Tag Archives: PR measurement

Social Media Club NYC Recap: Social Media Measurement

Last Thursday, Social Media Club NYC met to discuss the topic of social media measurement.  Doh Young Jung, data scientist at Brandwatch, was one of the speakers at the event. The second speaker was Martin Murtland, vice president of platform management at PR Newswire. The moderator for the evening was Howard Greenstein, president and organizer of SMCNYC.

Q: What is your role in your company?

Murtland: I am responsible for developing the roadmap for a lot of the products. Some interesting research is that 56 percent of brands and agencies are equating the value of their social media activities to their business outcomes. So we need to know how to show businesses the value of what they are doing with their social media activities. I am a firm believer that the key to this is for practitioners to talk the language of business, which isn’t necessarily talking about all the metrics you can have but more about trying to understand how you can link to those metrics with what you are trying to achieve from a business perspective.

Jung: I am part of the analytics team. We do a lot of consulting services with clients, and we try to help them understand social media as well as how to use our tools better. In addition, I do a great deal of reporting for clients when they have specific social media questions.

Q: What are we talking about when we say social media measurement?

Murtland: It goes back to what you are trying to achieve from a business perspective. You can look at it like a marketing funnel which you flip over, and then you have to push your leads through the different areas. And you have to work very hard to get them through. Try to think about what you are doing with your campaigns; what metrics are appropriate in each of those general areas, as well as what you are trying to do inside the marketing funnel. For me, it is important to look at where the industry is going and what companies are doing to create these tools to enable users.

Jung: Our goal is to always deliver relevant content in a timely manner. When we talk about relevance it is about understanding our client’s objectives in terms of the data that they want and knowing when they need that data. We always want to make sure that our tool is easy for the practitioner to use and the reporting is easy to understand. Many of our clients come from PR and marketing agencies, and then we also support their clients. In addition, we have some larger financial clients that use social media monitoring for their product offerings.

Q: Why is social media measurement more difficult than just turning on these tools that you offer and letting them do the work?

Murtland: The software providers know part of the puzzle but it also takes work on behalf of the user to understand what issue they are trying to solve. It is important to know what you want to achieve consistently over time. One of the key things from a measurement perspective is to benchmark yourself. Don’t worry so much about what metric you use in the beginning, but try to benchmark what are you doing — otherwise you will not know what’s having an impact and improving. If you are able to do it well then include in your benchmark some of your competitors. You want to try to create reference points to see how well you are doing. From there you can think about what kind of metrics you can cover and what metrics you should be covering from a business perspective. Then look for an overlap between these two groups of metrics, and that should be the metrics you use.

Q: You (Jung) are a data scientist, so what is the science of what you are doing?

Jung: We deal a lot with numbers. We do want to show the different trends going on with social media data. As companies start to collect this type of data and look into it, the more accurate of a vision they can have of relating it back to their business purposes, such as the their marketing or financial results.

Q: Do you consult with companies about the purpose of the stats they are collecting?

Murtland: We do have a team for that. The first question to ask is: What are you trying to achieve from a business perspective? No metric or tool will resolve your business problem, you have to start by identifying the problem and then let everything else drive it.

Jung: Our starting point for every discussion is helping clients ask the right question. For example, if there is a case where a company is starting with zero awareness about whatever they are releasing then we have to do competitive research. So if they are releasing something on the market that already has competitors, we go into competitive data sets and see how they are doing in the market and then we tell the client what the competitor is doing successfully or wrong. This gives them some type of strategy.

Q: Now that we have established a baseline and know what business goal we are trying to achieve with our social, what’s next?

Murtland: The next step is to understand some kind of cause and effect. It is important to log and record the type of activities you have been doing. You want to show that what you are doing is actually driving the change.

Q: Can you have a tool where you are can both send out your social and measure it?

Murtland: We have a product that is an engagement console where you are able to track some of your activities. Likewise we have different tools for more earned media. You are able to log your activities in there.

Jung: We started out as a monitoring tool, so that is our core focus. We have seen more requests for engagement, and this is an area we want to venture into.

Q: Not all the networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, etc.) make their metrics available, so how do you bring all this stuff together into one global picture that you can start to understand as a marketer?

