WordWrite Storytelling Blog

Let’s not forget the storytelling excellence of John McCain

Posted by John Durante

by John Durante

Arizonans and all Americans have now had ample time to observe and reflect upon the expansive media coverage of Senator John McCain’s passing. Many were stunned by a degree of national outpouring that seemed more appropriate for a head of state than a legislative lieutenant. 

Like most in the state, McCain was originally from elsewhere – drawn west to pursue a mid-life change for fortune, fame or ambition. In his case, he migrated in order to start a family with the daughter of an Arizona business titan. He soon parlayed his success to become a politician. But with citizens of the state, he was also familiar and real.

He appeared endlessly at Phoenix sporting or charity events, where he always carried the mantle of a normal guy. He’d be far more prone to appear on a mid-inning “kiss cam” with wife Cindy from seats behind third base than say, ensconced in a private suite. Maybe that’s why when brain cancer got the best of him on August 25, more than 15,000 constituents stood for hours in 105-degree heat to say goodbye.

In Washington, we expected ceremonies that were more formal, political, routine and consistent with the ways the country has always lauded long-time Senators and former war heroes.1920px-JohnMcCainSmileKennerJune2008

But within hours even national media were covering his passing more like the death of a former President than that of a senator. 

Why? 

I believe John McCain told and lived the story of his life better than just about anyone else on the national political scene.  He was heavily influenced by his nature, values, the realities of his adopted Arizona and a healthy dash of political practicality. McCain used those inspirations to become a master at crafting what we at WordWrite refer to as a “Story” with a capital S, embracing the three most important components of a great narrative.

First, he was authentic. There was no difference between his public political persona, his off-camera life and his backroom maneuvering. All were born from the same belief system that culminated in refreshing candor and realness almost never found in Washington D.C. 

Second, no one was more fluent at telling their Story. He endlessly did the Sunday morning talk shows, flew the world to learn, advise, cajole and pursue the established doctrine of America as the world’s police man. Always quick to connect his views to his long-established value of doing something greater in the name of service to his country, he did so without evoking jingoistic nationalism or in the name of grandstanding. He knew his Story in all ways and dimensions and would tell it lustily and often to anyone who cared to listen – and sometimes – even to those who didn’t.

Finally, few politicians have been such a master at reading one’s “audience” in both real and “polling” time as McCain. He constantly refined and sharpened his Story to make sure it was always on point and relevant for his targets. Above all else, he was never reluctant to admit to his own mistakes or failings.

As a whole, these characteristics combined to create a refreshing leader that the country enjoyed, admired and found accessible, regardless of party politics. In his life’s final fight, he offered a glimpse into both his and our hearts about the decency in people and merits of working for the common good.

In contrast to the current national climate, it was time to thank, mourn, honor and pay attention to McCain and his sweeping, engaging story. 

Maybe in him we found in ourselves the need to better model the values he lived and that we desire. 

The pain, pride, honor and mourning of recent days will soon become just another historical footnote. Here’s hoping that McCain’s evocative Storytelling talent will rise above it and be something we long remember.

John Durante is marketing services director at WordWrite Communications. He can be reached at john.durante@wordwritepr.com IMG_4816 2018 head only

 

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Topics: story, storytelling, authenticity

INBOUND 2018 – Key Takeaways

Posted by Noah Fleming

inbound-2018

 

I recently had the opportunity to attend HubSpot’s INBOUND marketing conference in Boston. For those of you who are unfamiliar, it is a week-long conference filled with sessions, keynote speakers, networking and is an information overload!

Here are my 5 key takeaways from INBOUND 2018:

1. Video continues to rise and HubSpot is doubling down – The big product news out of HubSpot HQ is the new video content feature. You’ll now be able to upload videos into a library on HubSpot, incorporate them on your pages, and collect data on them as well. You can learn more here: https://www.hubspot.com/products/video-hostingWhat better way to make the announcement than with a video? 

 

2. Regularly check the health of your website – Do you have the correct tracking tools added to your site? What is your site speed? Is your entire site mobile friendly? Should we incorporate a live chat to our site? These are all questions to ask your web designer/developer because there are so many paths that a visitor could take to find your page and you need to make sure they don’t leave once they arrive.

