Blogs  / January 14, 2015

#MeasurePR + PRTech = PR’s Bright Future

by Team Onclusive

Last Tuesday Rebekah co-hosted Shonali Burke’s first #measurePR Twitter chat of 2015 alongside Deirdre Breakenridge.

The topic? Why, PRTech of course.

Considering these are 3 of the smartest (not to mention loveliest) ladies to ever utter the letters PR, it’ll come as no surprise that the rousing chat was chock full of wisdom and key industry takeaways.

Curious about what hot topics were discussed, what PR pros should be paying attention to, and why PRTech is proving to a defining force in 2015?

Of course you are.

Below is a taste of the juicy chat tidbits as well as a few takeaways guaranteed to take your work to the next level.

Let’s get after it…

PR bright futureOn the importance of measuring PR:

  • “Understanding [PR] performance let’s you enhance, iterate.” – Julie Diaz-Asper
  • “If we want a seat at the ‘grown ups table’ we have to earn it via metrics.” – David Rockland
  • “We cannot say ‘PR drives bottom line’ and not embrace measurement. Either we’re integral or peripheral to business.” – John Friedman

In case it wasn’t clear from the astute observations above, PR measurement is a non negotiable. Proper measurement helps us optimize and improve, while clearly demonstrating the value PR. In regards to PR measurement, let’s make a pact here and now: We vow to be practical, produce great work, and measure our asses off. How about you?

On how technology affects PR measurement:

  • “Technology is one of the best things that’s happened to PR. More data and insights fuels innovation, creative pitching, & customer intel.” – Deirdre Breakenridge
  • “Tech is automating manual work and allowing PR to optimize based on data, not hunches.” – Rebekah Iliff
  • “Technology is a tool for productivity, efficiency, clarity, and granularity.” – Gerard Corbett

Technological innovation is ushering in some of the most exciting shifts the PR industry has seen to date. Tech is raising the industry’s “accountability bar” by demanding that PR pros use data to drive and optimize their efforts. We should embrace this paradigm that, as Deirdre Breakridge puts it, “helps us to be more strategic in our communication.” Instead of fearing or being overwhelmed by tech, we need to commit to researching new platforms and learning new skills that help us communicate better and measure PR smarter.

PR pitfalls to avoidOn PR measurement pitfalls to avoid:

  • “Measuring for measurement’s sake. You must start with org’s strategic goals & link measurements to those.” – Mark Philips
  • “Content quantity over quality and purpose. Also, allowing clients to sway from strategic plan.”- Thesaurai PR
  • “My lesson learned: media placement does not equate to your message being understood.” – Dawn Buzynski

Everyone seemed to have an anecdote for this part of the conversation. From not setting explicit business objectives at the outset of a campaign, to creating content without a distribution plan, PR pros had plenty of DO NOTS to share. So how do you ensure you are setting yourself up for success? By asking explicit questions that gets everyone on the same page regarding expectations. Here are a few of our faves:

  1. What business problem do you want me to help solve?
  2. What does success looks like in a year’s time? From a company standpoint? From a PR standpoint?
  3. Are there competitive advantages you wish to elevate?
  4. Is there specific messaging that you are looking to gain traction or see fade away?

Arming yourself with a set of direct inquires frames PR conversations from the start and ensures you will walk away with a clear understanding of your deliverables. Clear business goals = clear measurement goals.

On PRTech’s influence:

  • “PRTech represents how our roles have expanded around data. It allows us to become a part of the business profit center and to demonstrate how PR is a part of the ROI picture. Deirdre Breakenridge

If you haven’t figured it out, we’ve got a massive crush on everything PRTech. Seriously though, nothing has changed our industry more than technological innovation. It is of the utmost importance that we educate ourselves on this evolution. With more tools and resources available than ever, PRTech is riff with opportunities for PR pros to apply quantitative insights to their qualitative work. The future of PR depends on storytellers who can also look at data and infer possible outcomes.

PR working smarterOn how PRTech help us to work and measure smarter:

  • “PRTech and #MeasurePR can help PR professionals create more effective plans and understand our audiences better.” – Sherrie Bakshi
  • “PRTech is ensuring PR pros don’t have to rely on purely anecdotal or observed. We can let go of vanity metrics (e.g. AVE)” – Rebekah Iliff

YES! Goodbye terribly underwhelming vanity metrics.

Hellooooooo value-driven measurement. This the true power of PRTech. PRTech is providing companies and publishers insights into what is working in terms of content and messages. Access to data is allowing PR pros to capture user behavior, engagement, web traffic, and specific interactions across various digital properties. Basically PRTech is uncovering what really matters vs. what are the numbers that make the ego feel good but don’t actually provide any true insight. How’s that for working smarter?

PR has always been a moving target, but with the advent of PRTech, smart measurement plans, and a whole of creative thought, we are poised to do our best work yet while elevating our entire industry. Hopefully this overview serves to inspire focus, curiosity, and excitement for the very bright future of PR.

Got something to add? We ♥ comments.