Blogs  / June 23, 2014

PR Summit and PRTech Award Notables & Quotables

by Team Onclusive

Last week was a whirlwind of PR awesomeness. We had the pleasure of attending the 5th annual PR Summit in San Francisco (thank you Shaun Saunders), the Publicity Club of New York’s New Media Influencers Luncheon (thank you Peter Himler), and the first round of AirPR’s PRTech Awards in NYC (thank you Mediabistro and Porter Gale).

Curious about what hot topics are being discussed across the country by PR pros, media, marketers, and technologists alike?

Of course you are.

Below you will find three PR trends that permeated every event, oh-so-tweet-worthy PR tidbits, and the individuals leading the PRTech evolution that should definitely be on your radar.

Let’s kick it off with the trends, shall we?

#1 – Data must be used to drive marketing and PR decisions

No longer can PR rely on purely anecdotal or observed data. For the first time ever, companies and publishers have insights into what is working in terms of content and messages and PR professionals across the globe are now required to use data to drive and optimize their efforts.

#2 – The role of PR is finally getting the credit it deserves due to technological innovation

The lines are blurring between social, content, media relations, media buying, and analytics with PR assuming more responsibility in all of these areas. PR is breaking out of its silo and establishing itself as one of the most important layers in any organization. Technology and measurement is helping cement PR’s seat the table as a key business driver and decision maker.

#3 – Social, content, and measurement are the 3 elements shaping the future of the PR

This trifecta demands that PR rock at the intersection of the strategic insight and creative thought. From social and blogging, to partnerships, thought leadership, contributory writing and beyond, PR pros must create relevant communication in real time and ensure all pieces of content marketing are connected, supportive and of course, driven by data.

And now, in case you’re looking to quote bomb Twitter this week, we’ve got you covered.

From PR Summit in San Francisco

On content:

  • “To better relate to people…Write an amazing story first and then fit your company in later.” – John Rampton
  • People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Start with the “Why?” not the “What?” – Jill Rowley
  • “We are programmed to pay attention to things that violate our expectations.” – Ben Parr

On media relations:

  • “Twitter offers a great opportunity to connect with journalists, but most companies do a pretty lousy job at it.” – Greg Galant
  • “If everyone took the same approach to emails as they did to tweets, they’d be much more successful.” – Grant Marek
  • “Write the story you wish a reporter would write yourself and then pitch it out. If it’s genuinely editorial, someone will pick it up.” – Stephanie Losee
  • “Take care of journalists like you take care of clients.” – Elliot Tomaeno

On good PR:

  • “In order to understand the value you bring a business, you must first understand your own value. Find the one thing you love to do in the PR puzzle, do it better than anyone else and that becomes your value.” – Rebekah Iliff
  • “Let the product speak for itself. What’s the problem and how does the product solve the problem?” – Josh Constine
  • Tap customer data to push through PR programs. Listen and survey customers, as well as audit what you have.” – Porter Gale

On PR measurement:

  • “Data helps assign some meaning to the signal that you’re seeing.” – Andy Getsey
  • “If data doesn’t help you make better decisions, there’s really no point to it.” – Rebekah Iliff
  • “Don’t forget to talk to people. There’s a human behind all the data out there.” – Fred Bateman
Rebekah Iliff SF PR Summit

Rebekah Iliff (CSO, AirPR) on how to build a compelling story in a data-driven age at the SF PR Summit

From the PCNY New Media Influencers Luncheon

  • “Think about what you’re writing for your client as if they weren’t paying you. Would you read it?” – Peter Kafka
  • “The best way to pitch Quartz? Provide me raw data that your company has that speaks to a larger story. “ – Zach Seward
  • “When I reject pitches it’s not personal. It’s because they aren’t interesting. Be interesting.” – Peter Kafka
Peter Himler PCNY luncheon

Peter Himler (Founder, Flatiron Communications) introducing a stellar panel of new media influencers at the PCNY Luncheon


From the PRTech Awards in NYC

NOTE: The following are key takeaways from our roundtable discussion post Awards. Quotes/insights are anonymous because that makes the entire event seem much more conspicuous and interesting.


  • PRTech is allowing PR pros to prove the previously improvable thing: Influence and affect on consumers.
  • PRTech is an area of business rife with opportunity. The ecosystem is only starting to reveal itself.
  • Data enables PR to shift from cost-center to profit-center.
  • Measurement has to be looked at holistically. Businesses must break down the silos and get everyone on the same page. Cross department goals can be a powerful mechanism to usher in this philosophy.
  • Success and creating change is only as powerful as the horizontal team you can build. How do you befriend IT? Can you sit with marketing?
  • When setting parameters and metrics with clients from an agency standpoint this is how it breaks down:
    • Startups on focused on quantity, granularity, hits, and tactical execution.
    • Larger, established brands are more strategic. They are seeking to know are people thinking about them and to change perceptions.
  • PR has to ask the following types of questions and then dovetail the answers back to measureable goals:
    • Where do you want to be a year from now?
    • What does success look like from a business standpoint?

PRTech Awards round table

And now…

We are standing at a great point of convergence and the future has never looked brighter for PR. Data is empowering the industry to tell better stories, prove our value, and reach further. Measurement is providing robust audience insights that are invaluable to content production and social engagement. PR is moving fast and gaining ground and now is the time to harness the power to technological innovation to propel PR into the driver’s seat.

Buckle up. It’s going to be one hell of a ride.