3. The sales funnel is dead – CEO Brian Halligan encouraged all attendees to adopt the fly wheel approach to sales rather than the traditional sales funnel that has been around since the dawn of sales. Instead of customers being at the bottom of the funnel, businesses should instead make them the center of their focus between sales, marketing and customer service. 

flywheel-hubspot4. Employ the help of your HubSpot team or subscription services more – It can be difficult for businesses to have regular calls with vendor support teams to ask the question "how can my team and I better use this product or service to make our daily work easier?" You may just get some advice and tips that could ultimately save you time and money. But if you discover vendors are unavailable or difficult to reach, it may be time to look elsewhere to find something that has a customer service program that meets your needs.

5. Focus on "delighting" more – What does this mean? Your customers can be one of your biggest sources of business. This is extremely important in the B2B world when there are 7 to 13 different touch points before a decision is made. Having happy customers who are advocating for you can lead to more possibilities without spending a single dollar on advertising. 

 

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 Noah Fleming is digital and inbound marketing specialist at WordWrite. You can reach him at noah.fleming@wordwritepr.com.

 

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Topics: inbound marketing, hubspot, inbound

Tips for Prospective Interns

Posted by Louis Spanos

This week at the WordWrite offices, we say goodbye to our interns Beth Turnbull, spring and summer intern, and Megan Thorpe, summer intern, as they return to school to finish their final semester and prepare for graduation in December. 

Before joining the WordWrite team, Beth and Megan interned at other agencies and nonprofits around Pittsburgh. Whether it was PR, social media or inbound marketing, their past experiences provided a sturdy and crucial foundation for their work at WordWrite. Beth and Megan played a huge role in leading WordWrite’s social media and inbound marketing efforts while proving their writing skills by supporting both internal and client-facing efforts.

As a farewell to the WordWrite team, Beth and Megan have put together a few tips for future WordWrite interns looking to make the most of their experiences.

  1. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

 We all have things we’re good at and we tend to stick to them. As an intern, you’ll be asked to do things you’ve never done before… don’t panic. The opportunity to learn as much as you can in a supportive environment isn’t something to take for granted. Take every chance you can to broaden your horizons. 

  1. Accept That You’ll Make Mistakes

Chances are that as you step out of your comfort zone and take on new tasks, you’ll slip up a couple times. It happens. Learn what you can from feedback, both positive and constructive. Every learning experience will ultimately prepare you for your future career.

  1. Be a Team Player

When working in an agency, communication and collaboration are key. Every task you encounter won’t be glorious – you may even think it’s tedious or pointless. It’s important to remember that each job is essential in its own way and is one piece of the puzzle that helps the project function. 

  1. Request Feedback

You’re most likely completing an internship to gain knowledge for your future career path. To continue growing as a young professional, receiving feedback is key. Reach out to your supervisor and ask how you did on a project, and don’t be dejected if you receive constructive criticism. Your supervisor wouldn’t give you feedback if they didn’t think you had room (or capacity) to improve, so take things in stride and apply it to the next task you do.

Internships are just as valuable (if not more valuable) than a degree. The opportunity to learn and grow in a professional setting is one all students should take advantage of.

At WordWrite, we’re proud to offer students real world experiences while working in an agency setting. If you’re looking for a challenging and engaging way to gain and further sharpen your skills in the world of public relations, contact us today.


 

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Beth Turnbull is a senior at Point Park University majoring in mass communication with a concentration in PR. Following graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in nonprofit or government communications. You can reach her at elizabethturnbull14@gmail.com, connect with her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter and Instagram @thebethturnbull.

 

Megan Thorpe JPA_1632is a senior at Point Park University majoring in sports, arts and entertainment management and minoring in public relations and advertising. Following graduation, she plans to move to Huntsville, Alabama and pursue a career in marketing. You can reach her at megthorpey@gmail.com, connect with her via LinkedIn or follow her on Instagram @megthorpey.

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Topics: WordWrite Communications, interns, strategic communications

Don't Worry, Video Content Won't Bite

Posted by Dan Stefano

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Pivot to video.

Those three words have led to hand-wringing and anxiety among communications professionals accustomed to the written word. But, as the digital age barrels onward, video will increasingly become the primary vehicle to deliver your message online.

