David Hargreaves

Reflections on the reinvention of the PR industry

The Data Imperative: Will PR Win or Lose the Battle for Data?

pie-chart 

 

It was interesting to see some of the latest findings in a study entitled 2009 Digital Readiness Report, released by iPressroom. It highlights the fact that PR is ‘leading the social media revolution inside an organization’ which is great to hear. It was also interesting to note that PR lags marketing in just two disciplines: email marketing and SEO, but leads in the disciplines of blogging, social networking, social search and micro-blogging. There is a great post on Jason Falls blog discussing the report in more detail.

I am clearly biased but I am passionate about the fact that the discipline of PR, which is routed in influence, should be the rightful owner of social media. In so doing, we can transform PR into a discipline that cuts across all departments within the organization.

However, if we are to succeed, I think there is one big obstacle we need to overcome – how we use data. If you look at the two disciplines where the PR profession is lagging marketing they are the two areas which are also driven by data. If we are to succeed it is imperative that we become masters of data and how we use data to drive campaigns.

There are lots of great companies out there which are helping to provide the industry with the tools we need to put data at the center of what we do. (I particularly liked BuddyMedia who I met last week in New York).

Yesterday I had another reminder. The ad agency of one of our clients made a grab for a part of the tactical execution of the Facebook component of a campaign. The rationale, according to them, was that they hold all the data analytics for the web site so “it makes sense.” The great skill we have as PR professionals is that we understand how to create and drive content that influences and engages people. However, that will only take us so far unless we show how we then turn that engagement into paying customers.

We are making good headway as an industry but the battle over data is still far from won. 

 

*Also posted on Bitemarks

Filed under: Communications, Marketing, North America, Public Relations, Social Media, Technology, Trends, Web Analytics, , , , , , , ,

The Killer Three Questions to Define a Comms Strategy

I noticed this recent post asking if social media was a strategy or a tactic and it got me thinking about the hard questions that sit behind a comms strategy or indeed social media strategy.fishbone

We have recently been grappling with simplifying the development of a comms strategy down to its bare bones. It is sometimes easy to lose track of the ultimate goal in amongst the bewildering array of channels (online and offline), tactics, and monitoring tools.

I am sure there are more than three, but if we can answer these three questions then we are 95% on our way to develop a campaign that changes perceptions about a product, service or company.  So here are the three questions:

  1. What conversation do you want to be associated with?
  2. What are the key conversations your customers care about?
  3. What are the most influential points (online or offline) of these conversations?

If we can answer these then everything else flows from them. The secret is knowing how to get the answers! Again there is no right and wrong way of getting the answers, it is more about just using the best available tools and applying a logical approach.

Filed under: Communications, How to, Social Media, Trends, , , ,

The Professional’s Dilemma

I am not sure if I am the only one, but I do struggle with what I use various different social networking tools for. Do I accept certain people to be friends on Facebook? Do I Tweet about what I am doing at the weekend when I know that most people who follow me only do so for work-related reasons? Do I accept friends on LinkedIn and if so, why?  I am sure my friends would be thoroughly uninterested in me referencing the latest social media news in my Facebook status.

We all know that work and home lives are converging as work practices become more flexible and as so-called millennials become an ever increasing proportion of the work place population. Consequently, it is only natural that our use of different communications channels becomes increasingly blurred. On top of that, if you look at how leadership philosophy has changed, it is now considered to be just as important for people to know you as a person as it is for you to be able to make the right strategic decisions.

Against this background, I must confess to being somewhat surprised by an article with Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn in the Sunday Telegraph, in which he blankly refused to answer some fairly straightforward questions such as: what is your favorite holiday destination? favorite car?

I certainly understand the need to keep some elements of professional and home lives separate, but equally it is important to know a bit about the personal story of people behind the business. I think LinkedIn is a great tool and I use it fairly heavily for work. However, it struck me as odd, the CEO of LinkedIn, taking the ‘social’ completely out of the ‘professional social network’. Maybe LinkedIn really is that serious a business? With a valuation of $1bn, it is obviously doing something very right.

Filed under: Communications, Social Media, Technology, Trends, , , , , , ,

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