Communication Consistency Disruption : 4 Social PR Effects – Part 4

When our message goes viral, it’s no longer a broadcast: it’s a conversation.

4 Social PR Effects | 4

As we’ve covered in our 4-part social PR series, one of the biggest shifts that social media has wrought upon the PR function is that we are no longer in a monologue marketing model: we are now in a dialogue marketing model.

When our message becomes a social conversation, that’s another way of saying that it’s gone viral.  Engagement is the holy grail of a modern communications program, and that engagement leads to a conversation among a target social community.  This is a good thing in that it means that our reach is unlimited.

Good Conversations Require Active Listening

The thing about conversations, though, is that they’re not one-sided.  Not being able to control our message is one of those concerns that cropped up at various PR and interactive tech conferences back in the day… but the payoff of earned social media (and increasing returns) is the upside.

The goal of sparking ongoing conversation about our brand is the reason that social listening is so critical.  We marketers must do something that runs contrary to most marketing temperaments, and that is listen before we speak.  By understanding what folks are already talking about, we can find the right channels, the right tone, and the right influencers for our communications programs.

This post rounds out our 2014 blog roster… happy New Year to everyone!  See you all in 2015.

Source Credibility Disruption : 4 Social PR Effects – Part 3

Source credibility was one of the first aftershocks of user-generated content, with the initial shockwaves coming with the first wave of blogging. Social networks amplify the source credibility effect to the point of disruption.


4 Social PR Effects | 3

Source credibility is one of those topics that was debated before social networks: we saw it with the advent of bloggers.  How seriously should we communications professionals take a pool of people who aren’t held to the same rule set as a traditional journalist?

As the communications market has matured, we’ve come to understand that our best influencers may or may not be traditional journalists, and that bloggers or social influencers may in fact be better resources for us than a reporter (and they work together these days).  Citizen journalists may or may not be objective, but that’s the nature of the beast – and that’s what makes a targeted influencer strategy even more important.

Subjective Real Estate Makes for Attunement

Another interesting thing about the source disruption itself is that both our owned and our earned social media are subjective real estate.  This, of course is part of the reason that earned social media is so valuable: the people in a social network are highly attuned to subjective content from someone that they’re intentionally connected to.

So, while social media didn’t initiate pushing the apple cart over, by virtue of lowering the barriers to user-generated content and the message amplification it creates via the almighty share (as we talked about in our Channel Reach installment), it has fundamentally disrupted public relations into a social PR model – whether we want the message to be socialized or not.

Stay tuned for the 4th social PR effect this week, squeaking in to round out 2014.

Channel Reach Disruption : 4 Social PR Effects – Part 2

Our PR messaging channels don’t work the same way they used to, thanks to the new social PR model.

4 Social PR Effects | 2

As we discussed in Part 1 of our Social PR Disruption series, social networks have changed our communications programs due to changing the way that our personal communications work.  The power of social media lies in the social networks that make the everyman a media outlet, and it’s those social networks that carry the conversations that we as marketers care about.

Those conversations can:

  • Start anywhere
  • Be started by anyone
  • Die anywhere
  • Change and grow
  • Be amplified ad infinitum


We talked about target audience disruption in our first installment; today, we’ll talk about channels.

Our communication channels used to have very defined borders, with an audience specific to that channel – and we could speak directly to that audience.

That is still, often times, where our messages start: if we earn placement in the New York Times, for example, that’s a direct line to a limited number of people… right up until people start sharing the article.

Paid Media has Diminishing Returns, but a Known Audience

In paid media, our returns are ever-diminishing: we pay for placement, but throwing more money at that placement is going to become less effective the more we spend – and eventually it’ll raise the average cost of the piece of content.  The channel is limited, but it is a direct line to a defined audience.

Social Networks Enable Attuned, Viral Word-of-Mouth & Earned Social Media

When our earned or paid traditional media is shared on social networks, however, we have the potential for limitless message amplification.  Call it word-of-mouth, going viral, or engagement, it all means the same thing: content gets shared with one’s social network, and the payoff is earned social media.  This message amplification is the reason that, no matter whether we’re in PR or social media, our #1 goal in the modern communications landscape is to spur social engagement.

Social media is dependent upon social networks, and those networks are made up of people who are uniquely attuned to the other people in their social networks.  That attunement is what makes the social share so powerful.  While the Wall Street Journal can give us a community targeted by demographics, our Facebook friends are paying attention because they know us, and we’ve built up a level of trust with them.  If our Facebook friends and Twitter following have come to rely on us for sharing interesting content, we’re more than an online influencer: we’re a media outlet.

Stay tuned for the third social disruptor of PR, coming soon to this blog near you.



Target Audience Disruption : 4 Social PR Effects – Part 1

PR has changed at the… thumbs… of social media.  Our target audience is one arena that’s been fundamentally disrupted.

4 Social PR Effects | 1

Social technology has changed the way people communicate: sharing a message with a friend doesn’t take a mail carrier, a phone or a tin can anymore – nor does it have to be a one:one conversation.

These days, sharing with an entire community of friends is as easy as clicking a button. The power of social media lies in the social networks that make the everyman a media outlet, and it’s those social networks that carry the conversations that we as marketers care about.

Those conversations can:

  • Start anywhere
  • Be started by anyone
  • Die anywhere
  • Change and grow
  • Be amplified ad infinitum


What this means for marketing and PR is that social media technology has fundamentally changed the way that successful communications programs work. With that in mind, there are four main social disruptors of our traditional communications programs.  We’ll round out 2014 with a quick 4-part overview of these disruptors, and explore what it means for our campaigns.