Cisco estimatesan overwhelming 82 percent of consumer internet traffic will be IP video traffic by 2021. More than anywhere in cyberspace, it’s in social media where video content is a must. Organizations are consistently discovering creative ways to deliver their stories, be it a Facebook Live of a seminar or a quickly created gif to get in on a trending Twitter topic.

As storytellers first, we understand the value of putting pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard, at least. But the human brain is wired for visuals, and your audience generally prefers to watch something than read about it. However, if you’ve ever encountered that popular statistic that people process visuals an astounding 60,000 times faster than text, take that number with a grain of salt.

Here are a few quick ways to get a start in producing strong video content:

  • You’ve got a studio in your pocket:Most smartphones have completely capable video cameras. You’re not Stephen Spielberg, and your audience isn’t asking you to be. For shorter videos or clips meant for a quickly digested social media post, you likely have all you need in your pocket. Bigger initiatives intended to really wow your audience, however, may require deeper planning, production values and the help of some professionals.
  • Invite people in:Something great happening in the office? Putting on a new product demonstration,or maybe you have an announcement about an exciting new hire? Getting video of moments like these are a great way to draw back the curtain and showcase your organization’s story. Humanizing your message creates a deeper connection with the viewer.
  • Experiment:You’ll want to brainstorm the different ways you can use video for your purposes. More informational stories may present better with narration or a text overlay. A rundown of highlights from press events could work well in a Snapchat story. Seemingly daily, there are innovations that change how video is used online. Look around and see what works for you. It’s definitely out there.

Ultimately, your videos will be what you make of them. Once you know your targeted audience, you’ll be able to craft videos to fit the purposes of your story – and, as always, it’s that authentic business story that matters most. Supplementing your message with dynamic visuals will only help your cause.

Just as important, know that video is nothing to be afraid of. Look at the sheer amount of content on the internet. Almost anyone can do it. Even if you’re just taking your first steps into the world of video content, you’ll be running in no time.


 

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Dan Stefano is brand journalist at WordWrite Communications. You can reach him at dan.stefano@wordwritepr.com.

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Topics: visual content, strategy, content marketing, video, content creation, writing, content

Where Should You Focus Your Video Strategy in 2018?

Posted by Megan Thorpe

As technology continues to improve at a rapid pace, social media becomes increasingly etched into our everyday lives. As a business, you should acknowledge social media – if not, you’re going to be left in the dust. Strategizing how to attract and then keep your audience engaged should be a top priority.

One way to do that is to focus on your brand’s video strategy. Consumers love video – HubSpot’s State of Video Marketing Surveyshares these statistics:

  • On average, consumers watch an hour and a half of video a day.
  • If there is both text and video on a page, 72 percent would rather watch the video to learn about the product or service.
  • If your audience particularly enjoys a video, there is an 83 percent chance it will be shared amongst friends.
  • 81 percent of businesses already use video as a marketing tool – up from 63 percent in 2017.

The facts don’t lie – if you want to keep up with other businesses, start utilizing video today. With the choice of Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram and the recently introduced IGTV, you might be wondering where to focus your video strategy.

With this in mind, some details to consider include the number of users on a particular platform and which network reaches your target audience best. Consider Pew’s social media fact sheet:

  • YouTube has the most users but is ranked fifth in frequency.
  • Facebook has the second largest user base and is used most frequently. Over half of its audience visits multiple times a day.
  • Instagram hosts a younger demographic and is growing quicker than Snapchat.

Still unsure where to go from here? Try learning from the efforts of top industry leaders.

For example, the dynamic duo of ice cream – Ben & Jerry’s – keeps their videos short and playful on Instagram, noting that viewers don’t want to watch anything for more than 10 to 20 seconds as they scroll through their feed.

With over two million subscribers, Disney’s YouTube channel is bursting with original content. Among its most popular are the retelling of beloved Disney movies with emojis, drawing tutorials, live studio tours and full-length episodes of popular children’s shows.

An unlikely user, General Electric, has an active presence on Snapchat. Follow the account for emoji science videos or directly send an emoji to the account to receive your own dose of science.

Ultimately, whether you love it or hate it, there’s no argument that video marketing is leaving a huge impact on the industry. To see a successful video strategy through, identify your audience and what interests them.

