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Tuesday, 29 March 2011

CIPR's New Social Media Measurement Guidance

If anyone was still in any doubt, the latest Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Social Media Measurement Guidance tells it straight. Measuring PR coverage by Advertising Value Equivalents AVEs is pointless: "a greater waste of time and effort you couldn't hope to find". The new CIPR Guidance on measuring social media finally kills AVE and puts the focus on business objectives

You can download the CIPR's full Guidance here (NB it's only available up until 11-04-2011 if you are not a CIPR member)

If you do download it, don't be put off by all the basketball stuff at the front end: it gets better, but not before the sporting metaphors become horribly mixed. I'm thinking the Olympics must be getting to them!

We were particularly pleased to see AVEs rubbished as we recently pitched for a client that had been served by a major agency. I was astonished when the client revealed the big agency was still using AVEs (no names, no pack-drill). Maybe the client didn't want to sanction spending a slice of the budget on evaluation, but not making any attempt to link to client's own business data seems to miss a pretty major point.

We have always tried to take measurement of our work towards real business benefits: more enquiries, more sales, reports of easier sales/getting in the door, better quality recruits etc.

CIPR quotes Jim Sterne: ".. online marketing has been suffering from a delusion of precision and an expectation of exactitude." The authors also point to Brian Solis' blog post: "Influence is not popularity" to underline that quality influencers are infinitely better than a crowd for most business social media purposes.

They admit that social media measurement "remains a work in progress" and that "any robust attribution of ROI to a social media strategy or individual tactic is the exception and not the norm". They point out that different business objectives call for different measures and caution against imperfectly understood or targeted analysis: "Just because you can measure it doesn’t mean you should". Measures are important because "people perform as they are measured, so the (social media) measures must drive strategically important behaviour."

"Investment in social media PR is, by definition, an intangible asset". To measure it needs "media content analysis supplemented by web and search analytics, sales and CRM data, survey data and other methods".

While some of that may be beyond smaller clients' budgets, the need to find acceptable and useful metrics for any client is important to demonstrate added value wherever possible.

PR blog posted by Penny Haywood Calder at PHPR Ltd, Edinburgh, UK. URL: TV Channel on YouTube:

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Friday, 25 March 2011

LinkedIn now has 100 million professionals worldwide and is growing at the astonishing rate of "roughly one million new LinkedIn members every week, the equivalent of a professional joining the site at faster than one member per second."

The site is used in over 200 countries and territories around the world, with more than half of our users coming from outside of the U.S. Source: LinkedIn blog)

Fast Company recently listed LinkedIn at no 24 in their top 50 most innovative companies and hinted the company may go public to expand further, but they're not doing too badly already and easily surpassed their 2009 revenues ($120.13m) in the first 9 months of 2010 ($161.4m). I guess the recession focused minds on sharpening up network connections - and there is no better way to credibly expand your work-related circle imo. The power of the Linked-In groups is the real key here.

More interestingly, cofounder and executive chairman, Reid Hoffman told Fast Company that "We're taking the aggregate data set and turning it into new products that are useful for everyone. That means that users can now search new Company Pages to find connections to a given company (as well as recent hirings and firings), while college students can use a new app called Career Explorer to follow the employment footsteps of real people. "Where do people normally go when they graduate with my major? Which universities does this company hire from? There's a massive lack of information," says Hoffman. "When everyone can see the patterns, it's useful to everyone."

Scott Nicholson and Anita Lillie, from LinkedIn's data sciences team, created the brilliant infographic on LinkedIn's journey on in user growth and user engagement.

PR blog posted by Penny Haywood Calder at PHPR Ltd, Edinburgh, UK. YouTube:

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Sunday, 13 March 2011

Newsletter PR Power

Intellectual Property legal specialist, Patricia Barclay from Bonaccord and PHPR have been developing an innovators' launch pad. The idea is to help innovators extract maximum value from their ideas . Great ideas are not worth much if no-one's heard about them and if the intellectual property is not bolted down properly - and that goes well beyond the patent to the whole branding, processes and corporate identity.

Bonaccord are also raising the profile with a quarterly newsletter called Boncommence, featuring a legal article and a guest piece in each issue. It is aimed at innovative start-ups and I was delighted to be asked to contribute to the first one.

Shortly after the newsletter release, Bonaccord reported "unbelievable feedback" with several larger organisations taking it up and distributing to their lists. A major international bank is sending it to all their Scottish managers with instructions to sign up and distribute to suitable customers and there have been requests from university innovation support centres throughout the UK, plus a number of their clients are sending it on to their customers.

Just proves that a useful newsletter written by people with lots of experience and passion about helping innovators will stand out from the crows amidst all these spammy sales newsletters. Here's to good content!

If you'd like a copy of Boncommence, contact Bonaccord here

PR blog posted by Penny Haywood Calder at PHPR Ltd, Edinburgh, UK.

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Saturday, 12 March 2011

Declining Newspapers Hit Traditional PR?

The latest ABC figures reported in The Drum yesterday show UK newspaper circulations are still declining. National morning newspapers have lost nearly a quarter of a million readers in the last year. The tabloids' combined total circulation is now 5.1 million and the quality dailies around half that at 2.2 million. Lower circulation means lower ad revenues and fewer resources going into editorial - and less opportunities for PR.

Getting coverage in quality traditional media is still a 'badge of honour' for agency and client, but the real trick is covering both the online and off-line media. Ironically, being good at online PR makes for even more opportunities with traditional off-line media. That's because journalists don't sit around waiting for press releases to arrive in their in-box. A friend who writes for a quality national newspaper doesn't even read them: with over 2,000 a day, she'd never get her work done if she did.

So how do you reach the media? Surprise, surprise - when the media need to chase the details for a story, they contact people and hit Google.

Nowadays, PRs not only have to have good media contacts. They also need to understand the basics of SEO to ensure their releases pop up in search results when journalists are searching for information. And be able to engage with journalists online to exploit the new online media outlets.

If I was appointing a PR agency, those are the areas I'd look into very closely.

PR blog posted by Penny Haywood Calder at PHPR Ltd, Edinburgh, UK

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Friday, 11 March 2011

Edinburgh PR Wins Speech Contest

Last night I won a speech contest. OK, it wasn't a big event, but it was the first heat of a speech contest that culminates in the US: the Toastmasters' annual World Championship of Public Speaking in August.

But for me, it is not about taking America by storm. It is the first time that I have won a speech contest. And my third attempt. I will get a second run at the speech with a full session devoted to giving me powerful feedback. Another step towards becoming a professional speaker.

I took my first step in mastering the basics when I joined Toastmasters a few years ago. That was right after we lost a pitch to produce a magazine. The telephone feedback was: "PHPR was much better on paper (you better believe it: we had assembled a team of crack writers on the case) but we were blown away by the other company's presentation".

I asked the obvious question, "Excuse me, but wasn't this a paper-based project we were pitching for?"

There was a very long silence at the other end of the phone. I like to think the caller had just realised they had got it horribly wrong, but maybe they were just not used to a potential supplier questioning them as it was a large and powerful organisation.

It's not that I was a bad speaker. It's just that I wasn't an exceptional speaker. It was an expensive lesson in the power of style over substance.

But they did me a huge favour in that they got me to finally join Toastmasters, which is a hugely supportive and inexpensive arena to hone speaking skills, try out new ideas and build confidence.

To the best of my knowledge, the magazine we pitched for never actually appeared. It is all water under the bridge now. But as far as I know, I've never lost a pitch to a better presenter since I joined Toastmasters.

PR blog posted by Penny Haywood Calder at PHPR Ltd, Edinburgh, UK

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