Ready. Set. Collaborate – Five Ways PR is a Team Sport

Word PR.Working in public relations is as exhilarating as it is demanding. I can say with assurance that no two days are alike and that a career in this field promises to keep you on your toes at every turn. Most would agree that PR is for those who prefer to create their own destinies, blaze their own trails. There’s plenty of opportunity for this in our field, and that’s why we love it, right?

Sure, but as much as PR allows us the creative freedom to come up with ideas that’ll knock the socks off of our key audiences, PR is very much a team sport. Here are the top five ways.

Teaming up with customer service
In nearly all organizations, there is a segment of the team dedicated to one audience and one audience only: the customer. Since, ultimately, it’s the job of the PR person to attract more of them, you better believe that the customer service team is a key player in the success of the PR team. No need to be a mind reader when your fellow team members are talking to the customers day in and day out; getting to know their needs, their wants, their pain points and so much more. So what do you do? Turn that information into fuel for awesome PR campaigns and strategies.

Collaborating with designers
Once you’re ready to implement a campaign idea, it’s likely that you’ll want some creative assets to go along with it. In the visual storytelling age in which we now find ourselves, having a talented graphic designer on your side is priceless. Whether it’s creating an image to add to your press release or turning facts and figures into a beautiful infographic that can be shared across the web, a graphic designer can add tremendous value to the success of a PR team.

Tapping the stats guy (or gal)
Speaking of stats, nowadays we have more and more companies with a dedicated team member (or an entire team) who simply does data all day long. This is great news for the PR team because we all know journalists love data. Everything from customer trends and company growth to website traffic and Google Analytics; the data guys and gals are on it. Another reason you want to stick by the data miners is to help show and tell the value of PR and how it’s impacting the bottom line. For more on this subject, check out the previous blog post Communicating the Value of PR: Stop Dodging, Start Measuring.

Working with in-house experts
As PR people, we’re usually fielding media requests and coordinating interviews for others. Whether you’re on an in-house PR team or on the agency side, collaboration with your internal experts and thought leaders is a must. Successful teamwork requires more than just setting up time with reporters. It means collaborating on story ideas and PR opportunities that match the person’s expertise and that align with the organization’s goals and key messages.

Cooperating with journalists
Finally, we sync up with journalists to bring value to our respective audiences. Media pitching an idea and working with a reporter to bring a story to life requires input that meets the needs of both sides. On the one hand, reporters have a story to tell. On the other, PR pros have key messages to deliver to their target audiences. The happy medium is a story that adds value and brings something new to the audience.

What are some of the other ways you see PR as being a team sport? Would love to read about them in the comments section!

Andrea Carter is a Public Relations Specialist at AWeber, a certified news junkie and an aspiring world traveler. Check out Andrea’s back story here then follow her on Twitter @SheLuvsPR and connect on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/carterandrea/.

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The Power of Data for Storytelling

datapicData journalism is the fastest growing area of reporting, transforming the way journalists do their jobs and the way companies communicate their stories. In this new environment, companies must learn how to better articulate their narratives, understand the difference between good and bad data, and uncover the most compelling data from their experiences serving customers and growing their businesses.

The Power of Data for Storytelling brings to Philadelphia four of the nation’s top data journalists to share their views on how they report, visualize, and use data to tell their stories.

Join moderator Greg Matusky as he interviews:

  • Steve Lohr, Author and Technology Reporter, New York Times
  • Frank Bi, Data Journalist, Forbes
  • Paul Cheung, Director of Interactive and Digital News Production, Associated Press
  • Erika Owens, Program Manager, Knight-Mozilla Opennews

WHO SHOULD ATTEND
C-LEVEL • DIRECTORS OF COMMUNICATIONS/PUBLIC RELATIONS/MARKETING • MARKETING DECISION MAKERS

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN
HOW STORYTELLING IS BEING TRANSFORMED THROUGH DATA • WHAT KIND OF DATA REPORTERS VALUE • WHAT IS GOOD DATA VERSUS BAD DATA • HOW REPORTERS FIND DATA AND CONVERT IT INTO A STORY • WHAT ROLE YOUR COMPANY PLAYS IN REPORTING DATA TO THE MEDIA

This is a free event hosted by Gregory FCA.
Date and Time: June 4, 2015 – 5-7PM
Location: 3260 South Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Register now, here!