Murtland: Work out what metrics you can measure and what metrics you should be measuring. The other thing to try to validate is where that data is coming from and what it means. I think there is a lot of jargon and ways to express different things, so try to understand it.

Q: How do you view a single metric vs. combo metrics, because the combo metrics seem more accessible?

Jung: It depends on your business goals. Also different types of clients have different things they are more interested in, so there is no one easy formula. PR agencies are more interested in influencer identification, which is trying to identify whether a tweet from a personal account is different than a tweet from a more influential account. They want to find those Twitter handles that have more influence and impact on social media.

Q: How do you determine what is influential for that particular brand?

Murtland:  What is important to me is the contextual influence, so what is the person’s domain and whether they are influencers around that. You can also check if they are an influencer by seeing if their followers are active; look for retweets.

Jung: Our tool can collect historical data as far back as two-and-a-half years. We begin by identifying Twitter handles or any sort of users that mention a relevant brand or marketing campaign topic. We then delve into what they are posting about and look for the topic in their conversation.

Q: How much semantic or sentiment analysis are you doing, and how do you decide if it makes any sense?

Jung: We do have built-in universal sentiment engines and they are based on things like swear words. We are able to customize syntax and understand the language better of certain conversations that have been surrounding positive or negative topics. We can manually change the rules, tweak it, and make sentiment more reliable.

Murtland: There are a couple things you want from a sentiment tool. They are: 1) automated sentiment, looking and analyzing large volumes of content and identifying trends inside it; 2) manually being able to override the scores.

Q: What do we need to do next to tie what we are doing (getting inquiries, selling products, etc.) to some sort of a business metric?

Murtland: You need to start by looking at the peaks and troughs, and try to see if there is a correlation between them. You can try to see the causes and effects that are happening and the correlations, then you can begin understanding and seeing what’s working and not working. Do more of what’s working and less of what’s not working. Repeat and then see the effect.

Jung: As a company becomes increasingly savvy about social data, one thing they can do is set a target to reach. For a lot of PR agencies, the target is often key message penetration. They want to see that a message they crafted is actually being delivered through social media to the audience that they want to reach. An increase in key message penetration has resulted in positive/negative business performance.

Q: How do you keep out confounding data? An example of this was when the “Old Spice Guy” first came out and there was a huge spike in sales, but then someone noted that P&G had a major couponing campaign going on.

Jung:  Our entire app is based on Boolean, so if we see a peak we are able to delve into it. We can cut it out and see what the marketing volume was about as well as the coupon conversation. Then we look at the relationship there, and if we see both things increasing then that can mean both have worked.

You can watch a video of the event here:

(If you’re unable to view the video on this page, please go to: youtu.be/TXGg6rXLMcs)

Whether you’re a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email — all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

Written by Polina Opelbaum, editor of ProfNet, a service that helps journalists connect with expert sources.  To read more from Polina, check out her blog on ProfNet Connect.

How Content Distribution Drives Message Discovery (and Results!)

Like any business, sometimes our own story needs telling.  Earlier this year, we decided that we needed to do some PR for our MultiVu business, which focuses on the production and distribution of multimedia content.   It’s cutting edge stuff, with some truly unique aspects, and it sits right between PR and marketing, and we needed to offer some explanation and raise awareness of these services.

So what did we do?  We did the same thing any of you, our customers, would do.   First, our team brainstormed the messaging.  They outlined the key points we needed to convey from a brand standpoint, and then approached the messaging from the opposite context – the questions our audience often asks has about producing video and other multimedia content, and the various struggles that can complicate these projects.

“The hardest thing to do is to distill what you do into a short-form, engaging video,” noted Bev Yehuda, vice president of web engagement products for MultiVu.  “We had to apply what we tell our clients all the  time regarding developing a video: if you don’t take the time out during the process to determine what your elevator pitch is, you run the risk of creating irrelevant content.”

With the messaging drafted, it was time to determine the medium.   Since this was about MultiVu, we knew we needed to use multimedia messaging.   We wanted to show our expertise (and our personality!) in a fun and friendly way, so we went with an animated approach.

