Perspectives from 2013 International PRSA Conference

Today we have a guest blog post from Rosemarie Ascherl, PR Foreman at Sonnhalter, who recently attended the International PRSA Conference in Philadelphia to learn the latest trends in public relations. 

PRSA_2013Earlier this month I had the opportunity to attend a motivational week of education and networking at the 2013 PRSA International Conference. The entire three days of the conference I was bombarded with incredible amounts of expertise and thought-provoking ideas, but several of the impressions stood out.

We are in an era of change. It is time to think differently and recognize that to be successful we must discover new ways of reaching our audiences. We need to be open to change and figure out how to tell our stories, our experiences, to influence and change behavior. We need to evolve.

Measurement is important. While there are many schools of thought on PR measurement, one point is clear: measurement is important. If you aren’t measuring anything, you need to start. Measuring can get very complex, but if you start simple, and add additional metrics as you move forward, the value of your PR efforts can be better understood.

Traditional metrics of assigning advertising value equivalency (AVE), now better termed advertising cost equivalent (ACE), can be a good place to start, but there are many additional metrics that can be examined such as sentiment, social media engagement and search rank. Employing metrics to directly tie the results to business performance or sales is ideal and helps to build the case for PR delivering great efficiency.

The press release is not dead. Press releases are very much alive. They just need to adapt to the changing media models to generate results. One of the ways we can do that is to make the press release more compelling for today’s incredibly visual audiences using graphics, from high quality photos, videos and interesting infographics. With traditional media on the decline, we have to find other ways to get our information to our audiences and consider alternate uses for the press release—such as social media, websites and blogs. Our messages need to be effective for today’s environment. 

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