Need help crafting content to tell your organization’s story? Reach out to the WordWrite team today.


Megan Thorpe

Megan Thorpe is an intern at WordWrite Communications. You can get in touch with her via email at megan.thorpe@wordwritepr.com or follow her on Twitter at @MeganThorpe97.

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Topics: social media, content marketing, video, content creation, marketing

Hiring Outside Communications Consultants Isn't a Sign of Weakness

Posted by Jeremy Church

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In an era filled with cries of “fake news,” it’s more important than ever to cut through the noise and clutter and discover what’s real.

We pride ourselves on telling authentic business stories that are rooted in fact, told by an organization’s subject matter experts.

We then help clients read their audiences to make sure the messages they’re trying to convey are resonating. If not, we help them adjust.

It’s what we do best.

Yet it never surprises me to find out how many people like to portray themselves as authorities in areas well outside their proven specialties.

For companies that don’t have comprehensive marketing, business development or communications support staffs at their disposal, that type of hubris can come at a very high price — both in terms of financial consequences and reputational damage.

All successful organizations have bright people on their staff who are well read, well spoken and probably have demonstrated a way with words on occasion.

However, do they know the right percentages of digital advertising, earned media, social media or website content to tell their corporate story to key target audiences?

Let’s say you’re attempting to move the needle in terms of public awareness or elicit support for legislative initiatives. Can your team identify, mobilize and influence the critical parties necessary to accomplish your goals?

It’s okay to admit the answer is no — none of our team can argue before a grand jury the way a trial lawyer does nor comprehend what it would take to perform open-heart surgery.

Some of the most appropriate factors to consider when choosing outside strategic communications support might include:

  • To obtain specific expertisetheir own staff lacks;
  • To identify problems thatemployees too close to a problem can’t recognize;
  • To supplement a company's internal staff and save money in the long term rather than hiring full-time employees;
  • To be objective onlookers whosee problems from a different perspective;
  • To bring new life to an organization with fresh ideas and innovative thinking.

Our team at WordWrite assists clients every day in assessing the right amount of effort to make in paid media, earned media such as media relations, shared media on social channels and in owned media such as your website. Moreover, on the most elemental level, we have the ability to implement the best strategy for sharing a client’s story the way they want and need it to be shared in order to reach those who make decisions whether to purchase your products or services.

Our experience runs deep in business-to-business sectors such as energy, professional services, technology, health care and manufacturing. There is no one-size-fits-all strategy or tactic that encompasses PR and communications for the clients we serve in these areas.

We don’t develop strategies to reach ideal clients at a financial services firm in the same way we design content to reach customers in the heavy manufacturing industry. The New York Times for a financial advisor might be PLANSPONSOR, while a company creating sustainable asphalt solutions might look at Better Roads as the top space to occupy. You have thought leaders and industry experts whose voices need to be heard in an auditorium filled with adoring fans from your target audiences, not in a vacuum devoid of listeners.

A truth that should be (but apparently isn’t) self-evident these days is that credentials count. Specific, hard-earned qualifications are why we choose whom we choose to provide services. We want the best and we want value for our hard-earned dollars. That’s why we make the purchasing decisions we do.

Especially in this environment, when did politics and politicians hijack “elite” and turn it into a derogatory word?  We all look for the very best when it comes to selecting a doctor, attorney or contractor.

Most reasonable people wouldn’t skimp when making similar decisions, so why would a business do it with its strategic communications and marketing support? You get what you pay for. Aren’t you and your company’s goals worth it?


 

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Jeremy Church is a partner at WordWrite Communications. He can be reached at jeremy.church@wordwritepr.com.

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Topics: WordWrite Communications, public relations, B2B, crisis communications, internal communications, strategic communications, B2C, partnership

Hey, Just As Long As They Spelled Our Name Right!

Posted by Jeremy Church

Board of Directors

In any given year, we typically handle about 12 crisis situations for clients – 10 of which you will never hear about.

Yet when it comes to the idea that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, I’m often reminded of what our agency’s founder, Paul Furiga, once said:

“They never spelled Enron wrong, did they?” 

