Setting Measurable Objectives: Key to Proving PR Value

As you’ve probably heard, this week is PR measurement week, part of AMEC Measurement Month.

TIP: If you’re interested but not sure you’ll be able to attend one of the live webinars this week, go ahead and register—you’ll receive an on-demand playback link afterwards!

The AMEC North America chapter kicked-off Measurement Week 2016 Monday morning with a Twitter chat. The chat was followed by an afternoon webinar on setting measurable objectives, led by Mark Weiner, CEO PRIME Research North America, moderated by AMEC North America’s Co-Chair and BurrellesLuce’s CMO, Johna Burke. In this post, I’ll be recapping that webinar.

The most common PR challenge is proving the value of our work. This is often difficult because value is so subjective and individual—varying from one organization and/or person to another.   Weiner suggests the key to success is setting proper objectives and then meeting (or beating) them.

Just what is a “proper” objective? A proper objective should be three things:

  • Meaningful – must be tied back to the organization’s goals (e.g. increasing business performance such as sales or stock price, optimizing labor by attracting and retaining top talent, avoiding loss by averting a crisis or potential reputation disaster, etc.)
  • Reasonable – openly-negotiated, aggregate opinions of top executives and discuss what is really reasonable, then get confirmation and approval to proceed
  • Quantifiable – must answer what, who, how much (by what amount should the metric change) and when (not open-ended)

Let’s focus on the quantifiable objective-setting process. In my experience, this is the step that stumps many of us.  Weiner suggests you take these steps:

  • Review past performance by looking at past objectives and the results, compare to competitors, and determine what would be a realistic increase.
  • Document the public relations objectives in writing (being sure to answer the who, what, when and how much questions).
  • Share the objectives with the executives with whom you originally spoke and with anyone who may be involved in resource allocations, negotiate final details and get authorization to proceed with the plan (as well as publishing the final plan with key executives).

The webinar wrapped-up with an objective-setting checklist (mainly covered in the previous two paragraphs) and examples of what are not proper objectives.  The examples included actions or activities (such as “create press release”, “plan special event”), and goals or aspirations (such as “get more media placements”, “improve brand reputation”. These may move you toward achieving your objective, but are not objectives in and of themselves.

In his final remarks, Weiner cautioned, “Objectives are not fate, we have to work hard to set and meet objectives. They provide direction, help departments prioritize, focuses energy and helps management align with public relations. Objectives must be specific, measurable and unambiguous.”

I want to thank Mark for all this great information and guidance, and invite you to add your own thoughts here in the comments section.

Continue to check back for more posts recapping many of this week’s PR measurement activities!

*This post by Tressa Robbins originally appeared on September 22, 2016, on the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas blog at http://www.burrellesluce.com/freshideas/2016/09/setting-measurable-objectives-key-to-proving-pr-value/ and is cross-posted here with permission. 

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AMEC North America Kick-off with #PRMeasure Chat

This week is the third annual AMEC (International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication) measurement week here in North America—as part of AMEC Measurement Month.  There are PR measurement-related virtual events all week. The best part? They’re all FREE! Just go to http://amecmmna.com and register for any you’d like to attend. Even if you aren’t sure you’ll be able to sit-in on the live webinar, if you register you will receive an on-demand playback link afterwards.

Measurement Week 2016 kicked-off Monday morning with a Twitter chat using the hashtag #PRmeasure. The chat was hosted by PR News and featured Measurement Hall of Famers Mark Weiner, Linda Rutherford and BurrellesLuce’s own Johna Burke.

I have personally been active on Twitter since 2008 and have participated in more chats than I can remember. I don’t say this lightly and can honestly say, this was one of the most robust chats that I’ve ever participated in, with more than 20 questions and netting more than 400 tweets in one hour!  It offered so much valuable information that it would be impossible to summarize into short form—simply wouldn’t do it justice.  Instead, we’ve created a Storify for your review. It’s not every single tweet but way more than what I’d call a “recap”.

Watch here for more posts recapping many of this week’s PR measurement activities!

*This post by Tressa Robbins originally appeared on September 21, 2016, on the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas blog at http://www.burrellesluce.com/freshideas/2016/09/amec-north-america-kick-off-with-prmeasure/ and is cross-posted here with permission. 

Public Relations Today

past-present-futureI was recently interviewed by Sword and the Script Media founder Frank Strong (via email) for his blog.  Normally, I wouldn’t make a point of mentioning it or posting here but in this case it’s apropos to a speaking gig I have coming up. The key topic of the interview was how PR has changed over the years. Has PR become harder in the digital age?  I posit that the entire communications field is rapidly evolving, and tactical options seem to multiply faster than one can keep up with, but at the core are still the same, solid PR strategies. [Read the full post here: http://www.swordandthescript.com/2016/09/modern-pr-different]

I will be speaking more about this at the PRSSA 2016 National Conference, the largest congregation of public relations students in the country, next month. My session is entitled, “Public Relations in the Digital Age,” so you can see how the two are related!  I will discuss more on keeping up with all those rapid changes at the conference.

Stay tuned. I’m sure to write a wrap-up post 😉.

 

Copyright and Image Attribution

A couple years ago when I had trouble finding information about image copyright, after some digging, I wrote a blog post to report on what I found.

