New PR measurement guide offers pointers, case studies

Years ago, Shonali Burke started a new job with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and was told to “do PR” for the organization. But what did that mean?

The society helps out lovable fuzzballs such as puppies and kittens, so PR should be a cinch, right?

Burke, now chief executive of Shonali Burke Consulting, pushed for clearer objectives: “How do you guys measure success? How can my team help your team make money?”

Officials told her about the importance of donor acquisition in keeping the lights on, saving animals, and maintaining the hospital. Burke was able to design a successful campaign around this business objective, she says in the new guide from Ragan Communications and Nasdaq Corporate Solutions.

The free guide is titled “PR Measurement That Matters: How to measure your communication efforts, align PR objectives to business goals, and prove your value within yourorganization.”

It offers practical advice and in-depth case studies telling how Adobe, McDonald’s USA, and Roche measure PR success.

Measuring the right things

Every month the executive team wants to know what they are getting for the outlay on public relations. PR pros must have a good answer. Measuring the right things can boost your budget and position yourself and your team more favorably by proving real business value to your executives. That way you’re not stuck flapping meaningless statistics in the faces of your leaders.

Topics include how to identify your business goals and objectives, tracking website analytics, gaining insight from customer feedback, and even applying the Barcelona Principles.

Define your goals and objectives, and the measurement of outcomes will become clear, says Bill Penn, chairman of the London-based agency Aspectus PR. The converging fields of marketing and communications are focused on getting people to come to a specific website and take a specific action.

If your website is the hub of audience engagement, Web analytics must be at the heart of your PR measurement.

“We’re all going back to a much more simple, commonsense idea of what PR is all about,” says Penn of Aspectus PR. “PR is about a business outcome.”

The guide also details Adobe’s success in using big data both in gathering information to pitch to reporters and in PR measurement. Using a form of statistical modeling known as econometrics, the company sifts through mountains of data to establish a relationship between marketing activities (such as PR campaigns) and bottom-line sales, says Maria Poveromo, senior director of communications at Adobe.

“We built a two-stage model that yields a measurable positive correlation of PR impact on lead generation,” Poveromo says. “It also shows an even stronger correlation of PR activity to deal closure.”

Molly McKenna-Jandrain, director of public relations at McDonald’s USA, tells how the restaurant giant connects PR to profits.

“What is our purpose in that campaign or in creating a Facebook page?” she says. “It shouldn’t just be putting all this activity out there. What’s that end change or end goal that we really want to get to?”

Find out the answers in “PR Measurement That Matters.”


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10 Pinterest pointers for your brand

Pinterest now boasts more than 70 million users and ranks fourth among social networks in traffic. With stats like that, it’s safe to say Pinterest is here to stay.

Even so, I find would-be users have many questions about how to start a Pinterest account for their brand: “Should I create my own pin or use existing ones?” “What should I pin?” “How frequently should I pin?” “Who should I follow?”

Fear not. Here are 10 pointers you can use to make the most of Pinterest for your brand:

1. Link all your online presences. When creating an account, make sure to include your website, Facebook and Twitter handles and physical location(s) so your followers know where to find you.

2. Communicate visually. Always use high-quality photos that showcase your products or services, with as little copy as possible. Since the brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, consider converting complex ideas into infographics or digital posters.

3. Mix it up. Create a range of boards to communicate your brand’s voice, personality and mission. The more diverse your boards are, the broader your audience will be.

4. Write short descriptions. One or two quick and amusing sentences should do it. Just make sure your descriptions are easily searchable and positive.

5. Include a source for each pin. When users click on a photo, they want to be directed to the original source of the information. Make sure you’re directing people to secure sites rather than spam. Whenever possible, post pins that direct users back to your website to increase traffic.

6. Follow top pinners. There’s a reason why they’re at the top. Their pins are interesting and inspirational. They can set a good standard for you to follow.

7. Be an influencer. You can do this by creating your own pins and posting original pins from blogs, websites, and sources that are relevant to your business.

8. Interact with your followers. Show support and collaboration with followers by repinning, liking, and commenting on their pins. Also, recognize followers when they pin something interesting. Don’t focus only on your pins.

9. Pin often. It’s not enough to pin once a week or even once a day. To grow and maintain followers on Pinterest, you have to feed them content. By pinning several times a day, you’ll be able to have fresh pins show up in your followers’ feeds throughout the day, every day.

10. Brand your pins. Unlike posts on Facebook or tweets on Twitter, pins have a longer shelf life. A pin you post can be re-pinned months later. For that reason, always brand your original pins with a logo, hashtag, URL, or watermark, so that your followers know your brand is the source of the pin, no matter how old it is.

[RELATED: Prove the ROI of your digital efforts after hearing these top-rated case studies in March.]

So, go ahead. Pin away. Just stick to these best practices and you’ll maximize the power of Pinterest as a social marketing outlet for your brand.

Edgardo Rossetti is PR program manager at branding agency Adams & Knight. Follow him on Pinterest. A version of this story originally appeared on the company’s blog. 

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