Quantity versus Quality

Let’s play a game. Imagine I have both of my hands filled with M&M’s – but my right hand is far more full than my left. So full it’s overflowing. And you’re a chocoholic. Which hand are you going to pick?

(If you said left, then you’re either lying or not playing properly.)

Here’s where my metaphor will start to shock. That overflowing hand of M&M’s you’ve picked? All of the chocolate is stale, and mouldy and inedible. In my left hand – the hand that was nowhere near as full as my right, are peanut butter M&M’s. And they are fresh. And they melt in your mouth. And you love peanut butter. Are you catching my drift?

This is the old quality versus quantity debate. Most people will choose the hand with more M&M’s – not questioning the quality. More means better, right?

So how does this relate to PR?

With the convergence of traditional and digital media, the PR landscape is rapidly changing. It’s no longer enough to send out media releases to journalists in the hopes of getting front-page coverage on a metropolitan newspaper.

Today it’s all about digital. A rise in social media platforms, SEO awareness and user engagement has naturally lent itself to the PR industry. Companies today are touting themselves as ‘social media experts’ claiming they can assist with ‘social media strategy’ as a component of an overall PR strategy, getting your company’s Facebook page hundreds of likes in days of launching.

But how do you know you are getting value from these likes and follows? And how do you measure ROI?

This is where strategy comes into play. Before commencing any social media project, make sure to compile a digital strategy report. The report should highlight the varying social media channels including recommendations around whether your company should even be on social media in the first place. That’s right – sometimes it’s better for your company to stay off of Facebook.

If your company does require a social media presence, make sure to work at creating online communities that cater to your business’s target market audience. Facebook insights are brilliant in that they tell you exactly who is engaging with your page; by age, gender, occupation – you name it.

The thing is, anyone can buy your page hundreds, if not thousands, of likes in a matter of days – even Tony Abbott did it. But the insights tool will show you that these likes are from hundreds of people in Mauritius (as an example). Great if you’re launching in Mauritius. Not so great otherwise.

It’s time for businesses to realise that the true value in social media and digital strategy is not necessarily around how many likes your page has, or how many followers like your status. It’s about the quality of the connection – does the follower fit your target market? Will engaging with them online increase sales opportunities?

If your social media page has far less followers than your competitors, but over 80% of your followers are your target market, then you’re onto a good thing.

And you should reward yourself with a handful of M&M’s.


 

Contributor:

Hollie Azzopardi, Account Manager for Stolen Quotes

Why a great PR campaign is like a pop song.

This is going to be one of those blog posts that you shouldn’t judge by its title. Or maybe you should, depending on whether you’re a fan of pop music or not.

It dawned on me over the weekend, as I was treating myself to a nineties-music marathon (think Backstreet Boys, N’Sync and Hanson…I am not ashamed), that there a number of similarities between a catchy, cheesy pop song and a successful PR campaign.

Don’t see where I’m going with this? Let me break it down for you.

Verse One: The Media Plan

Pick your favourite pop song. Now, sing the very first verse (in your head, preferably). What does it tell you? More often than not, it sets the scene. You are able to pick up on the direction of the song – it’s theme, genre, whether Pitbull is likely to make an appearance…the list goes on.

A great media plan should do the same thing. It should give enough context into the particular campaign – the strategy, outputs and measurements – without challenging War and Peace. A good media plan is clear, catchy and concise.

The Bridge: The Strategic Objective

The bridge is the repetitive part of the song that comes right before the chorus.

The bridge is generally the song’s underlying theme. You won’t be able to quite put your finger on it, but if the bridge isn’t there in the song, it just doesn’t sound right. The bridge brings the song together.

In a good PR campaign, this is the strategic direction of the campaign. Great PR is nothing without strategy. Take strategy away, and you have an empty campaign.

The Chorus: Key Messaging

Choruses are all about repetition. In a good pop song the chorus is catchy, and makes you want to sing along (Mmm Bop anyone?). It takes the bridge to the next level, and expresses the artist’s key purpose for singing the song in the first place.

This is your key messaging. Key messaging is the lifeblood of a great PR campaign. If you don’t have your key messaging organised, you don’t have a story. If you don’t have a story, you definitely don’t have an audience!