No, they did not, and everyone still remembers how to spell its name, albeit for all the wrong reasons. The C-Suite is filled with cautionary tales such as Enron’s, including many more recent examples of self-inflicted malfeasance that we don’t have time to address in this space. (Papa John’s anyone?)

So why does this popular notion still exist?

Well, because all clichés are rooted in at least some small kernel of truth.

Good news for the scandal plagued? Only if your publicity and awareness meters are sitting at zero, which isn’t the case for most established corporations or businesses.

Stanford economics professor Alan Sorensen supports this belief in a study examining book reviews that ran in the New York Times. He found that well-known authors with positive reviews could sell 42 percent more books, but poor reviews caused a 15 percent drop in purchases. New or unknown authors whose books were reviewed saw their sales increase by 33 percent, regardless of whether the critique was encouraging or not.

Mr. Sorensen extended this logic to businesses, concluding that any type of PR is valuable for smaller organizations, because negative perceptions diminish faster than awareness of the company in general. With established brands and organizations, however, bad publicity remains at the forefront much longer – a critical point when it comes to protecting corporate image and making sure your business is telling authentic stories to its stakeholders.

So is it ever acceptable to mislead in the service of positive public relations?

Ron Ashkenas once examined why individuals and businesses “shade the truth” in the Harvard Business Review. He argued that in a sales culture, “Showing customers or partners what’s truly behind the curtain could undermine credibility and threaten the deal. The wiser course in many cases is to limit the truth and figure out how to “deliver” later.”

With all due respect to Mr. Ashkenas – whose larger piece has many salient points –overpromising and under delivering is the exact pattern of behavior that gets organizations in trouble in the first place.

We live in the real world and must be pragmatists. However, we advise all of our current clients as well as those who we might be privileged to work with in the future to not show one face to the public and another in private.

As strategic partners, our role at WordWrite is to assist clients in telling their stories to those who most need to experience them. Aspire to build a stronger relationship with your own clients by more closely aligning character to reputation.

To paraphrase the late John Wooden, reputation is what others think of you. Character is who you are when no one is looking.

We’re eager to hear what you have to say. Would businesses be more stable and profitable if character and reputation were viewed as indivisible? Have you ever encountered a situation when getting your name out there outweighed the context of how it was portrayed?


Jeremy_1950Jeremy Church is a partner and vice president and WordWrite Communications. He can be reached at jeremy.church @wordwritepr.com.  

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Topics: media relations, story, public relations, crisis communications, B2C

In 2018, Effective Communications Strategies Aren't One Size Fits All

Posted by Hollie Geitner

Man leaning over hip-looking desk and working on his laptop.

Facebook Live, IGTV, Twitter chats, LinkedIn groups … all of these are good and legitimate ways to reach certain audiences — perhaps even your intended audience. Especially if you have a consumer product geared towards a Millennial. 

But, what if your audience is a niche market? What if your prospects aren’t Millennials, aren’t on social media regularly and have no clue what IGTV is?

With rampant information overload today, finding creative ways to communicate to people where they are makes sense. Celebrities and politicians are praised for letting us into their personal lives through social media. When we see glimpses of a senator playing with a new puppy on Instagram or an actor hosting a Q&A on Twitter, we relate to them. This is their way of marketing themselves. For businesses, having a fresh, unconventional and diverse content marketing strategy (focused mainly on reaching Millennials) is key.

For the B2B company with a niche market wondering — are these same tactics right for us? Will hosting a Twitter Q&A take us to the next level? The simple answer is no. Your CEO is not Brad Pitt, and the people most likely to buy your product or service probably aren’t hanging out on Twitter. This is not to say that you shouldn’t maintain an active presence on social media — it’s simply to say that you should walk before you run — and make sure you have the proper shoes and a roadmap before getting started.

More Tools Doesn’t Equal Better Tools

The great news is that we have more tools for companies and executives to share their stories. The bad news is that we have more tools for executives to share their stories.

In our experience working with B2B companies of all sizes around the United States, we know that busy executives want results and if someone tells them a Twitter chat is where it’s at, they just might believe it — because why not? That’s what the celebrities do, right? Here’s the thing, what works for one person, one company or one organization is not necessarily what is right for you.