Upping exposure with distribution

Once our animated video was done, we packaged it into a multimedia news release (“MNR”,) which combines a variety of distribution strategies and channels.

mv mnr explainer

Here’s a snapshot of the MNR we created to promote the MultiVu video. Click on the image to see the whole thing.

 

Of course, we could have simply shared the video socially – and we did post it directly to a number of social sharing sites – but the distribution component that is built into an MNR is crucial, for a number of different reasons:

  • Distribution drives discovery, delivering content to relevant audiences across the web – on channels, via news web sites and in industry niches.
  • Discovery seeds social conversation, amplifying your message, and increasing exposure to relevant groups.
  • Social conversations deliver third party credibility that can spur people to take action.
  • Distribution increases the number of digital touch points for your brand, and if your audience values the content, it will gain visibility in search results.  Search engines are informed by user activity and interactions around a piece of content.

How Content Distribution Drives Social Interaction

Prior to the release of the MNR, we shared the video itself on PR Newswire’s Facebook and LinkedIn pages. More than 1,400 of our Facebook fans saw the video, and it was liked by 6 and shared by 3.   It fared better on LinkedIn, where it was seen by 1,983 people, generated 30 click-throughs and 8 shares.  Decent exposure for the two minutes (if that) required to share the video with PR Newswire followers.

mv distribution effect on social

However, if you need proof of how distribution drives social interaction with content, you needn’t look any further than the sharing numbers the MNR generated.  Readers of the MNR shared it with their Facebook friends 196 times (as of this writing.)

Distributed content reaches qualified, interested audiences.  And social shares have a strong viral effect, triggering more shares.

Overall Multimedia News Release Results

The social sharing was just one aspect of the visibility the MNR generated for MultiVu.  Over all, adding distribution paid off for this project, tallying thousands of reads of the press release — and tens of thousands of video views.

mv explainer Multimedia News Release Results

It’s very satisfying for us to put on a “customer” hat and use our own services to promote our messages, and witness first-hand how our networks deliver lasting results and visibility.  And based upon the results of this campaign, you can look for more from these animated characters created by MultiVu – several more videos are in the works!

Want to explore creating your own “explainer” video or learning about how multimedia distribution can increase discovery of your brand’s messages?  We’d love to hear your ideas, and help turn them into reality. Contact us for more information.

sarah avatarAuthor Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media, and is the author of the e-book “Unlocking Social Media for PR.”  Follow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik .

Press Releases With Multimedia Get More Views

best press release format tips multimedia news release

Press releases that offer readers a variety of multimedia options (e.g. video, images, downloads) generate almost 10 times more views than plain-text messages.

A couple years ago, we looked at big chunk of press release data, and learned a lot about what drives results.  We’ve discussed press release writing tips and tactics – such as headline structure, release timing and embedding links – that contribute meaningfully to generating more readership and engagement for press releases.

But nothing – NOTHING – does a better job of driving press release reads than adding some sort of visual.   Today, we’re releasing the results of another survey of press releases,  and the benefits of adding visuals are clear – press releases with an array of visual offerings get almost 10 times the views logged by their plain-text counterparts.

Ten TIMES.

I think we can all agree that competition for audience attention is fierce these days.    In addition to competing for attention in the newsroom,  our messaging also needs to compel social media denizens to share, like and tweet the content.   Search engines also pick up signals from readers of your content that ultimately determine where the content lands in the search engine results page (SERP) that users see when they use Google or Bing to find something online.    Suffice it to say,  the press releases and other content we publish are now wearing just as many hats as we do.  And when planning a campaign, it’s important to think about that.  The press release you write to communicate with key media will also be seen by bloggers, analysts, employees and customers – both current and prospective.   Including multimedia content that captures and focuses attention on your message will give your content real competitive advantage in today’s crowded information marketplace.

Need some help getting started with planning visuals for upcoming campaigns?  Take a look at our collection of blog posts about Visual PR.  We’ve collected all sorts of advice from best practices for brands on Pinterest to scripting video yourself to creating infographics.

Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media.

Award-Winning (really!) Content Distribution with the ARC Engagement Platform

While content is the cornerstone of most marketing strategy, it does a brand little good if people don’t see it.  That’s why content distribution, and the content delivery networks that power that syndication, are the subject of a lot of interest these days.

