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Evaluating the media

PR geekiness - the tools & techniques to gain insights from PR exposure

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

PESO: a model, a checklist or a call to learn advertising skills?

PESO (or paid, earned, shared and owned) has been around for a few years, originally created Gini Dietrich, it has been growing in profile. 

Last week I was watching the Twitter and Periscope feeds from the Future Comms 2015 event where there was a panel discussion on PESO and someone (Danny Whatmough, I think) said that it's not so much a model, more a checklist. 

A  checklist of what a PR needs to do to promote a campaign. This is preferable to a 'model', it allows things to be broken down. With native advertising and increasing opportunities to target advertising messages at specific audiences, it only follows that these targeting skills need to run hand-in-hand with the non-paid options. 

The old silo approach of separate disciplines is being swept away as the media platforms enable paid audience message delivery, in an arguably less intrusive manner. 

As PR takes on more channels so comparing their effectiveness is more challenging. Tools like Google Analytics can embrace different channel sources, particularly if these lead to a buy-point on an owned location. 

But PR is more than quantifying the route a buyer takes to buying. These clues help quantify audience interactions, enabling learnings on things like relationship opportunities and what content works.     

Thank you for viewing the article and I very much hope you found it interesting. Please don't hesitate to offer a comment, particularly if you disagree!  It would also be great if you wanted to subscribe to future blog updates.

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

#PRStack - a crowd sourced reference book for PRs

How-to's are growing in popularity.  According to the Hobson and Holtz Report FIR (#808) from earlier this week research by Google found that searches for how-to videos on YouTube are up 70%, year on year. 

A few months ago I asked Stephen Waddington if I could do a guest post on his blogAlways ahead of the curve, Stephen suggested a how-to, and the result was this post on  using Google Analytics to track PR outcomes.

While it's great to pontificate over strategy, there is a time when you need to just get on with it and how-to's make this easier. Following on from this it seemed obvious to look at other how-to topics to contribute with. And recently there was one on using Caspio to make a fully functioning database online.

And then there is #PRstack, an open crowd sourced repository of tools used by PR people. An ebook was going together and I volunteered a section on how to get results out of Brandwatch. The great thing about the book is it covers such a diverse selection of tools from Google Predict, to Buzzsumo, Topsy and Hemingway. They are all PR focussed, and written by PR people.

So where will #PRstack go from here? The tools are changing all the time and this content is time limited. Should it be just a snapshot of where we are now, to be replaced in 6-9 months by app which melds a load of PR tools into one? No idea but it will be fun to watch.   

Thank you for viewing the article and I very much hope you found it interesting. Please don't hesitate to offer a comment, particularly if you disagree!  It would also be great if you wanted to subscribe to future blog updates.

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Practical guide to PR Tools - free ebook launched #PRstack

Tackling public relations workflow

The #PRstack book published today developed as a crowdsourced project to tackle modern public relations workflow.
It consists of a series of case studies by public relations practitioners exploring modern aspects of public relations practice.
There are 18 contributors and 40+ practical how-to examples of tools used in public relations, content marketing and search engine optimisation (SEO).
The book is distributed free under a Creative Commons license via the #PRstack community. You can download a PDF via Slideshare and the chapters will all be shared as a blog posts each day over the next three weeks.

Modernising public relations

Public relations is rapidly modernising from publicity to influencer relations, and brands are developing their own media and communities.
The third-party tools market isn’t quite so neat and clear cut. It is characterised by vendors selling tools packed with features all looking for a problem to solve.
My #PRstack: a practical guide to modern PR tools and workflow is made up of 17 chapters split into the following sections:
  1. Social listening and planning - how to identify and listen to a community using the social web and other data sources
  2. Content - creating content as a means of public relations engagement
  3. Curation - curating content on the social web to turn social content into owned
  4. Building relationships online - examples of influencer relations and community management
  5. Example #PRstack workflows - putting tools together to create a complete workflow
  6. Project management - managing a public relations campaign or any form of project

Building #PRstack

The magical thing about creating a community is that you never quite know how it’s going to develop.
Some gather around an event and disperse as quickly as they came together. Others quickly establish a purpose and hierarchy and become bogged down in bureaucracy.
Some, like the community of practitioners that I spearhead in my day job are noisy and thrive, developing a culture and life of their own.
The #PRstack community started as a blog post in mid-December. I publicly bemoaned the lack of mature workflow for public relations.
A community developed around a Google spreadsheet over the next 50 days. It described more than 100 tools.
Prezly’s Frederik Vincx offered development time to build a web app to sit on top of the #PRstack Google document to help people interrogate the data. Prezly is a storytelling platform for brands that is listed in the #PRStack.
We launched the PRstack app in early March. It now describes more than 250 tools.
During a #PRstack Twitter chat we explored ways to develop #PRstack. My #PRstack: a practical guide to modern PR tools and workflow is the result.