In fact, in a niche business, I would go so far to say that these tools aren’t where you should be telling your story or sharing your message, at least initially. First things first, determine what your story actually is — decide what differentiates you from the competition.

Sometimes the idea of all the flashy tools takes away from where the real focus should be — building relationships with the right people.

A compelling story for your business may not need to be shouted from the rooftop, but rather shared in your living room during an intimate cocktail reception with your top sales prospects.

All too often, we meet folks who think to “get out there” they need to be on every cool new platform, so they hire a firm to get them set up and then six months later, those very platforms sit vacant — devoid of content or conversation. It’s a lot of work to build up a loyal following on many platforms — and it’s a requirement before even attempting to get “celebrity-level” results.

What Your Business Should Do

The alternatives are:

  • Go where your prospects are (PR and media relations)
  • Begin a strategy that brings them to you (inbound marketing)

Or, you can do both.

If you sell machinery parts to the automotive industry or provide a very specialized consulting service to owners of manufacturing companies, your potential customers are likely reading industry publications and business-focused weekly newspapers. They may be reading them online. But that’s what they’re reading. Or, they might even participate in group discussions on LinkedIn. It’s highly unlikely they are spending a chunk of their day following hashtags on Twitter.

Focus your public relations efforts on building relationships with reporters and editors who write about what you do or the industry you sell to. Go to networking events. Don’t oversell — just listen and be helpful. You want those influencers to know you’re there, but not because you’ve come in shouting your company name to everyone in the room.

Turn your marketing efforts inside out. Instead of blasting out your messages to everyone, create compelling content and a reason for the right people to find you. In our industry, this is called Inbound Marketing. You can download our whitepaper, Inbound Marketing 101to learn more.

As you consider the best public relations and marketing strategy for your business, trust your gut — not what a hip, consumer-focused ad agency executive tells you is the latest and greatest. Sometimes keeping things simple is best. Remember, you can’t go wrong if you go where your prospects are (the key is your prospects, not where the masses are) or if you build a solid strategy that will bring leads to you using inbound marketing.

We’d love to hear your marketing challenges to see if we can help you develop a customized strategy that connects you to the folks who matter for your business.

Get in touch with us today!


WordWrite Vice President, Client Services, Hollie GeitnerHollie Geitner is Vice President, Client Services at WordWrite Communications. You can get in touch with her via email at hollie.geitner@wordwritepr.com or follow her on Twitter at @JustHollieG.

 

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Topics: media relations, social media, public relations, B2B, B2C, measurement

The Keys to Measuring PR Success

Posted by Hollie Geitner

Graphs and data are set upon a table along with a laptop as two executives compare data and results.

Before embarking on any project, the general rule is to have clearly defined objectives and goals. Without them, the entire project is likely a waste of time and resources.

But, for many public relations projects or campaigns, goals are often meaningless because they are an afterthought rather than a key part of the initial planning.

Over the years, PR measurement has evolved for the better due in part to the power of social media and the emergence of sophisticated measurement tools. To our delight, gone are the days of manually counting clips and comparing an earned media placement to the equivalent of a purchased advertisement. Today, PR and social media professionals take a more holistic approach that evaluates both quantitative and qualitative data.

At WordWrite, we’ve adopted the industry standard, The Barcelona Principles, for tracking and measuring the success of our work on behalf of our clients. One of the principles (there are 7 total) is the total rejection of advertising value equivalents as a concept to value PR, media content or earned media. Obviously, this is a complete departure from the early days of PR measurement and we’re certainly grateful for that!

Instead, we look at three key categories:

  1. Outputs: materials or tactics to share a story (press release, news conference, media pitch, etc.)
  2. Outtakes: broad, accurate and compelling articulation of the story and messaging, as evidenced by quality and quantity of media coverage, increased visibility
  3. Outcomes: identified metrics that tie back to a business objective

Drilling down within those areas, there are many metrics you can choose to measure. What’s most important is to identify ones that closely tie back to your business goals whenever possible. Some of our most successful client engagements were the result of being aligned with the marketing department. Our metrics overlapped, telling a more complete story for leadership, further reinforcing ROI.

Once you’ve chosen the metrics, establish your baseline and create a document to track progress. On a weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly basis, review the data and course correct if things aren’t progressing as you’d anticipated. Senior leadership will often only want to see quarterly or yearly data, but you’ll need to have your finger on the pulse of the project so frequent monitoring is key.

