Let’s get measuring, measuring…

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In last week’s blog, I talked about how the digital world has affected copyright issues. That can be kind of a bummer.

But what’s really cool about the digital world is that literally e v e r y t h i n g can be measured.

From how many times a link you tweet is clicked to what area of the world is liking your Facebook page the most.

For the ordinary person, this is kind of a “Who cares?” piece of information.

But for public relations professionals, this is a Holy Grail piece of information.

This means when we use the digital world to spread a campaign or to grow our organization’s audience, we can track exactly how successful we are.

A little back story, public relations has a lot to do with setting goals and objectives, and these two things need to go beyond, “We want to get more Twitter followers.” Okay, that’s fine, but by how much is “more” and by when do you want to do it?

Does that make sense? Good.

So when measuring digital successes and failures, the information you’re looking for and finding needs to tie back into goals and objectives.

As measurement expert Katie Paine has said, “Data without insight is just trivia.”

So, let me make an example out of this.

I’ll pick a PR campaign, and I’ll pick a way to measure it and how I would tie the results back into goals and objectives of the campaign.

How about one of my personal favorite campaigns… Dos Equis’ “Dos de Mayo” campaign.

Now, if you follow that hyperlink, you’ll find that Edelman has already measured and stated the success of the campaign in terms of metrics. They’re not idiots over there at Edelman.

But let’s say I was the brain that came up with this campaign (I wish), and my goal was for the digital world tactics of the campaign to increase website traffic for Dos Equis.

One way I could measure this would be referrals. Referrals basically means the amount of times a link was clicked and followed from a specific platform.
Let’s go with Twitter.

I could Tweet this Dos de Mayo promotional video with some enticing copy, including a link to the Dos Equis website page for the event.

With that, I could measure how many times the video and copy enticed someone into clicking the link through to the website.

And over a selected period of time, I could determine, in terms of a percentage, how much more website traffic was produced during the time of the digital implementations of the campaign.

Ultimately, this would let me know whether or not myself and the campaign were successful in terms of the goals set at the very beginning.

But remember, you can’t measure your goals if you don’t set them to begin with…

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Giving credit where it’s due…

Some of you may have noticed at the end of my last blog post, I gave credit to a man I have never met for the photo of the delectable looking peanut butter and jelly sandwich I used as the cover photo for the post.

I told you who took the picture, where I found it and I told you I edited it.

Because I don’t want to be sued. (I’m a 20 year old college student, a lawsuit is not in the budget right now)

Now, if you’re anything like me, you love the internet. You pride yourself on the things you can find in the deepest, darkest depths of the World Wide Web.

Seriously, it’s like everything anyone ever does is published and immortalized in some form or manner on the internet. I love it. I’ll never miss anything.

But there are people like me who love the internet, who are unlike me in the sense that they deem everything they can dig up out of the deepest, darkest depths of the World Wide Web as free for their own personal use with no limits at all.

Cue Pocahontas singing, “You think you own whatever land you land on…”

And sure, there are some things out there on the internet that are entirely free for use in any way with no added stipulations. But, more often than not, things are copyrighted. And using them without abiding by the restrictions set by the owner, is copyright infringement.

The internet has seriously complicated things in terms of copyright law.

So, there’s something called Digital Rights Management (DRM).

Basically, DRM is an approach to copyright protection for all things digital and an aim to prevent unauthorized use and distribution of digital media.

DRM is such a good thing for this age of internet access. Especially for professionals who are sharing and selling their content on the internet.

DRM ensures everyone has rights (rights they choose and specify) to the things they carefully produce.

Take photographers, for example. This article puts it best when it says the “ease of online access makes ‘stealing’ photographs more common.”

Photographers face their photographs being illegally downloaded and used every day.
How would you feel if someone came into your house, took your finger-painting artwork off the refrigerator, and then displayed it in the window of their business as an advertisement without giving you any credit?

I know I wouldn’t be happy.

So while many believe that the internet is for sharing and everything should be shared for free, I disagree.

If someone didn’t create something through their own effort, then they shouldn’t be able to take credit for it.

So, I’m going to help you all out, using last week’s blog’s photo credit as an example. This is how to make sure you’re using created content within the parameters the creator has set, and how to make sure you’re not in danger of a lawsuit.

1. I found the photo I wanted (via Flickr)

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2. I clicked on information

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3. I scrolled to find the license information. In this case, it was “Some rights reserved.”

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4. Clicking on the “license” section lead me to the Creative Commons website where I learned what the symbols mean and if I could use the photo.

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So, if you’re creating something you intend to publish or share, make sure you’re abiding by the licensing rules on any photo or content you intend to use.

Just because you can find it through Google doesn’t mean it’s all yours for the taking.

