Math for PR pros – What metrics you should keep your eye on?

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Raise your hand if you took up a career in PR because you believed math was irrelevant to public relations?

Oh good – we’re all in the same boat.

Initially, I thought a career in public relations would mean I’d spend my time writing, planning events, connecting with audiences and stakeholders and sharing information far and wide. How silly of me to think that numbers wouldn’t play a part in any of that work!

Of course numbers and a bit of math are important to PR. How would you know what efforts were working, where to focus your time and attention when there’s a limited amount of it and where your budget is best spent without consulting the numbers?

If flying by the seat of your pants is your preferred method of answering those questions, think about how you’d answer them if your boss – or the CEO of your organization – asked them. Would anecdotes and generic statements be enough of an answer? Or would data be a better representation of the work that you do?

That’s really what it comes down to – what’s the best way to show that the work you’re doing each day has value for your organization? Numbers and data. Since the world of analytics is a vast and, frankly, frightening one, here are a few key metrics to get you started off on the right foot.

Email Engagement Metrics

Just about every communications program has an email component to it. Whether it’s to sell, to inform, to connect or a mixture of all three, email is one of the best ways to quickly and inexpensively connect with your audience. For that reason, looking at your email’s engagement metrics is important.

So what do you want to look at? There are a few things that are pretty easy to look at right off the bat. If you’re looking at your entire list (which should be broken down into segments, too!), you should be looking at the average cumulative open rate and who are your most engaged subscribers. Are people sharing your emails? Are other people signing up because of that? Who’s interested in what you’re saying? Are your email pitches getting being opened, engaged with and responded to? These are things you’ll want to know.

Once you have a good handle on these things, take a look at your individual email campaigns. What subject lines, formats and topics are performing well? Are your messages reaching the right people in your list? Is there a particular time of day that gets better engagement? Evaluate all of these things and, if you haven’t already, give segmentation and A/B testing a spin. Break down your subscriber list into segments based on demographics, engagement, location, interests – whatever information you feel is important to group your audience by – and begin testing different campaign elements. Test different subject lines, content, delivery times and more to find the ideal combinations for your messages. Be careful to only change one variable at a time and to keep track of what you test and how it performs each time.

Mentions

I’d bet the first thing that came to most minds were Twitter mentions. Social media mentions are a great thing to keep an eye on, but they’re not the only mentions you should be aware of. Which media outlets are talking about you? Who in the public is talking about you? Is it positive or negative? Who’s talking about your competition and your industry? Setting a handful of searches and alerts is the best way to keep your finger of the pulse of what’s being discussed.

Free options include setting up Google Alerts for your organization, key public-facing individuals in the organization, your competitors, your products, your industry, etc., running regular Twitter and Facebook searches using advanced options to fine-tune your searches. Paid services like Cision and Meltwater can aggregate and automate these searches for you into a central place, while identifying trends and streamlining your media outreach as well.

Website acquisition

Your website is the hub that connects your organization or brand with the rest of the world, right? It would make sense that you’d want to know how people find you and end up at your website. Using Google Analytics, you can set up detailed reports or use Google’s templates to analyze user acquisition and activity. These reports can show you where people come to your site from, what pages they’re interested in, how long they visit and more.

You can further drill this information down using Google’s URL Campaign Builder to build unique, descriptive links with campaign and origin information to help you keep track of where people are coming from. You  can track these in Google Analytics, along with goals and flow to see if users are completing the actions you’d like them to and what information they’re interested in.

Audience growth

Knowing what your audience is doing is important, but it’s also important to make sure that your base is growing in a healthy way. Tracking your subscriber growth, your social media audience growth and your website user growth is a good way to make sure that your brand and the content you’re sharing is still relevant and engaging. Check out how your subscribers subscribe to your email list. Take a look at your new social media followers and see what, if anything, they have in common. Same with your site viewers. If you can identify similar trends and commonalities, you may start to see other ways to engage your audience and new content marketing and PR avenues you can pursue to keep your organization growing.