If you have a PR project in mind but aren’t sure how to measure success, we’d be happy to talk through your goals and help you create a simple way to track progress so you can demonstrate ROI for your company. 

Get in touch with us today!


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Hollie Geitner is Vice President, Client Services at WordWrite Communications. You can get in touch with her via email at hollie.geitner@wordwritepr.com or follow

her on Twitter at @JustHollieG.

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Topics: story, WordWrite Communications, public relations, analytics, measurement

Storytelling is universal & other things I learned on my Italian media tour

Posted by Beth Turnbull

Having the opportunity to travel the world as a college student is a truly remarkable experience. I recently had the good fortune to travel throughout central and northern Italy as part of an international media class. My journey throughout Rome, Assisi, Florence, Venice and Milan inspired me not only as a student, but as a professional.

Between pasta feasts and cultural excursions, we visited a variety of media-related businesses including a newspaper, radio station, public relations firm, advertising agency, publishing company and some internal media operations.

With one foot in the academic world and one foot in the working world, I sometimes limit myself from learning abStudents sitting around a conference table as a man at the head of the table leads a group discussion.out other communications fields. But when you’re working in an agency setting, it is a good idea to see what the rest of the industry is up to from time to time and this trip gave me the platform to do just that.

We covered a lot of ground in two weeks, so here are some highlights.

Making something small big

One of the companies that captured my attention in Rome was Art Attack, an advertising agency within the Arkage Group.

We spoke with Claudio Ciatti, managing partner and founder; Federico Giuntella, chief customer experience officer; and Mario Feliziani, creative director – all of whom were incredibly passionate about their work. (I think some days we could all use a little more passion for our work.)

They spoke to us about authenticity in advertising, the ways in which data helps inspire creativity and how content marketing should be inherently personal.

One stand-out piece of advice Mario shared was this, “never think you are doing something small, because if you do your job well, it can be something big.”

Storytelling is a universal language

Our last morning in Rome we visited Enel, an international power company that is making strides when it comes to renewable energy.

We spoke with their Head of Internal Media – Ivano Ferioli – about building company culture, developing a brand charact

er and how to keep employees across the globe informed and engaged, something we strive to do for our clients here at WordWrite.

 

Students looking at slideshow image showing how the right and left brain work together to combine data and creativity.

Enel has an internal media mix consisting of an intranet, e-channel (TV), email, e-radio and vertical web platforms. All this to comm

unicate company news to their offices across the world from Tel Aviv to Boston. How many American-based companies do you know that have a full-scale TV studio in their building?

Ivano laid out the editorial pillars of Enel’s content, stressing that it must be: informative, timely, well-formatted, tell a story and free from external bias.

See? Storytelling is a key player, even across the ocean.And you can rarely go wrong with high-quality, organized content.

 

Great ideas can come from unexpected places

Our next set of media visits took place in the lovely city of Milan – Italy’s fashion and business capital. We had the opportunity to visit the Milan branch of public relations agency Burson-Marsteller (soon to be Burson Cohn & Wolfe) and speak with CEO Fabio Caporizzi along with a host of other talented communicators.

I was fascinated to learn that most of the agency’s work is conducted in English. Fabio told us, “we think in Italian, but we work in English.” He stressed the fact that the Italian market is often overlooked, but they are just as capable as other countries when it comes to creating great campaigns.

Elena Silva of Cohen & Wolfe presents a case study relating to brand development.

In the American market, it’s easy to overlook the small, boutique agency and praise the giants of PR. But just like the Italian market, those small agencies, like WordWrite, have a lot to offer the industry.

We are in an exciting world as PR professionals in 2018. The industry is always growing and changing, and we should make every effort to nurture our knowledge and passion for our work.

And hey, if you need a trip to Italy to do that, I won’t stop you.

 

 

 


 

JPA_1627

Beth Turnbull is an intern at WordWrite Communications. You can email her at beth.turnbull@wordwritepr.com or tweet her at @thebethturnbull to learn more about her trip to Italy.

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Topics: media relations, WordWrite Communications, public relations, internal communications, traditional PR, Italy