If you know PR Newswire, you know that “content distribution” is our middle name.    At its core, PR Newswire is a content distribution powerhouse, delivering hundreds of messages – including text, images and video – daily, via ultra high speed internet, lightweight apps, social networks, RSS, satellite and e-mail.

Our team are constantly pushing the envelope on this idea of distribution, because, simply put, unseen content doesn’t do its job.  To be effective, messages must be seen, heard and experienced.  Behind the scenes, we’re busy building the next generation of content delivery mechanisms, including lightweight widgets that simplify multi-language syndication, and dynamic media players that deliver refreshed content automatically.

We’re doing a pretty good job, too.  In fact,  the dynamic media player is at the heart of our award-winning ARC Engagement Platform, a content distribution tool that marries branded HTML page and an embeddable, shareable, interactive media player.  The ARC enables PR professionals and marketersto easily create, manage, and update digital content and connect with their audiences through multimedia content, national distribution, social sharing and specific calls-to-action throughout the course of a campaign or messaging cycle.

We’re proud of the fact that the ARC has been recognized with a slew of awards this year, including:

Custom Content Council – Pearl Awards Gold Winner for Best Microsite

PR Newswire and Mullen Advertising were recognized for Mullen’s use of the ARC as the primary vehicle to drive the Men’s Wearhouse’s Fifth Annual National Suit Drive.  By creating a branded, content-rich hub, sharing ongoing campaign updates and incorporating specific calls-to-action to drive clothing donations and online fundraising, Mullen successfully converged their earned, paid and social media efforts and executed an integrated, content marketing campaign that exceeded campaign goals.

PR News Digital PR Awards: Digital Marketing Campaign (under 100k) & Ragan’s PR Daily

PR Newswire and Apple Vacations received recognition by PR News and Ragan’s PR Daily for the use of the ARC to execute a digital marketing campaign promoting winter getaways in the Dominican Republic.   Apple Vacations tapped into the power of  PR Newswire’s ARC to not only share a complete library of visual content of their own and of their travel partners, but also to support their SEO strategies and help them align their traditional earned media efforts with their paid media efforts.  PR News awarded the campaign an honorable mention in their Digital PR Awards and PR Daily is slated to announce the winners of their Digital PR & Social Media awards in January 2013.

Expo Magazine E.X.C.I.T.E. Award

The ARC has also proven to be a successful tool to manage a communications strategy throughout the entire life of an event.  Earlier this year, PR Newswire,  Freeman  and Exponation for their use of the ARC as a dedicated microsite for the 2012 Digital Signage Expo (DSE).  The ARC, which housed a suite of event-related multimedia content, acted as a comprehensive microsite for both event exhibitors and attendees. DSE was able to generate significant event exposure, while also sharing relevant, timely content as it became available to maintain interaction with its existing audience, as well as attract new audiences.  The 2012 DSE show was their most successful to date.  (See our digital event marketing case study for details.)

We know that multimedia content generates more views and engagement than plain text, which isn’t at all surprising, since humans are visual creatures, and because most search engines and social networks give visual content more weight (and thus, visibility).   So we’re continuing to forge ahead in developing new ways to distribute content and connect with audiences.

Want to learn more about the ARC?  See some additional details and request more information about it right here.

Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media.

Press Release Engagement: When Your Reader Takes “The Next Step”

A few weeks ago, we added the Instant Access button to our popular ReleaseWatch reports, providing immediate access to the comprehensive Visibility Reports press release measurement reports  PR Newswire provides with each message we distribute.  At the same time, we also started sending a “Five Day Reporting Snapshot” via email, to make it easier for everyone to see the results their releases are generating.

(Related reading:  New Press Release Measurement Reporting Features!)

Press release engagement, defined

In addition to simply telling you how many times your press release was read (which we call “views,” we also summarize the number of times your readers took a “next step.”  We call those actions “engagement.”

Simply put, when someone reading your press release on PR Newswire.com takes another action with the release, we consider that to be engagement.     So what are these other actions readers can take when reading a release on PR Newswire.com?