Meet the #PRstack crew

Thank you to Frederik and the team at Prezly for their commitment to the project. As well as the app they’ve laid-out this book. No other vendor has shown such courage or leadership.
The authors of this book have all given up their time and expertise freely to contribute.
Thank-you Matt Anderson; Stella Bayles; Michael Blowers; Stuart Bruce; Scott Guthrie; Sarah Hall; Adam Parker; Gary Preston; Andrew Ross; Andrew Smith; David Sawyer; Kalli Soteriou; Dan Tyte; Max Tatton-Brown; Ben Verinder; Angharad Welsh; and Ross Wigham.
You’ll meet them all as you read through the book, and I highly recommend that you seek them all out on Twitter.
Margaret Clow worked with me to knock the book into shape. Andrew Smith, Adam Parker, Sarah Hall and Sarah Pinch have given me helpful nudges along the way.
Gary Preston and Stella Bayles from CoverageBook.com have been strong advocates alongside the social teams headed by Gemma Griffiths and Dan Tyte at the CIPR; and Danny Whatmough at the PRCA.

Communities can be magical things.

** On a personal note I have read a couple of the guides and they are really helpful. Simple things like Google predict can fashion keyword use around issues, while Hootsuite is a genuine help to managing multi-channel social output.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Making a database usable online with Caspio

Anyone using MS Excel Access on a regular basis will have wondered how easy it might be to move the data online. This might be with a view to enabling a client to view a database, or to allow working from another computer.

I have not tested the latest online offering of MS Office/Access so can't comment on this. I am stuck with the older version of Office which does not easily 'go online'. To solve the problem I recently took a trial with Caspio - a tool to take data online.

The brief - Take Access online

Some background....this was in response to a specific query from a client asking for access to a database I use to create a monthly report. This seemed like a good idea. They can do a bit of slicin'-and-dicin' of their own, gaining some up-to-date added value from it.

And heres the problem. The Access database on which everything sits is not online accessible and even if it were, Access is not the most intuitive platform to run queries on the fly. There is no escaping it; Access is not particularly user friendly. What was needed was a way of creating a GUI or client view which they could use without tuition.

This is the heart of the existing Access database. It kind of makes sense to me if no one else!

Caspio - The Solution?

Caspio is a bit like Access in that it runs on tables and uses queries, forms and reports. It easily deploys to your own website, literally appearing as a box where you put the code. I am using a Weebly website and it was little hassle to install. After loading my latest table of data, the rest of the time was spent configuring what the clients sees and how they manipulate the results.

A number of video tutorial do help getting to grips with Caspio. Although I have explored only a narrow selection of its capabilities it seems logical and well laid out. I would have liked to have seen more of those little pop-up explanation boxes which expand on what an option means, as there are an awful lot of options.

Once some sort of data table has been added to Caspio, the next stage is getting a table online. This can either be used to collect responses (contact form, directory, etc), or adding responses to a form. Alternatively, as in this case, I have all the data and want to allow a client to sort and filter through them.

Anyway, in either instance you need to go to the DataPages, and in this instance select Report and Tabular style. 

From here there are about 8 stages left including selecting what the fields to show, creating what the page which the client will use to select their options. Then specify what the initial and detailed results pages will look like.  

Once the wizard has gone through the various options and stages, the final thing is to deploy the code to a site. Copy the chunk of code at the end of the process and paste it into a webpage. In my experience I then spent quite a few hours refining the look and way a user selects the options. My final(ish) version looks like this:

I would predict you will spend the majority of your time on this specific page of the wizard:

This is where to decide how the fields look and operate. I wanted a Date From and Date To option which was set up as a double criteria on the same field. I was also keen to allow my client a 'Select All' option which required a bit of extra configuring. There is no coding and it is all done by working through the wizard and seeing what the impact is on a preview form.

I would recommend a newbie to look at a few video and read a couple of how-to's. Then try adding a table and creating a deploy to a site. You can't really brake it.

Regrettably this level of functionality is not free, although there is a trial with the 'enterprise' version for a week or so. I did read around to see what the others were offering. While there are cheaper ones, with something like this there needs to be a level of dependability and support, both things which the reviews suggest Caspio excel at.  

Thank you for viewing the article and I very much hope you found it interesting. Please don't hesitate to offer a comment, particularly if I get things wrong!  It would also be great if you wanted to subscribe to future blog updates.

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Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Using Google Analytics to measure outcomes against your PR objectives

Is this relevant to you:

·       Are you interested in knowing more about what people do when they see your proactive PR outreach?

·       Do you have a specific goal in mind when you plan an outreach campaign?

·       Does that goal involve some sort of interaction on your web properties?