I just read a new post by Melissa Duko that I wanted to share with my readers that does a fantastic job of helping you with whether you should use an image or not. The article is entitled, “Copyright Infringement: Are You Allowed to Use That Image?” and can be found at http://www.ezanga.com/articles/copyright-infringement-are-you-allowed-to-use-that-image.

For reference, my original post is below. Hope they help!

Tressa's Truisms

by flickr user opensource.com under CC BY license by flickr user opensource.com under CC BY license

I was teaching a class on blogging this past semester at Southeast Missouri State University. As we discussed the importance of images in blogging and storytelling, I told the class, “Just because it’s on the Internet does not mean it’s free!” I explained that you must attribute any image you use back to its origin.  Unfortunately, that was not explanation enough and apparently caused confusion.  As I struggled to explain more thoroughly, I thought there have to be others out there with this same perplexity!

“The law automatically grants full “copyright” over any creative work a person makes unless otherwise stated.

Copyright law is incredibly complex. Adding to that complexity is the fact that most of the laws governing copyright were written long before the World Wide Web. Regardless, here are some tips and best practices.

If you are…

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New Resource (Book) for Millennial Job Seekers

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Photo Credit: Bolla Photography

As a PRSSA professional adviser and PR student mentor, I often get questions about job searching, professional networking etiquette, cover letters, interview preparation and follow-up, and résumé writing (as well as personal branding).  Those questions are typically prefaced with “how do I …” followed by “will you read what I wrote and give me feedback”.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I get incredible joy and satisfaction from helping and mentoring PR students and gladly do so; however, I can’t count how many times I’ve thought that I should write this stuff down so I could just send a ‘canned’ response to some of those frequently asked questions—just to save time.

Last Fall, I was contacted via Twitter by Danny Rubin who had just completed a book called, Wait, How Do I Write This Email? and subtitled, “Game-Changing Templates for Networking and the Job Search”.  He knew (from my bio and various social media activity) that I do a lot with PR students and thought it might be helpful. A free book? Um, yes, please! Then I completely forgot about it until a couple months later when the book arrived in the mail along with a personal note from Danny. After skimming through, I knew within minutes that this book is as good as GOLD to, not just students but young pros or really anyone—especially those who’ve been out of job search mode for some time.

Around that same time, I was planning the PRSA St. Louis annual Career Development Day and thought this would be the perfect opening keynote topic. Fortunately, we were able to bring Danny in for the event to speak and do a mini-writing workshop and it was so helpful I wanted to share with you a few takeaways.

Use the power of storytelling in your cover letters , bio, etc. (even during the interview) to make you stand out from the crowd.

  • Lead with a compelling personal story—an anecdote that you can relate to the job skills required.
  • Stories, told properly, will capture the reader’s attention and keep them reading.
  • Unique details matter!
  • A personal story will leave a more lasting impression and makes you more memorable.
  • Starting and ending on the same story (a technique that professional journalists use) demonstrate that you “get it,” and that you know how to apply these tactics in a real-world setting.

So how do you do this? I’ll share an excerpt from Danny’s book (Chapter 9: The Power of Stories) where he steps the reader through the six parts of a storytelling cover letter.

Danny’s outline for the storytelling cover letter:

  1. Open with a line that places readers into the story. Grab their attention and make them think.
  2. Include concrete details about the story. The more specific you are, the more colorful the anecdote, the more memorable you will be. Quantify your results—provide hard numbers when appropriate.
  3. Demonstrate how the story applies to the job by referring to the job description—making sure the anecdote reflect the person the company is looking to hire.
  4. Show you did your research and understand how the company fits into the marketplace by explaining how you will help the company grow its business and make it more successful.
  5. Share more of your qualities as they relate to the story. Again, referencing the job description, touch on qualities you know the company admires and show how you would be a good cultural fit.
  6. Mention your story one final time and bring the cover letter full circle.

As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, Danny offers up more than 100 templates demonstrating various scenarios and taking the guesswork out of applying these techniques.

*This post by Tressa Robbins originally appeared on March 31, 2016, on the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas blog at http://www.burrellesluce.com/freshideas/2016/03/new-resource-book-for-millennial-job-seekers/ and is cross-posted here with permission.

How can PRSSA help you?

PR, Communications, Marketing Students: This is a GREAT post by Stacey Howard, SIUE PR instructor, with excellent points on how PRSSA can help you.

My Causerie

Photo Credit: brainpicker via Compfight cc Photo Credit: brainpicker via Compfightcc This image has been cropped.

Not interested in a career in public relations? So maybe you think there is no reason to join a professional student organization like the Public Relations Student Society of America? Think again. Membership in a professional organization like PRSSA can help you enhance your education, broaden your network and launch your career…and that’s not just marketing mantra talking!

According to Stacey Cohen, founder of Co-Communications Inc., personal branding is critical for college students, CEOs and everyone in between.

Cohen says, “In a sea of sameness, the need to develop a strong point of difference to progress to the next round is non-negotiable.”

The job market is fiercely competitive, and as I have often reiterated to students, you have to do more than just get the piece of paper. Everyone who crosses that stage on graduation day is doing…

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