Want to know more about PR metrics and measurement, including ways to use them to grow your own career? Join us on Wednesday, June 21 at 8 p.m. for a Twitter chat with Shonali Burke, independent PR pro and host of the monthly #measurePR chat, to learn more!

robyn-rudish-laningRobyn serves as PRSA’s New Professionals Section’s programming co-chair and is a communications and PR pro currently living and working in Columbia, S.C. In addition to volunteering with PRSA’s New Professionals Section, she also serves as the 2017 VP of Communications for the South Carolina PRSA Chapter and brought together the chapter’s first New Professionals group in 2016. She’s a native of southern New Jersey and currently resides in Columbia, S.C., by way of Pittsburgh, and currently works as the communications coordinator a statewide non-profit organization. In her spare time, Robyn likes to cook, read, spend time with her tail-less cat Izzy and write for her own blog – and almost always with a cup of tea in hand. Find her on Twitter & talk to her!

5 ways to use social media to build your personal brand & help your job search

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Spring is just around the corner and now is a perfect time to spring clean your social media. Twitter, Facebook and the like are for sure a treasure trove of cat videos, gifs and other humorous bits to procrastinate your day away, but social media – Twitter in particular – can be a powerhouse career tool if done correctly.  Here are five things you can do today to harness the magic of social media to build your personal brand and boost your job search.

1. Give your LinkedIn a make-over.

If you’re on the job prowl, the first place you should start with your social media is on LinkedIn. Show your page some love by refreshing as much as necessary. Think your photo, positions, volunteer work, summary, skills – anything and everything. Don’t forget to give yourself a new header image if you haven’t already and a personalize URL for easy sharing.

Spend some time really digging into what you write beneath each position. LinkedIn is a great place to expand a bit more on what’s in your print resume, but don’t get bogged down in the job description and minutia of your day-to-day. Focus on your accomplishments and impact right up front and highlight the key functions of your position if you really feel inclined or they’re a little out-of-the-ordinary.

2. Find & join a Twitter chat (or two).

Twitter chats are the hidden networking gems of social media, especially for PR people. Depending on your interests, joining an industry-focused Twitter chat can be a great way to make new connections, meet and learn from industry thought leaders and establish yourself as someone in-the-know.

New Pros hosts them, PRSA hosts them, some of your favorite PR veterans host them – there’s really no shortage of chats. My favorites are the New Pros #NPPRSA chats (third Wednesday of most months at 9 p.m. EST) and PR Daily’s weekly #RaganChat (Tuesdays at 3 p.m. EST).

3. Make connections.

Social media is all about connecting the world, right? Find and follow some PR pros you admire and reach out to them. Build a relationship by commenting on their posts, resharing them and connecting with them to chat. Most PR pros are more than willing to chat and share their expertise, so building a good repertoire is easy to do.

4. Join a Facebook or LinkedIn group.

Just like there are a number of great Twitter chats, there are some pretty awesome Facebook and LinkedIn groups out there for PR people too. Unlike Twitter chats though, these groups aren’t limited to a specific date and time or even a set topic that everyone will talk about. These groups encourage members to post their own topics or questions as they come up and for everyone to engage at their own pace. Group moderators will often post topics or questions as well to keep the conversation flowing. Two of my favorites are Shonali Burke’s Social PR Posse and PRSA’s New Professionals Group. Both are closed groups, so you’ll have to request to join, but both are very worthwhile.

5. Share your stuff. Share relevant stuff. Share all the things.

Consistency is key and content is king, right? So put them together to build your personal brand on social media by sharing industry pieces you like, news articles you think deserve some attention and your own content. Using a scheduling platform like Hootsuite or Buffer to make sure you have content being shared consistently, not in a giant rush all at once and then not again for weeks. Don’t forget to add your own commentary or insight. Repurposing your own content – whether it’s something on your own personal blog or something you guest wrote and published elsewhere – and scheduling it out for later on is also a great tactic for keeping yourself fresh in your followers’ minds.

Want to talk some more about social? Join PRSA’s New Professionals Section on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 9 p.m. EST for February’s Twitter chat. We’ll be talking about social media and PR trends in 2017. Follow along and join the conversation using #NPPRSA.

robyn-rudish-laningRobyn serves as PRSA’s New Professionals Section’s programming co-chair and is a communications and PR pro currently living and working in Columbia, S.C. In addition to volunteering with PRSA’s New Professionals Section, she also serves as the 2017 VP of Communications for the South Carolina PRSA Chapter and brought together the chapter’s first New Professionals group in 2016. She’s a native of southern New Jersey and currently resides in Columbia, S.C., by way of Pittsburgh, and currently works as the communications coordinator a statewide non-profit organization. In her spare time, Robyn likes to cook, read, spend time with her tail-less cat Izzy and write for her own blog – and almost always with a cup of tea in hand. Find her on Twitter & talk to her!

