PR Measurement for Startups

We all know that even the smallest startup needs PR. (And we hope they know it, too!) But what many may be overlooking is the need to measure their PR efforts, no matter how small.

Agencies and larger corporations are already measuring the effectiveness of their PR campaigns and programs, and while these measurements may not be realistic for startups (too much time or money), they can still offer some lessons and best practices.

I know the list below is not exhaustive by any means, but the measures below are the most important for startups to adapt when analyzing PR. Some of the measures I have suggested are not scientific and by no means as accurate as what we may like. But keep in mind that the point of measuring is to reduce error and uncertainty, not completely eliminate it. Any reduction is valuable, no matter how small. Continue reading

The Media World is Changing — PR Pros Should Rejoice

As a media junkie, I follow news from the media universe (whether it’s PR, advertising, newspapers, digital publications, etc.) religiously. It’s a bit nerdy, I know, but it’s what I enjoy. At any rate, the past several weeks have been especially exciting, and not just because we’re only a few days away from Christmas.

No, the last several weeks have seen a slew of important shifts and announcements among major players in the news business, especially those that appear to a) actually have some money to spend; and b) among those media outlets that are poised to grow exponentially in the coming years, and thus, provide a lot of high-level media opportunities for PR pros and their clients. Continue reading

The List

With the year winding down it’s that time of year – list season.  Top XX blog to follow in the new year, Top twitter users you should be paying attention to, Top New York canines who tweet about music you should follow.


Now being on a well curated list is exciting – a new audience finds your message and you can reach more people – both good things. Assuming you respect the person making the list all the better.

Now here’s the thing about making and building a list, and it’s based on a lesson my college newspaper boss told me during a period when we were having production issues (the images were constantly sub-par) – “Would you want your headshot printed if it came out like that?”  Do you want those on your list to be proud to be on the list?  If your list is of sub-par quality (by whatever standard you set) those who do belong there question whether they really want to be on it to begin with.

Consider, for example, Continue reading

Happy E-Holidays

There is nothing I dread more than finding the perfect holiday cards, addressing them, then spending the next week or so forgetting to purchase stamps. By the time I get the stamps, it’s past the holidays and the cards are still sitting on my dining room table.

So what does my holiday card rant have to do with social media? Well, recently I came across a great post that asked the question “Has Facebook Replaced the Holiday Card?”   For example, the post cited that “last year, 1.8 billion Christmas cards were sent by snail mail. This year, the number is expected to drop to 1.5 billion.”

While I realize we are still talking billions of cards, which is still a lot in the grand scheme of things, I do think social media plays a factor in the e-greeting trend. Admit it, how many of us use Facebook to keep up with our friends’ birthdays? Continue reading

Top 10 PR Resolutions for 2011

The 2010 calendar is running out of daylight and the liquor stores are stacking up the bubbly. So that can only mean a few things are going to come into high fashion and range in levels of greatness.

Some of which will even be trending topics on Twitter including the funny glasses, hangovers, kissing at midnight and the ball dropping in Times Square, but those won’t make their way onto the page. Instead we’re going to take a look at some resolutions that will help us professionally as PR folks. So break out the Pepto because these resolutions may be a tough pill to swallow. Continue reading

Speed is Not Always of the Essence

From time to time, in the British Guardian media section there is a tongue-in-cheek ‘Quick Draw McGraw’ award for the PR pro who mails out a press release the fastest after a big on-diary news event ended. Reading one particular sarcastic award recently it was a good reminder to PR of how bad a so-called ‘Quick Draw’ press release can look.

I get that on-diary news is a nice and easy way to bag a few points for the client. A Presidential address, the latest figures from the Fed, annual surveys – everyone knows they are coming, they are usually packed with news and why not get your client’s point of view over to the right target audience? Continue reading

How Social Media Can Serve as a Free Focus Group

Years ago, when I met up with friends at the mall, brand ambassadors would ask us for fifteen minutes of our time in exchange for a movie voucher, food court ticket, or even sometimes a few dollars.  All we had to do was complete a survey about a new product, commercial or service.  At the time, I had no idea I was partaking in a version of a focus group.

Once college came around, I learned that participating in a focus group was the quickest, and sometimes fun, way of making money.  So what is a focus group?  It’s an opportunity for brands to hear feedback directly from the consumer about a product/service to then evaluate the product and possibly change it according to what was said.

Focus groups take time and money, and brands today are scarce on both.  However, if brands listen to the conversation about its product/service via various social networks, they would be uncovering a huge resource, a free focus group.  In my opinion, one of the most vital ways a company can enhance its product is by paying more attention to the negative feedback during these sessions.

Here are a few examples:   Continue reading

Can We Automate PR? Not so Fast…

There are a lot of things in life that get better with automation. Alarm clocks. Coffee makers. Calendar reminders of your wedding anniversary. But as PR pros, could we make our written communications and messaging better with automation?

That’s the question apparently attempted to be answered by a slate of new automated news reporting services, including one called StatSheet, according to a recent New York Times article.

It’s an interesting question to ponder. The Times article notes that so far, StatSheet is mainly being used as a sort of fill-in news service for collegiate sports programs that lack the level of media attention and coverage that their big-time brethren get.

As a former collegiate sports information director, this obviously piqued my interest, so I gave StatSheet a closer look. It’s worth a quick glance at one of the service’s customized news sites for every NCAA Division I school . . . if only to see for yourself why the concept of automated news, and possibly automated PR, is doomed. Continue reading