When the jelly isn’t sweet enough…

PUBLIC RELATIONS AND LISTENING

There seems to be a universal human instinct to try and get rid of anything portraying us negatively. Or really anything portraying us in any way other than how we want to be portrayed.

I, myself, am guilty of this.

So, one of my greatest challenges in learning how to be the best public relations professional I can be has been learning to ignore this instinct. Like I said in my last blog post, honesty is a key element in creating and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with your publics.

Part of honesty, is transparency. Transparency means you let your publics see all of you, the good and the bad. Even the “bad” you have no control over.

Including negative comments on social media.

The rapid growth of social media is forcing brands to hold two-way conversations with their publics. This is a great thing. It means consumers have a platform to be heard, and brands, if they want to be successful at this whole social media thing, have a platform to listen and resolve.

But what a lot of brands mess up is the whole “listening” thing. Brands’ social media audiences are often their consumers, and many modern consumers don’t want to consume if they are not being heard.

So one of the worst things a brand can do on social media, is delete comments of consumers criticizing them.

Smuckers really blew it when it comes to this.

In 2014, Smuckers was revealed to be spending a lot of money on Anti-GMO Labeling efforts.

Consumers who were unhappy with this took to the brand’s Facebook page to voice their opinions in an effort to be heard.

But instead of listening to and engaging with their upset publics, Smuckers deleted the comments.

Not cool, Smuckers.

Smuckers broke the cardinal rule. Good PR practices do not equal erasing the bad.

So, Smuckers, here’s what you should’ve done:

Listen and respond.

You could’ve taken this opportunity to listen to what your consumers want and need in terms of GMO labeling, engage in conversation and learn how to be a better brand for your publics.

Instead, you erased criticism in an effort to maintain image.

Now, you’re droning on about how you welcome consumer feedback, as long as it doesn’t contain political commentary and misleading information.

Well, I’m going to help you again, Smuckers. This is what you should be doing now:

Make your consumers feel valued for their comments. Consumer comments are how you grow, even if they’re an argument against you.

So, listen and respond. Social media is a gift to brands, but you should use it wisely. Use it to remain open, honest and transparent. Through the good AND the bad.

Okay, I’m done being stern. Let’s have a good laugh. Here’s some brands who are not doing too hot with social media.

Image from Edward Conde via Flickr, edited with text in Canva.

Realizing the important things…

I have a confession to make.

Up until three months ago, I hated my major.

Every day, I was questioning if Public Relations was really the major for me.

I was frustrated because all I had learned, and was continuing to learn through the spring 2015 semester, was the glossary of terms I apparently needed to memorize in order to be a successful Public Relations professional.

And the class I hated the most? Public Relations Strategies.

Now, I should say I had an absolutely incredible professor for the course, Dr. Sun Lee. She is one of the most kind, helpful professors I have had the pleasure of learning from in my time here at Texas Tech.

So my hatred of the course had absolutely nothing to do with her. I was just sick and tired of learning definitions.

But, since the completion of the course in May, I am three months wiser and three months keen on how useful Public Relations Strategies actually is in terms of being successful within my major.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is, thank you Dr. Lee. I owe it all to you.

By this point you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Okay, Dana. What’s the point of all of this?”

Well, audience, thank you for asking. It’s just I have something I need to share with you all. I need to tell you the Top Five Lessons I Learned in Public Relations Strategies.

Because they are proving to be astronomically important as I ascend into courses requiring me to apply skills and gain confidence in myself as a Public Relations professional.

Top 5 Lessons in PR Strategies

1. Public Relations hinges entirely upon honesty.

  • Dr. Lee stressed to my classmates and I on the very first day of the course that Public Relations is NOT spinning the truth to make you, or the organization you’re representing, look better. We must be honest and transparent so the relationships we build with our publics are strong. Which leads me to my next greatest lesson…

2. Know your public.

  • Not knowing your public is kind of like shouting into the void and hoping someone hears what you’re shouting and thinks, “I like that.” When you know your public, you know how to create a conversation with them that will be beneficial for everyone.

3. Before you ever begin, know where you want to end.

  • Poetic, I know. Any and all forms of Public Relations tactics require knowing what you want the end result to be before you start implementing anything. Otherwise, it would be like jumping into that same void and hoping someone is waiting with open arms at the bottom.

4. Listen.

  • Listen to your audience, peers and competitors. You’ll be a better professional because of it.

5. Be quick, but not too quick.

  • Always be ready to react, but take a moment to determine whether your reaction is appropriate for the situation.

Dr. Lee, I am so sorry I didn’t see the value in these things when you first presented them to me. I now appreciate what you’ve given me.

So, what lessons have you all grown to see the value in even though you deemed them frivolous at first? Let me know. I’m interested.