A great chorus is what makes the song. Key messaging is what makes the PR campaign. The clearer and catchier you make your key messaging, the more likely a journalist or your target audience will take interest in what you have to say.

Verse Two: Implementation

Verse Two is all about supporting the song. Without Verse Two, the song ends too quickly and listeners lose interest. A great Verse Two progresses the themes in Verse One, and leads into the bridge and second chorus.

This is campaign implementation. It could be a simple press release, or you could be managing a giant experiential marketing campaign. To be successful, the implementation must support the media plan and strategic direction, and be backed up by the key messaging. Now’s the time to bring out the ‘lalalas’ (promotional activity), high notes (growth in online presence) and maybe even a guitar solo (activation or launch event).

Song Ends: ROI

Before the end of a song, there will probably be the repeat of the bridge and chorus at least once before the singer trails off with their ‘ooohs’ and ‘ahhhs’. (In the context of great PR, this is constant referencing of the strategic objective and key messaging.)

Good pop songs leave you wanting more. They stick in your head and make you want to sing them at the next office karaoke night.

A good PR campaign will do the same. If projected ROI is met, the campaign leaves the client singing your praises and asking for an encore. The target audience will be humming along to your tune and journalists will be belting out your song to anyone who listens.

Now, and only now, is the time to take your bow.

Contributor:

Hollie Azzopardi, Account Manager for Stolen Quotes.

Freedom of Press

Under the Journalism Code of Ethics set by the Journalists Union in Australia, there is one code above all that journalists view as most sacred “Where confidences are accepted, respect them in all circumstances.”

This code has been challenged consistently over time and still remains a topic of interest in the industry. Journalist protection has often been comprised by what appears to be overriding public interest, such as law enforcement, national security or commercial confidentiality.

We’ve seen journalists so adamant in protecting the confidentiality of their sources that they have served prison time. One of the most famous cases was in 1972 a reporter for the Los Angeles Times spent six weeks in gaol for refusing to identify confidential sources in an article he wrote during the Charles Manson murder trial.

Even today Fairfax’s Adele Ferguson, the author of the book about mining tycoon Gina Rinehart, is being taken to court by Rinehart in an attempt to force Ferguson to name her sources.

The impact this will have on the industry is massive. The quality and quantity of great stories could drop considerably if people stopped coming forward with information in fear of having their identity revealed. Consequently, journalists wouldn’t be able to report on important stories that the public deserve to know.

We love the exciting world of journalism that challenges governments, people and corporations, reporting on stories that confront us and test what we already know and believe. We respect and fully support journalists who act ethically and responsibility and wish them nothing but luck and support during this challenging time.

Contributor:

Sarah Brown, Account Coordinator for Stolen Quotes.

An obsession with deadlines

It may seem odd, but it’s true. I live for deadlines. I love them. There’s nothing more satisfying to me than a big, looming deadline ? except perhaps new stationery to assist with said deadline.

Deadlines are great. Not only do they keep teams on their toes, working harder, faster and more efficiently, but they crave organisation. You can’t smash a deadline if you’re not extremely organised.

Working in PR, you’re expected to juggle a million deadlines at once: client deadlines, internal deadlines, supplier deadlines… the list goes on. To really nail the expectations of all of these stakeholders, it’s important that your team is working to a united deadline, with the same milestones to ‘tick off’ along the way. An obsession with to-do lists is a definite plus.

To-Do lists are the life-blood of an organised business. I keep two to-do lists a day. This may seem like overkill, but for the 10 minutes I spend a day compiling my to-do lists, I am left with a highly organised day-to-day plan which means I:

  • ?Never miss a deadline (internal, client or other)
  • ?Never forget to complete a task that was assigned to me
  • ?Never stay back late catching up on minor tasks that should have been completed during a work day

It also means I am always complimented on my efficiency in responding to client and media enquiries.

It may come down to something embedded in my psychology about a need to please people (in fact, I’m almost sure it does), but to me, there is nothing worse than failing to deliver on an outcome or timeline that has been promised to a client, or a direct report. Realistic deadlines that are agreed upon even before project commencement lead to realistic timelines and process steps, a more organised team and ultimately, a happy client.

And it doesn’t get much better than that! (Unless you’re offering me free stationery, of course.)

Contributor:

Hollie Azzopardi, Account Manager for Stolen Quotes.