industry to work toward more integrated evaluation metrics which reflect campaigns in their entirety.” is running a PR & ROI conference on March 3rd where a series of in-house speakers will discuss how they measure the impact of their PR.

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How To Use Online Videos To Boost Your Marketing Efforts

How To Use Online Videos To Boost Your Marketing Efforts | Digital communications for marketing and PR |
Online videos can do marketing wonders for your small business. Kermit Pattison, in a New York Times article, writes that these videos give companies “a channel to talk directly to customers in ways previously accessible only to large companies that could afford TV advertisements.

He outlined some ways to harness videos on sites like YouTube, Vimeo and Brightcove:

Showcase your products.
“Short of getting a customer in the door or sending a salesperson on the road, online video may be the best way to demonstrate a product,” writes Pattison.

Build a brand channel.
A maker of small high-definition cameras created a YouTube channel that features more than 100 customer-created videos–point of view shots of customers in adventure sports.

Use analytics and tools.
Pattison writes how one company used YouTube’s analytics to observe its audience’s behavior to figure out an ideal video length. “The company also discovered ‘hot spots’ that viewers rewind to and rewatch . . . and it now makes sure to include more such scenes.”

Offer instructions.
Businesses have tapped into video to complement printed instruction manuals. Pattison tells of how this allowed one company to “eliminate phone support and cut its customer service budget about 40 percent.”

Read more:
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Conversation Agent: Why You Need a New Approach to Content

Conversation Agent: Why You Need a New Approach to Content | Digital communications for marketing and PR |
“The problem is getting the right content to the right people, even while knowing that key decision-makers are not an easy audience to reach. Producing smart, highly targeted and truly innovative content can be really challenging.” This is one of the quotes from the B2B content marketing report published by MarketingProfs and Junta42 last September. The problem is trying to do all those things at once, while outrunning the competition and potentially outnumbing the same target audience. And indeed I have issues with the terms "target" and "audience". Why is it a problem? Because, as admitted by marketers and communicators, organizations are still learning to shift their mindset from broadcasting about products -- putting a different spin on stories is still part of that -- and products that don't feel exciting enough. Still from the report, most marketers (36% of those surveyed) also feel that content creation is just the beginning. How they socialize that content to engage customers and prospects takes an even greater slice of their resources. And a big percentage (21%) feel they are not producing enough content. Compared to whom? This is certainly no ding on the report, however since the control is marketers who feel they do a good job you should take a moment to unpack what the findings translate into for you and your organization. Here's what the report found: Self-described effective content marketers outpace the remaining survey respondents in “adoption” within every single category of content marketing. On average, effective marketers use...
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25 brilliant examples of Facebook brand pages

25 brilliant examples of Facebook brand pages | Digital communications for marketing and PR |
I love to see brands generating innovative, engaging and creative advertising online. Yet, I’m always surprised at how little effort companies put into Facebook from a creative perspective, especially given the noise they make about using the platform and the levels of engagement often put in.
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