Measurement: Ain’t Nothin’ but a Thang’

Ok, so I giggled when I wrote that headline, because I would never consider myself to be cool enough to say something so…cool. The point is, measurement of ROI doesn’t have to be crazy serious; it can be as simple as a little math.

The topic of simple ROI calculation came up when one of our branches wanted to track the ROI of a radio remote with the number of tacos he gives away. See, if you attend the event and apply for a job, you get a voucher for a free taco. They just count the number of vouchers given away and there is the ROI. It is so simple!

Now, I would’t advocate for everyone (or anyone, really) to use free tacos as a measurement tool, but it can be really easy to quantify ROI.

(Return – Investment)

What you got back, minus the amount you invested, divided by what you invested gives you a percentage of return.

Now, most campaigns require more complex mathematics, but you are still striving for getting more than what you put in. The key is to establish what you would consider success; what is the percentage that makes the effort worth while?

I am reminded of a fantastic article from Marketing Mo that breaks down how to determine ROI success. Return on Investment – Formula and Use breaks it down for you. They outline three main buckets that marketers might consider as return:

  • Total revenue generated
  • Gross profit: revenue minus cost
  • Net profit: gross profit minus expenses

Then you can break it down further. Are you trying to acquire customers? Drive sales? Increase engagement? Ultimately, it is about making data-driven decisions and showing the worth of a robust marketing and communications strategy. We are all fighting for those precious budget line-items and it’s time to make sure you are being smart, proactive, and thoughtful with yours. In the end, it all comes down to simple math.

Ideally, though, just math alone doesn’t define ROI. Let’s not forget about qualitative data, but that’s for another blog post.


Social Media & Strategic Communications in 2015

Social Media & Strategic Communications in 2015 was originally published on Getting Smart.

Let’s start with social media.

Facebook Isn’t Dead. Contrary to what many people may be saying about how Facebook is dying, it is still a great tool for the right audience. It is still has the largest social media audience and why would you turn your back on that? Figure out who you are trying to reach and see if they are present on the platform and Facebook away. Teachers are a great example of who still have a large audience on Facebook.

To Tweet or Not to Tweet? There really is NO question. You may notice that from a personal perspective I am not very active on Twitter. Primarily because I have spent most of my career writing and posting tweets for the companies I work for, but I have been selling myself short. Not only is it a good idea to be on Twitter, it is imperative to my career and to my company. Twitter is the KING (or Queen) PR channel! 140 characters can open a whole world. So, there really is NO question, just do it and here’s how.

Leverage Twitter Chats. So you’re on Twitter, now what? Join a Twitter Chat. Twitter Chats are a great place to start learning who is who, what are people talking about, and how they like to be spoken to. Once you are comfortable with how a Twitter Chat is run, start your own.

Instagram? Only if you have something to show. Don’t just have a social media account for the sake of having one. To really make it worth it, you have to be active, consistently active. Instagram is a great example of this. Instagram is GREAT, fabulous even, if you have images to share that are relevant to your brand. So many people fall into the trap of starting an account on the “hot” new social platform without the content or audience to back it up. Review the platform and find out if it is really worth your time, if not stop and revisit it again in six months.

Content is No Longer King. The king has been dethroned and been replaced by images and video. Our brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text so it is not surprising that platforms like Instagram, Pinterest and Vine have exploded. We have even seen the Facebook newsfeed taken over by images and video. A picture is worth a thousand words and in the world of social media, much, much more.

And now, strategic communications.

Integrated, integrated, integrated. The other day I was driving down the road and was listening to an advertisement on the radio and as I heard the final tag line, I looked up and saw a billboard for the same company with the same tag line and later on Twitter. Why is this important? Because I remember this product. I am not even in the market for this product, but here I am talking about it; remembering it. When creating a marketing communications campaign, it is crucial to ensure all channels are saying the same thing. Marketing pioneer Dr. Jeffrey Lant says it takes 7 touches for someone to make the decision to act on a message, don’t spend time and money on multiple messages, when one great message can do all you need.

Transparency Will Make or Break you. We are in a 24/7 news-cycle and with a large percentage of the world using some sort of social media, being truthful and open has never been more important. Ever notice a company on the nightly news when they admit fault immediately? Rarely. Be honest immediately and any crisis can be managed.

