Things to Learn – and Unlearn- This Year

With the New Year here, it is the time for all of us to reflect on everything we have learned this past year and all of our goals that we have set for the year to come. The article Public Relations Measurement 2010: Five Things to Forget and Five Things to Learn by Don Bartholomew discusses how public relations is now entering a new age where old techniques and measures that have been taught no longer apply to the changing world of public relations today. It is our job in the new year to adapt to these changes, throw out a few of the old rules and allow ourselves to learn and grow with such a fast changing profession. Here are just a few of the tips on his list:

Things to Forget in 2010:

  1. Media Relations Focus: A focus on media relations fails to capture several important aspects of PR – brand, reputation, crisis, employee communication and DTC to name a few. Also, the importance of traditional media is declining. Numerous studies have shown people don’t trust what they read in the media, they trust each other.
  2. Outputs : The need to put PR results in a business context has never been greater. We need to be able to address the question – what are we doing to help drive the business? If you are focused on output metrics like impressions or message delivery, you will always have a hard time explaining business impact. Instead, we need to focus on outcomes and answer the question – what happened as a result of our program or coverage? Understanding outputs has primary benefit as a diagnostic tool rather than a ‘scorecard’.

Things to learn in 2010:

  1. Total Value of PR: The majority of current PR measurement efforts focus on marketing/sales and output metrics. The Total Value Cube is a way to visualize and think about all the potential value your PR and social media efforts deliver. Beyond marketing to include brand and reputation, beyond outputs to include engagement, influence and action, and beyond revenue generation to include cost savings and cost avoidance.
  2. The Difference Between Impact/Value and ROI: ROI (Return on Influence) is a form of value/impact, but not all value takes form of ROI. ROI is a financial metric – percentage of dollars returned for a given investment/cost. The dollars may be revenue generated, dollars saved or spending avoided. ROI is transactional. ROI lives on the income statement in business terms.

    Value is created when people become aware of us, engage with our content or brand ambassadors, are influenced by this engagement, and take some action like recommending to a friend or buying our product. Value creation occurs over time, not at a point in time. Value creation is process-oriented. Value lives on the balance sheet. Your investments in social media or public relations remain an investment, creating additional value if done correctly, until which time they can be linked to a business outcome transaction that results in ROI.

What do you recommend learning and forgetting in the year 2010? Let us know!

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member, Niki Ianni.

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