Blogs  / December 16, 2014

How PRTech is reseeding the PR Landscape

by Team Onclusive

This week we let go of our blog reins. Mostly because we don’t like to talk about ourselves, but also because we recently met an impressive young women named Alexis Anthony whose PR prowess deserves some love.

Rebekah met Alexis back in October at the Cision/Vocus #FutureofPR event in Washington D.C. Needless to say, she left a lasting impression. Alexis is currently studying Public Relations and Business Analytics (our favorite combo!) at the University of Maryland.

We were taken by her philosophy on PR’s evolution, so we picked her brain about the recent launch of our newest site: PRTech.co.

Alexis spent the day at Onclusive last week and from everything we saw and heard, we are certain this lady personifies the PR professional of the future.

We hope you enjoy her take on PRTech’s role in creating a robust, thriving industry.

How PRTech is reseeding the PR Landscape

By Alexis Anthony

As odd as it sounds, PR pros could learn a thing or two from lawn care specialists. Yeah, weird idea I know, but bear with me. Imagine a golf course. Aside from the everyday mowing and trimming, ground gurus keep the fairways and greens in pristine condition through a process called reseeding.

They don’t actually re-plant seeds. They apply more seed where the grass is thin or bare to make it more robust and add structure to the landscape.

So how does this tie in to PR?

PRTech.co logo (b)We’ve talked again and again about the importance of PR measurement, data literacy, and understanding technology. It’s the industry revolution we call PRTech.

But many seasoned practitioners resist these emerging PR tenants because things like automation and universal analytics feel unnatural. After all, the industry has gotten along for 200 years without them, right?

What those practitioners may not see are the thin or bare patches their PR landscapes. Instead of thinking about PRTech as replanting the industry, we should see it as reseeding – filling barren cavities with data and technology.

Still with me? Here are three reasons we need to think of PRTech as a movement to reseed the industry and three ways we can jumpstart the process.

Reason #1: Technology gives us access to more information than ever

Remember when Target used an algorithm to identify pregnant customers based on buying habits? And remember one dad’s outrage when Target sent his teenage daughter coupons for baby clothes only to learn she was pregnant?

We learned that wasn’t the best way to say, “Surprise, you’re going to be a grandpa!” But there’s also another lesson: we have access to exorbitant amounts of data and we need to use it…carefully.

While PR’s interest lies less in customer buying habits and more in messages and content, in an industry centered on building relationships, the power to predict behavior is huge.

Reseed Tip #1: Develop your data literacy

For PRs to know what to do with data, we need to know how to read it. Here’s a list of resources that can help PR pros work toward finding meaning in numbers.

Reason #2: Measurement means improvement

In his September interview with Dell’s managing editor Stephanie Losee, Sharam dropped some serious knowledge: “Measurement is the bridge for a symbiotic cross-functional relationship. Without it, it is extremely difficult to effectively achieve business objectives and justify your strategy.

Powerful stuff, right? Measurement means evaluating your strategy in terms of conversions, engagement, reach, and so forth to identify and troubleshoot pitfalls. It’s the heart that keeps improvement alive.

Reseed Tip #2: Invest in a solid analytics platform

Remember the tried-and-true notion that you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Make sure your analytics platform collects all of the data you need to inform your strategy. And when reviewing results, leave no stone unturned (and by that I mean no metric un-analyzed).

Reason #3: PR pros have an endless supply of tools.

Take a look at this evolving PRTech landscape. Each silo in the ecosystem contributes a field of innovation that PR pros must take advantage of to stay afloat in competitive waters.

The evolving landscape includes everything from traditional newswires and media monitoring services to analytics platforms, visual content creators and marketplaces. Each silo represents a working part of the ecosystem that functions to keep PR alive in the digital empire.

Reseed Tip #3: Explore the ecosystem.

Look into any tools listed in that ecosystem you’re unfamiliar with or have overlooked in the past; some may not be relevant, but others could help you take your entire PR strategy up, like, three notches

(Sound off! Can you think of anything that’s missing from the ecosystem?)

So maybe this idea of reseeding PR isn’t so crazy after all. The process won’t happen overnight, but when communicators embrace technology, we can expect a healthy and robust PR landscape in no time.

Be sure to check out everything that’s going down on PRTech.co to get a full picture of the entire industry evolution.