We used to broadcast a message at a pre-defined (and sometimes pre-purchased) audience; we’re now aiming to get our message amplified by a social community.

So, what’s the difference?

An audience, by definition, is a group of people who witness something. A community, by contrast, is an interconnected group of people who participate in something together. They are intentionally connected in some way, whether they be friends, colleagues, or members of the same online neighborhood group.

This is where we clearly see the social PR transition: a traditional messaging campaign aims to influence individual viewers directly, whereas a socially-minded marketing campaign aims to influence community members collectively by sparking conversation.

All impressions are not created equal…

What this means for PR is that our job isn’t just getting our message out there and heard: it’s getting our message out there and shared.  (For more on this, check out our 2014 PRSA takeaways from this year.)  The great news is that earned social media is incredibly powerful for PR, because people in a community are highly attuned to the content from one another.  We’re simply more likely to pay attention to content from a trusted personal source (even if that content is advertising content) than we are from a brand.  This is one of the reasons that influencer marketing has become so critical in today’s interconnected communications landscape.

Stay tuned for the second social disruptor of PR, coming soon to this blog near you.



How can we measure brand strategy impact over 2014?

The end of the year also marks the start of many things. It’s time for celebrating and witnessing our colleagues a little worse for wear at the Christmas doo, the lead up to some much needed time off and dates with the family – or if you’re anything like me – a date or two with Nextlix.

Year end is also a time for reminiscing over events that have unfolded. Accordingly, it’s around this time that we PR and Marketing professionals measure the effectiveness of the year’s brand strategy and gear up to report on the successes, challenges and opportunities that we face going forward. Our bosses are expecting us to have made fact-based budget decisions for the upcoming year, and brand measurement insights enable us to do just that.

So how do we go about measuring and evaluating the success of our PR campaigns? Well, there are a number of ways we can measure our brand strategy impact, let us explain..

1. Media Coverage

The number of brand mentions received in publications, partnered with potential audience reach, has a corresponding impact on our bottom line, which is reason enough to measure media coverage. Analysing peaks and troughs of articles captured over a specific time allows us to understand and measure brand strategy and media relations impact to assess the extent to which our campaign’s objectives were achieved. Benchmarking ourselves against previous years is a great way to see our position. Media coverage analysis can also provide answers to the following questions:

  • What publications are interested in our brand? Do we need to improve our targeting?
  • Is the publication of high value? Does it have a large potential readership? Targeted audience?
  • Which journalists are reporting on our brand? Have we reached influential industry voices?
  • What information is highly circulated? It could be new product launches, company news or brand campaigns.
  • How do opinion leaders view our brand? This gives a good indication on whether we need to tweak our messaging.

2. Share of Voice

How can we measure brand strategy over 2014? Measure share of voice in relation to quality of publication and sentiment of message.

How can we measure brand strategy impact over 2014?

Don’t just keep up with the Jonses, beat them! It’s pretty simple, all we need to do is monitor our competitor’s PR and news and voila! Suddenly we have a pool of insights from which to work. Benchmarking against competitors is a great way to measure brand strategy success by reflecting on how well we’re doing from a market share perspective.

In order for our brand to be recalled from memory we have to be memorable, more so than competitors. Memorability involves repetition, repetition, repetition (sorry couldn’t help myself!) of our brand and message, hence why share of voice is an important metric to monitor. We should, however, be aware that simply the number of hits in any number of publications isn’t the be all and end all. The potential reach to our target audience of the publication is just as important to measure in order to observe how many were exposed to our messaging.

3. Geographical Breakdown

Understanding where in the world our brand is making waves helps us gauge the reach of our campaigns, performance in certain areas and the overall impact our brand has had in various countries/ regions. We may be able to see potential growth development areas or make informed decisions on withdrawing resources in locations that have shown little interest. It’s also interesting to see our presence versus competitors and the reasoning behind their success or failures so we can imitate or avoid.

4. Sentiment

The most effective way to measure brand strategy success is to combine both quantitative and qualitative data. For example, having our brand mentioned in a record number of publications is great, unless they are tarnishing our brand by airing dirty laundry online. Sentiment analysis helps us save face in these kinds of situations by diving deeper into numerical data and bringing tonality of coverage to light. This particular metric is useful during crises as it helps us study how our brand message is resonating with the media.

5. Advertising Equivalent Value (AEV)

The cost of editorial coverage had the article been an advertisement is a common metric used to evaluate the value received from PR; the keyword being value, not volume. Value refers to reach as well as who the publication is reaching- it must be our target audience to be of use to us.

6. Social Reporting

How can we measure brand strategy impact over 2014? Listen on social.

Not only should we be keeping a close eye on media coverage when measuring brand strategy impact – but we should remember those who are most important. Our customers.  Listening to what our customers’ are saying using any good social media monitoring tool is gives us a good indication of:

    • Campaigns they find most engaging
    • Where they are engaging, so we can make informed decisions on whether we should increase efforts on a certain channel/ location in the world?
    • Our social share of voice
    • Who are the top influencers and our level of engagement with them
    • How much our customers love us through sentiment analysis

That’s just a few ways quality online news monitoring tools, such as the Meltwater’s PR suite, can measure brand strategy impact. In addition, our newly launched product, Meltwater Pulse, can help us take reporting to the next level by enhancing our media monitoring efforts with strategic analysis and results. We have the option of monthly, quarterly or annual reports delivered straight to our inbox making our hectic office lives a little easier and hopefully scoring us some brownie points with management along the way!