  • Clicking through on an embedded anchor text link within the press release
  • Clicking on a URL within the press release
  • Sharing the press release on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+ using any of the sharing buttons we embed on each release page
  • Printing or e-mailing the press release
  • Bookmarking the story on sites like StumbleUpon, Digg and Delicious, using the buttons embedded on the release page
  • Embedding the press release in a blog post or other web page, using the Embed button on the release page

Engagement actions are important, which is why we call them out separately within the press release reports we provide.  When one of your readers takes one of these next steps, they get closer to the ultimate objective of your press release, whether that is selling a product, generating support for a cause, encouraging downloads of a white paper or driving traffic to a web site.

The Engagement Index

On the Five Day Snapshot, you’ll also see a reference to the “Engagement Index.”   This index is designed to give you an idea of how your messages are performing when compared to press releases issued by other organizations within the same industry category.   While these categories are fairly broad – the “retail” category will group giant retailers and small mom & pop stores together – they do a good job of giving you some feedback on how your messages are faring within your sector.

Index scores range between 0 and 100, and 50 is an average score.   Scores above 50 are highlighted in green on the reports, and scores below 50 are colored yellow.

An important sample of audience reaction & message effectiveness

While the reports just capture the activity your releases generated on one web site (PR Newswire’s), the information is nonetheless informative, and provides a solid indicator of how audiences responded to your messages.

The index scores are especially useful when you log into the Online Member Center, and access your entire Visibility Reports dashboard, which aggregates all of your press release reports in one place.   (The Instant Access link only provides access to the report for a single release – to access all of you .) When you’re in the dashboard, you can see clearly which releases generated higher engagement scores.  Why is doing this important?  Simple.  Comparing the engagement results of different releases will help you develop an understanding of what sort of content your audience prefers – and what content is most effective.  Taking the analysis a step further and looking at the activities the releases generated can give you more insight into how your audience is using the press releases you issue.

We think engagement is important to think about, because ultimately, engagement describes whether you captured your audience’s attention, and inspired them to act.  It’s a far more involved measure than many, but we think it’s one of the most important, because it helps you understand whether or not a message was effective in inspiring action, not just acquiring eyeballs.

Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media.

New Press Release Measurement Reporting Features!

We all know that measuring the impact and outcomes of a PR campaign is tough, and here at PR Newswire, we’re doing all we can to help customers understand and quantify the results their press releases generate.

Today we’re rolling out some important changes for US customers to our Visibility Reports and ReleaseWatch press release measurement reports, both of which are included when you distribute your press release via PR Newswire.

Visibility Reports “Instant Access”

Starting today, you’ll see a green button at the top of your ReleaseWatch reports, labeled “Visibility Reports Instant Access.”

Clicking on this button will take you to the Visibility Reports page for that press release, where a variety of different metrics relating to your press release – such as online views, media views, demographic data and search engine referrals – will accumulate over the coming days, weeks and months.

At first, the reports won’t show much – though results start to accrue immediately, it does take a little time for audiences to find and engage with your messages.  We find that many press releases generate significant reads over a few days post-issue.   To ensure you get a handle on your results, we’re going to start sending you reminders to check your report at the two, five and 30 day marks.

The 30 day reminder email.

Summary results delivered directly via email

The reminder you receive on the fifth day after you issue a press release will also include a high-level summary of your press release results to date, in addition to the Instant Access button, which will enable you to access the full report for that particular press release.

A partial snapshot of the summary report that will be delivered via email the fifth day after you issue a press release.

We want to make it easy for you to quickly capture the most up-to-date results for your press releases, which is why we developed Instant Access to your reports.  For an in-depth view of all your stored press release measurement reports, access the the Visibility Reports dashboard in the Online Member Center.

Which Newswire Service Do Journalists Prefer?

PR Newswire (http://s.tt/1oqEK)

Of the journalists surveyed by Vitis PR, 54% found that PR Newswire was the most valuable newswire followed by PA** (38%), SourceWire (37%) and Businesswire (34%).

Technology PR and search agency Vitis PR has announced the results of its recent survey of UK journalists, which reveals which newswires/press release distribution* services journalists actually read and to what extent they find these services useful in their work.