If the answer is ‘yes’ to even one of these questions you probably use or have someone using Google Analytics to track your users. Alternatively you might be using Adobe Analytics to track responses, which is good as it is more challenging to use than Google Analytics (GA), and so you probably a very competent PR web data analyst.

Regrettably that does not mean GA is easy. At first glance it yields some results but feels like there lots of duplication and unnecessary complication. Please persevere. If you are the right organisation asking the right questions it will help you, a lot.

I am not going to tell you how to open an account, configure settings and all that kind of thing. Get over to GA tutorial area (https://analyticsacademy.withgoogle.com/course01). Though to go from a standing start to competent will involve quite a few hours.

My intention is to offer some ideas of what GA can do to help a PR person. In particular around objective setting, and goal and conversion measurement.

A PR manager might be wondering if a single person can handle both Twitter and Facebook. And if one gets better results, should it be allocated more resources. To do that you will need data, likely from GA.

Let’s presume there is a PR plan, campaign objectives and a selection of measurable goals. These might be White Paper downloads, contact form leads, additions to a mailing list at the micro end or e-commerce sales at the macro level.

GA will allow you to set up each of these as goals and track the results. GA is quite keen on the concept of ‘valuing’ intangible actions on your site. For some this might be where things get a bit controversial. Now I am no fan of AVE’s, and the like. Setting a value on something like a White Paper download could be like trying to value of Twitter follower. And that was an argument which did not end well!

It would not be correct to value these interactions in the first instance. After a number of campaigns you might be able to make some fairly objective assumptions. Over time you may able to estimate how many of a certain type of interaction results for particular organisations in a sale if there is a tangible linkage.

For example, if you are a B2B provider you will probably have an idea that for every 20 service demonstrations you get a sale. You will know the average sale value and so can estimate the value of a demonstration, hence the value of that type of goal. But it does not work for everything so you must discriminate.

There are a selection of other facets you can check alongside you goal conversions including relative new to returning visitors, if they came by search what term did they search under and what it the general level of satisfaction with your site (bounce rate). There are a selection of attribution models you might consider to understand the progression successful buyers take and where others drop out.

My advice is to become familiar with Google Analytics. PR can benefit from access to web analytics if success is getting people onto a web property.  You really need to hold the keys to this stuff and not rely on other departments.

Thank you for viewing the article and I very much hope you found it interesting. Please don't hesitate to offer a comment, particularly if I get things wrong!  It would also be great if you wanted to subscribe to future blog updates.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Using Google Analytics to track PR outreach & outcomes

In my previous blog post I referred to an experiment I was running with Google Analytics for a guest blog post I was writing. This has just been published and many thanks to Stephen Waddington for using the article. It can be found here under the title 'How-to use Google Analytics to track public relations outcomes'. 

Thank you for viewing the article and very much hope you found it interesting. Please don't hesitate to offer a comment, particularly if I get things wrong!  It would also be great if you wanted to subscribe to future blog updates.

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Link Tagging & Goal Conversions in Google Analytics

This is a brief post just to record my thanks for clicking on the Twitter link! 

This will record a positive result against a Google Analytics record of activity from Twitter on this blog and will be used in a guest blog I am writing on how to create link tags and goal tracking. I will post a link to this blog post when its up.

Thanks again!

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Friday, March 20, 2015

Downloadable Google Analytics Custom Dashboard for PR people

Custom dashboards are such a good aspect of Google Analytics. They compose of up to 12 components, or widgets. They can be placed on a blank page taking highlights from nearly all the various reports presenting them in near enough real-time, with up-to-date data.

I have created a Public Relations Custom Dashboard which will allow you to import the layout and settings (as above) into you own Google Analytics account, minus my data. 

You can create quite a few custom dashboards which would be useful if you wanted to present a slightly different slant to different people. For example your management might want a brief overview of aspects like web popularity, top referral sources, campaign goals and conversions. Where-as, brand analysts might want to know more about what search terms are being used, and marketing might want to find the steps taken before an e-commerce sale. 

All can be catered for via an individual custom dashboard. When you have finished laying out your widgets, choosing the dimensions and metrics, you collect a template link from the drop-down Share button at the top of the page. As long as your user has a Google Analytics account, a connection to the site data, when they click on your link it will automatically add the dashboard to top of the left hand column.

This custom dashboard aims to present to PR people what might be useful to know about from geographical representation of where site visitors are to how they are finding you. Then on to the device they are using and their level of engagement (bounce rate). We have also indicated volume of sessions (visits) and individual users and the most popular landing pages. If you have campaigns we would suggest adding a goals widget and tags to you inbound URL to measure their success and conversions. 

Thank you for viewing the article and very much hope you found it interesting. Please don't hesitate to offer a comment, particularly if I get things wrong!  It would also be great if you wanted to subscribe to future blog updates.  


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