Five Keys to Personal Branding

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Brands aren’t just for businesses anymore. As a new pro, it’s important to establish your own personal brand and voice out in the professional world to set yourself apart from the crowd. Here are five steps to creating a personal brand that accurately reflects who you are.

1. Define who you are

First step to creating a strong personal brand is knowing who you are. Take some time to think about how you want people to see you and what you want to be known for. Make a list of what you do and don’t want to be known about you, mark the important things and keep it at the forefront of your entire strategy moving forward.

2. Carve out your niche

Now that you know what you are, you need to know what you want to talk about. Add to your list the things that you know a lot about, the things that you’re interested in and the things you want to learn more about. Don’t worry if some of these items seem incredibly different. You can be a great PR pro and showcase that expertise while still enjoying and talking about other interests, like baseball or Keeping Up With the Kardashians or indulging in every show the Food Network has to offer. When making your lists, pick out the most important items at the core of who you are and fill in the rest with the secondary things you’re interested in. Your personal brand should reflect who you are as a whole person.

3. Scrub down your social media

Before you start posting and strategically crafting your personal brand, take a good, hard look at your social media. Check your posts, delete those that you don’t want to be out in the world anymore and keep that in mind as you post in the future. If there are any accounts or photos that you’d like to be kept private, change your settings or take them down entirely. You may think that some of those tweets and posts may never see the light of day again because you posted them so long ago, but better safe than sorry.

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4. Fill your tool box

Take a good look at what you want people to know about you and think about how you’re going to present what you know. Social media is a pretty obvious choice, but how and what are you going to present? Will you share posts from your own blog? Examples of work you keep on your website? Guest posts you’ve written elsewhere? Looks like you’ve got some other work to do!

Whichever items you and methods you choose to use, make sure you have all the tools you need to get started before you actually start.

5. Shout it from your mountaintop

You’ve decided on what you want your personal brand to reflect, what you’re going to say, how you’re going to say it and where. Now it’s time for you to stand up on your mountaintop and shout it. Join some Twitter chats, share your insight and your posts, and get out there in front of people who are interested in what you have to share.

What methods and tools do you use to maintain your personal brand?

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Robyn Rudish-Laning is a member of South Carolina’s PRSA chapter and is communications coordinator for the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness. Robyn is also a member of the New Professionals executive committee. She is a graduate of Duquesne University and is currently located in Columbia, SC. You can connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter or read her blog here.

The Pieces of Your Online Puzzle

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What results do you find when you Google yourself? Nothing much? While a squeaky clean search result may seem ideal in some industries, it isn’t in Public Relations and most other communication fields. 

Having a solid, consistent but authentic personal brand online puts you ahead of the competition professionally. The perception you give online is the ideas and feelings employers, clients, and other professional connections get before meeting you in person.  

When building your personal brand, think about what you want to be known for? What are you good at? What sets you apart from others? Think about what your “thing” is and build a brand from it. Great personal branding gives you the chance to show the world you practice what you preach; if you’re good at writing, building networks, or organizing events show that skill online through blog posts, pictures, and video. Your interests, who you follow and what you post on social media, also reflect who you are. Be sure that your profiles are curated to reflect what you are passionate about. Even if you aren’t quite sure what it is you are passionate about, the topics you frequently post on can give you some clues.

As a new professional finding your niche, keep in mind that it is okay to have a fluid brand and have many “things” early in your career. We are multifaceted people, with multiple interests. The beauty of having a personal brand is the ability to not be stuck in one line of work; your personal brand can and should grow and develop with you. If you decide to leave your full-time job and freelance, move from Public Relations and focus on Marketing, or publish a book that has nothing to do with Public Relations, you can do so without being tied to your current industry or profession.

The pieces found on your website, social media accounts, articles written by you and about you are creating the puzzle that is your personal brand–make it a beautiful picture.

i-zthGPGn-XL-230x300Jasmine L. Kent, a member of PRSA-LA, is a fan of all things food and beverage, pop culture, and media. Combining all three passions, Jasmine builds community through engaging online marketing and dynamic events as a communications professional in Los Angeles, CA. Keep up with her on Twitter at @JaVerne_xo or visit LoveJasPR.com.