Vitis PR surveyed 80 UK journalists from its own contact lists across a variety of industries. The survey targets included consumer and business technology, marketing, cleantech, ecommerce/retail and the automotive sectors. The agency believes that these results are also applicable across other vertical sectors.

Journalists, from daily newspapers to well respected websites and freelancers took the time to help the PR agency to understand:

  • How often do journalists use newswires?
  • Which newswires are the most valuable?
  • What newswires are used for?
  • How newswires should interact with journalists?
  • How often do journalists use newswires?

Many journalists make newswires a regular part of their news gathering and research routines.

Respondents were asked to indicate which services they found most valuable in their work.Of the journalists surveyed, 54% found that PR Newswire was the most valuable newswire followed by PA** (38%), SourceWire (37%) and Businesswire (34%).

Newswires specific to particular verticals were also mentioned by individual journalists, including:

  •  NewsPress (automotive)
  • Headline Auto (automotive)
  • Gamespress
  • Technology4Media

Based upon the comments Vitis PR received, journalists indicated (perhaps unsurprisingly) that industry-specific services tend to be more valuable.

What are newswires used for?

78% of respondents said they use newswires for news stories, while 56% use wires for article or feature ideas and 56% for monitoring industry trends.  Many also cited newswires’ role in factchecking.

“Writing news for a monthly print publication I simply use newswires as an easy way to find/verify information, “one respondent noted. “They are often faster/easier than navigating corporate websites and press rooms. Links in wire releases to images and more information are particularly useful.”
Jas Sahota, Director, Vitis PR commented: “We believe that the best way to target a journalist is to follow them, understand what they write about, pitch a story to them exclusively and provide them with good content. While wires offer the ability to provide additional information the feedback from our respondents is that (on the whole) newswires need to find a way to help cut through the volume of less valuable releases.”The full results of the survey, including more insights gleaned from the journalists who responded, are available on the Vitis PR web site: Which newswires do journalists actually read? 80 journalists surveyed.PR Newswire (http://s.tt/1oqEK)


Mapping the Reach of Content Distributed by PR Newswire

Press releases and other content distributed by PR Newswire reach audiences via news media, search engines, social networks and a huge global content syndication network.

 

Demand More From Your Press Releases

By now it’s no secret that content is the cornerstone of today’s communications campaigns.  Interesting content fuels social media discussion, provides important fodder for search engines and it’s an integral part of automated and inbound marketing campaigns.  Public relations departments and agencies are prodigious creators of content, and much of that content is in the form of press releases.

From what I’ve seen, many press releases issued today appear to be pretty traditional in terms of formatting and goals.   In reality, today’s information environment offers more opportunity for PR pros to reach audiences and influence outcomes.  To do so, however, we need to rethink the press release. Simply put, I think it’s time for us to expect more from our press releases in terms of audience reached and outcomes delivered.

Audience:

Traditional media – and their new media audiences:  Traditional newsrooms are still the primary objective for most campaigns featuring press releases.  However, it’s important to remember that journalists at all different types of media outlets are now charged with creating content for blogs, podcasts and videos; and also for feeding the social media engines that power today’s audience engagement.  Instead of thinking about targeting a journalist, as you craft your message, think about his or her audience (and what would be interesting to them) instead.

Emerging media: Even if your news item never sees the light of day in a print publication, don’t dismiss the power of the digital realm.  Socially-connected influencers can be extremely powerful.  One simple tweet from the right person can amplify your organization’s message amongst a focused group of people who are more likely to be interested in (and act upon) your message than most of the rest of humanity.

Direct to constituents: Of course, one thing we have to think about is the simple fact that brands can now connect directly with audiences.   So, as we write press releases, we need to be thinking in terms of creating content that will resonate with our current and potential customers.  And, of course, communicators also need to pay close attention to building the channels in social networks enable this type of close communication with constituents.

Outcomes:

Media pick up …and re-Tweets?  For many issuers of press releases, media pick up is still the gold standard of desired outcomes.  But given how people consume information today, it’s worthwhile to think long and hard about re-defining what “media pick up” means to your organization.  What about that influential tweet mentioned a few paragraphs ago, and the spate of re-tweets it spawned.  What about the enthusiast blogger with a fast-growing following who is a fan of your brand?   As you plan to measure pick up, think in terms of total influence, and don’t leave any exposure on the table.

