As announced last week GlobalCom PR Network is launching its third PR series today. We talked to PR experts of our partner agencies around the world about the influence of social and digital media in their daily PR work, about social networking for PR purposes and about recent innovations in their agencies or local market.
Martin Jones, Managing Partner at our Boston based partner agency March Communications was one of the first colleagues to replay to our 3 questions.
1. What status do social and digital media have in your daily PR work?
Having practiced PR for nearly 25 years, I enjoy seeing the ever-evolving media realm as we move to a more social/digital landscape. Just ten years ago, we were still capturing coverage with cutting boards, gluing the mastheads to the full-body text.
In 2012, our monthly client coverage reports are quite different, including the number of Facebook ‘likes,’ re-tweets, posts on Google+ and LinkedIn mentions. Blog traffic figures are more important than the circulation of a print publication.
With regards to digital media, there is a unique opportunity for PR to evolve its role in content creation and further encroach on the advertising industry – PR people have the right skills and are better placed to guide clients in this area than advertising agencies.
There has been a lot of hot air about how PR is dead and is unable to adapt to the new digital media landscape. The issue is not that traditional media is dying, it is that media is diversifying in terms of content type and distribution platform. This means there are greater opportunities for good PR programs to influence audiences and this will see PR take a much bigger slice of the marketing pie in the years ahead.
There’s no doubt that data visualization will be an increasing trend, as it is already becoming more and more noticeable in today’s most popular media. But along with this trend comes an important skill that many PR professionals will need to learn and incorporate into their campaigns.
2. Do you use social networking in your PR and communications work?
A recent example that stands out is with application performance management client, ExtraHop, and our ongoing influencer relations campaign using LinkedIn. The team identifies relevant groups for ExtraHop to join that include influencers in the market and prospective customers. The team suggests and drafts comments for ExtraHop to post in these groups, responding to industry news, supplying tips or simply asking questions.
We monitor relevant industry groups on a regular basis for competitor mentions or news that ExtraHop could respond with an IR pitch, blog post or LinkedIn comment.
In terms of reporting, the ExtraHop team scans groups for mentions and captures them in a “weekly snapshot,” showing the influencer value of LinkedIn.
3. What would you see as most recent innovation in the field of PR?
Big data has broadened interest in analytics beyond technologists and data analysts. This has also expanded what analytics means to various audiences, especially in the communications realm. Some only look at the social media side, others think website metrics. And there are still plenty to whom the very idea of analytics instills dread – or worse — indifference because, they believe, we are in the business of communications – not statistics or developing algorithms.
Simplistically speaking, analytics is about making sense of and applying the wealth of information that’s out there – from Google metrics, social media and beyond – to communications. As an industry, we do this already but in a rather haphazard and unstructured way. It’s at the next level up, that analytics becomes really interesting and useful.
We’re seeing analytics take off across numerous industries, especially clean tech. According to a GigaOM article, software and services that can mine data and provide intelligence for smart grid vendors, utilities and consumers — could reach a cumulative $11.3 billion from now until 2015. Ultimately, analytics is valuable for any sector experiencing rapid growth or major shifts in market dynamics or the competitive landscape.