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Communicating the Value of PR: Stop Dodging, Start Measuring

PR

Recently I was out to dinner with a digital strategist friend and she raised a question that, admittedly, caught me off guard. “What is it that you do?” she asked. From one communications professional to another, the question seemed unapologetically sarcastic. Then, as if to add insult to injury, my friend ever-so nicely followed up with, “Ok, how do you measure what you do?”

Oh no, the “M” word.

In all my years in PR, I’ve essentially been able to dodge the “M” word. How? Easy. By hiding behind media clippings, fancy media reports, shares, “likes,” tweets and elaborate, but successful, events. If this is you, it’s time to come out, come out wherever you are. Not only is it time to stop dodging; it’s time to start measuring.

Translating news releases and news hits into dollars and cents
Given the sheer amount of data that’s available to us nowadays, PR pros have ample opportunity to quantify their efforts and show executives what’s working and what’s not. As hard as it is for me to succumb to, it’s also high time that we get comfortable showing how our efforts affect the bottom line.

Data, where have you been my whole life?
By creating key performance indicators (KPIs) and specific metrics tied to “awareness,” I now have even more ammunition to communicate the value of public relations to organizational leaders. For the first time, our PR team has a dashboard which provides a monthly analysis of not just media hits and news releases, but things like tone and message quality. What’s more, we use tagging links and Google Analytics to track conversions tied to our press releases, proving that PR does indeed help drive company revenue.

Getting started
To say that quantifying PR efforts beyond the typical vanity metrics makes me uneasy would be a huge understatement, but embracing it has enlarged my perspective on the power of analytics and given me a newfound love for data. There are a plethora of dashboard tools and tips out there to get you started. For instance, check out Dashboard Junkie or the PR Measurement solution offered by Meltwater. Warning, once you’ve been bitten by the PR data bug, you’ll likely want to track any and everything. However, it’s best to start small, be strategic and continually iterate.

Already measuring your PR efforts and showing value to your execs? Share your tips and tools with me in the comments below!

Andrea Carter is a Public Relations Specialist at AWeber, a certified news junkie and an aspiring world traveler. Check out Andrea’s back story here then follow her on Twitter @SheLuvsPR and connect on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/carterandrea/.

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Tips for Conducting Effective PR Surveys

Survey

Survey data is a critical leveraging tool for all PR pros. A practitioner at a client meeting prepared with survey results from a well designed and executed study is no PR pro to mess with. Attention-grabbing and sometimes slightly out of the ordinary results could be the perfect approach for client and brand exposure. Sharing significant statistics without a doubt pique’s the public’s interest and even makes good use for an informative infographic. A recent PR Daily article titled, “9 tips for effective PR surveys,” gives practitioners fresh angles on how to carry out valuable, result driven surveys.

1. Keep the questions short. Always focus on the key objectives of the survey you are conducting. Keep both the questions and the length of the survey to a minimum. If it takes too long to take the survey you may bore participants who will decide to rush through it.

2. Use closed questions. If you are planning to report mean scores and percentages then avoid including open-ended questions within your survey.

3. Use credible stories. Make sure you construct your survey in a way that is relatable to your target audience and the key objectives you are researching. You can do this by including real-life examples and scenarios within the survey.

4. Don’t force answers. Creating a survey can sometimes be tricky. How a question is worded or limited answer choices can easily skew the results. Remember, you want your findings to back up valid points you are trying to convey. If results don’t match up or are easily skewed you could lose credibility in the eyes of both a client and the public.

5. Beware of sample size. For best results limit your sample size to 1,000 interviews when generating results from national or generally representative surveys.

6. Think internationally. Consider conducting a survey within various countries and regions. There are many websites online that are not as pricey as you may think. International surveys can provide eye-opening results as to how others perceive your brand. International data could provide resourceful results, leading you to creative ideas to kick-start a new campaign. 

7. Consider location and sample size Be cautious if you are planning to combine regional and national survey results, without including an adequate sample size.

8. Reconsider ranking questions Sometimes reporting the results of ranking questions can be difficult. The author of the article asks the reader if they are interested in the rank order overall or the percentage who mentioned specific items in the rank order. Also, be sure not to use rank order and rating questions interchangeably. Rating questions asks survey participants to compare different items using a rating scale.

9. Be realistic with business-to-business surveys Be practical when constructing business-to-business surveys. Consider which employees are most appropriate to reach out to in order to receive valid results. There are other decision makers aside from the CEO who may be more knowledgeable about specific topics and information.

In your opinion, what does an effective survey include? How do you analyze survey data to be sure the results aren’t skewed? Let us know in the comment section below.

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