Maris gets an apology, P.S. social media shares don’t always equal sales

In light of the holiday last week, we decided to forego sending out an email, which would have likely clogged your overflowing Inbox.

So, post Labor Day, and much to your non-white-wearing delight, we bring you a Double Feature blog post. In said post, we will (at my expense) explore feeling like a total A-hole and eating a good ol’ fashioned slice of humble pie at the same time.

Ready?

For starters, before the holiday I wrote a post about press releases and distribution services, debunking myths and attempting to uncover truths at the same time.

A few days later, I received an email from Maris, the woman I semi-doooshingly called out in the article. In my defense (if it is indeed defensible?), I searched high and low for her in my contacts and old emails just to make sure I didn’t know her from anywhere-land before I included her in the post. As many of you do, I receive about 192410482104 spam-like emails a week that have no context, that I haven’t subscribed to, and that have little or no relevance to what I do in my life. Period.

P.S. If you’re the dude who keeps sending me pitches about camping equipment I implore you to stop. I haven’t camped since 1992 and the odds of that happening anytime soon are slimmer than an emaciated model during fashion week. Unless, one word: Glamping.

Back to Maris…she was nowhere to be found.

Here is how she started the email:

Rebekah, 

I am very surprised that you chose to use my release as an example of “what not to do with a press release” in your post: https://airpr.com/blog/fallacy-press-release/.

The reason that I sent this specific release to you is because we met at a press event (the function at Rebar introducing Entrepreneur Eve). Following that party, we had a phone conversation in January and had said we’d keep each other posted on our client news. That’s what I was doing when I sent the release your way.

[Gulp]

The email goes on, very sweetly, to ask if she perhaps misunderstood our conversation. And as she went on I felt worse and worse save this one redeeming fact: how on earth am I expected to remember everyone unless there is context to an email – especially if they aren’t in my contacts? Which I do a very good job of maintaining in my opinion.

Ugh.

The featured lesson here?

Assume that anyone you send an email to is likely filtering a million pieces of information a day. Unless they are your mother, brother, father, lover, best friend, or boss, they will need context. Save them from their own God forsaken demise by giving them a teensy weensy hint as to why you are sending them the email.

Maris, I am truly sorry. And ya’ll…do be a Maris because she was classy and kind to my snark.

Moving right along…

On August 30, I wrote this article on Entrepreneur.com. It has, to date, had over 3k social media shares. “Semi-viral” if you will. For those of you adept at content marketing, besides the fact that I enjoy writing and one’s ego certainly gets a boost from seeing your byline in on a notable publication’s website, the whole point of these exercises is to build brand awareness – in this case that brand happens to be AirPR.

The personal side effects of these posts in truth: they generally cause MORE work for me. I am added to “camping dude’s” press list (among many others) and have to filter more inane requests than I thought humanly possible. It’s a double-edged sword…one which I’m happy to sheath and carry. I’m just sayin’, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.

Look at this face. That's a straight shooter right there.

Look at this face. That’s a straight shooter right there.

In an attempt to understand the assumptive value of all this social media “amplification,” I turned to my trusted data scientist, Patrick, to get the down and dirty facts.

Here’s what he said…no frills…no “I’m going to try to make Rebekah feel good”…just literally and directly:

  1. I haven’t found anything particularly out of the ordinary for that article.
  2. It does convert at 11.11% instead of the site average of 8.8%.
  3. It’s 100% new visitors.
  4. The bounce rate is 23.33% instead of 38%.
  5. But the visit length is also shorter than normal at 2:35 versus 4:15.
  6. And the average pages viewed are 2.4 instead of 3.4.
  7. Also our traffic hasn’t seen any large spikes.
  8. There could be social referrals that we’re missing, but there are only a few visitors a day from social media.
  9. So it’s not like, say, the TechCrunch articles about us.

What?! I’m not as influential as @ripemp? Psch.

After I’d recovered from yet another mild ego bruising, I asked for his thoughts on indirect traffic from the article, as well as his overall value assessment:

“One of the ways we identify indirect visits is we create a statistical model from the normal traffic to separate the normal indirect traffic from article-driven indirect traffic.”

Oh. I mean…obviously that’s what we do!

“In this case, there doesn’t seem to be much article-driven indirect traffic for the last few days based on our models. 🙁 ”

[Yes, he included that specific emoticon]

“At this point, I would say that the value in these types of articles is not in visitors to a company’s site, it’s more in brand awareness or SEO.”

Thank you Patrick.

The featured lesson here?

While content marketing is arguably an important part of the PR function these days, and while having your spokesperson or CEO pen thoughtful, insightful, and oft-earth-shattering content may be a boon for brand equity, it must be recognized as such.

The good news:

Bruised ego notwithstanding, there is no PR silver bullet, or one “right” thing. Rather, it’s all of the various, strategic activities working in tandem – on a continuum – that truly drive customers toward that “path to purchase.”

We welcome your thoughts, so please tweet us here @AirPR. Just make sure you give us some context (help me out!) and make the content good (help yourself out!).

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