Measurable objectives:  One of the exciting things about today’s communication environment for PR professionals is that we’re finally able to make direct linkages between the messages we produce and real business outcomes.  Instead of staggering into the head honcho’s office with armloads of clip books, we can now point to web analytics that show traffic to a web page, downloads of a white paper, or the number of lead forms submitted.  However, you can’t have this happy experience if you don’t embed measurable calls to action into your press releases.

Social buzz and conversation – measured and benchmarked: “Buzz” isn’t an outcome we should really be talking about in a serious way.  In my opinion, there is a difference between “chatter” and “conversation.”    Sure, it’s nice when a press release you issue is tweeted and shared and liked and pinned – but (hopefully) its social life doesn’t end there.   To get a handle of the impact of your messages in the social sphere, keep tabs (and benchmark regularly) the key statistics that illustrate the real effect your messages are having in social channels, including:

  • Pay attention to engagement.  Are people clicking “follow” next to your brand’s handle on Twitter and then tuning you out? Or is your brand developing some real traction with the audience? Simply tracking the number of friends, fans and followers isn’t enough.  Instead, pay attention to the number of times your content is shared, the amount of traffic coming to your web site from social networks and the share of conversation your brand enjoys.  Sure, these numbers should increase as your fan base does.  However, keeping an eye on the ratios of fans to actions, for example, can give you real insight into how efficiently your organization is communicating.
  • Improvement in search engine ranking. Social signals are now among the most important ranking factors for search engines.  If you generate authentic conversation in social channels, chances are good that search engines will notice, and will vault the talked-about content to the top of the search engine results page.  And that’s good for business.

If it feels like this article took a turn into the domain of digital marketing, well, that’s because it did.  A brand’s communications – irrespective of which department actually deployed the content – end up working together online.  To get the most out of the content public relations departments are creating, they need to take a page from their marketing colleagues’ playbooks, and apply those tactics to press releases.

Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media, and is the author of the free ebook Unlocking Social Media for PR.

This Wire Works: PR Newswire vs. PR Web

The summary of press release results, from WolfCom.

 

PR Newswire is a good-sized company, and there’s a lot more to us than the teams of account managers and content specialists, with whom our customers are in frequent contact.

Behind the scenes, we have teams devoted to building the audience for the press releases you issue via PR Newswire.   Our media relations and audience development teams recruit journalists and bloggers for the PR Newswire for Journalists media site, which serves tens of thousands of media professionals worldwide.  Our syndication team adds new web sites to the global network of web sites that source news from PR Newswire.  Our online teams curate and share content on Twitter, building the social audience for news. And our web team is constantly fine tuning the performance and visibility of our web site.

Their work delivers the results you see when you use PR Newswire.   The media views, the online views and the search engine referrals your press releases receive are the direct results of the work one by these folks, who operate behind the scenes, and, let’s face it, are somewhat unsung.

Simply put, we work hard at making the wire really work.

Every now and then, a customer will take the time out to do a comparison between PRN and a competitor, and they’ll publish the results.  We were very gratified when we saw a blog post titled “Wire Service Showdown: PRWeb vs. PR Newswire” on WolfCom’s blog today.

They compared PR Newswire and PR Web in a head-to-head match-up, using identical press releases.

“PR Newswire clearly won the matchup, both in terms of overall performance and in terms of performance per dollar spent. The regional distribution option actually got national coverage and still ended up beating out PRWeb’s national distribution. Most importantly, PR Newswire beat PRWeb in the Google search results, showing that it is superior for meeting SEO objectives,” they noted in the blog post today.

We’re very glad for WolfCom’s business, and are grateful for taking the time out to share the results of their experiment.    As I mentioned, a lot of work goes into the care and feeding of our distribution network, and seeing this post from WolfCom sure made a lot of people smile.

Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media, and is the author of the free ebook Unlocking Social Media for PR.

We’ve just announced The Crowd-Sourced eBook: The Definitive Guide to Social Influencer Engagement and invite you to contribute.