Blog about it. Gone are the days that we require media outlets to tell our story. Brand journalism has taken on a new form and it isn’t content marketing, nor is it sponsored content. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It is meaningful, quality storytelling. Own your brand and tell the story you want to tell on your website through a blog. Share your blog on social media and watch your brand, followers, and/or customers grow.

Mobile and More. 60% off all internet traffic is mobile and is rapidly increasing. Smart phones and tablets have revolutionized how content is accessed and consumed. So, if you do not have a mobile site, you need one. If your mobile site doesn’t have a lot of traffic, you’re not doing it right. If you are finalizing your plans for 2015 budgeting, include dollars for mobile, it will make a STRONG impact.

Personalization – Not Just a Teaching Model. Consumers increasingly demand a more personalized experience both online and in person. The millennial generation is a fast-moving group who embrace change and as they take-hold as the target sales market, we must be more flexible in our outreach efforts. Reach them on their level, how they want to be and when they want to be reached. Provide a true experience, even in your storytelling. Connect with them with your messages and they will come.


Press Releases 101

Press Releases 101 was originally published on Getting Smart.

In the age of the 24/7 news cycle, many wonder the pros and cons of the press release. What is the point of creating a full release if I can just send a tweet to my beat reporter or favorite blogger? There are MANY more pros than cons. Press releases are a crucial component to any public relations strategy. Here are 10 tricks to the trade that get your release more attention:

  1. Your headline is your hook. Think what headlines catch your eye in the newspaper or on a tweet. Your headline should be descriptive, but limited to 100 – 170 characters. There headline should be formatted in title case, which means, capitalize each word except for prepositions and articles that are three characters, or less.TIP: The text underneath the headline is called the subtitle. The subtitle is just that – additional title information that explains the news value of your press release. it is not necessary to include a subtitle.
  1. Put all your eggs in the first basket. If the descriptive and noteworthy headline passes the first step and your release is opened, a quick read of the first paragraph needs to give the 5 W’s and 1 H in 3-5 sentences. TIP: Watch out for run-on and fragmented sentences.
  2. Easy come, easy go. Give every possible opportunity to access the release and share it. ALWAYS include a link to the digital version of your press release. Even better, embed a sample tweet to immediately share. TIP: Watch the character count and allow space to retweet.
  3. Remember grammar school. Proofread., proofread again, and have someone else proofread your release before sending out. There is nothing more distracting from good content than a grammatical error. TIP: Write your press release in AP Style. It is a journalists bread and butter.
  4. Make it flashy. Including multimedia in your press release is almost a requirement in the fast 24/7 news cycle. Humans engage with images faster than text. Consider that a minute of video is worth 1.8 millions words. (Omnivideo, 2009) TIP: Look for images, videos, and other visual data your company already has instead of creating new each time.
  5. Leave the creative writing to the pros. Reporters and bloggers spend their life making subjects engaging. Leave the superlatives to the journalist. Your release should provide key, hard facts and data to support your overall message. TIP: Want to support the creative aspect of your story? Write a blog post.
  6. Quotes provide color. Use a good quote from a high level organizational contact, product user, or someone close to the product to provide the human interest angle to the release. TIP: Even better, provide contact information to the person quotes to allow the journalist to contact them directly for “color commentary.”
  7. Provide your contact information. Seems like a simple task, but so many releases are sent without letting the journalist know who to contact for “more information.” Include your name, phone number, email, and, in some cases, Twitter handle in your release. TIP: Create a press release template with a placeholder for contact information to ensure you never forget.
  8. No one likes spam. You spend all the time writing content, developing and linking multimedia, gather people to quote and interview and when you go to send, you bulk email. You don’t like spam, neither do journalists and editors. Spend the time to create targeted lists to send your releases to, make contact with them, and create a relationship. Not only will this help ensure your release isn’t immediately moved to the JUNK folder, if you have a relationship, it has a higher likelihood of being covered.
  9. More information. A boilerplate is generally one-paragraph company profile placed at the end of the release showcasing who your company is and what they do. This is a great opportunity to make a positive impression of your company. Make it count. TIP: Create a consistent message about your company by using your boilerplate as your social media profile description, website “About Us” beginning paragraph, and elevator speech.