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Five key metrics for evaluating publicity outreach effectiveness

Five key metrics for evaluating publicity outreach effectiveness

Most people are fully satisfied with the publicity results only when the “reach, persuade and move-to-desired-action” process produces sufficient visible actions on the part of those people you wish to influence. However, it may take several weeks or even months for this to occur.

There are five key measurement points you should use to determine your level of satisfaction with the effectiveness of your publicity efforts.

1. The first point is when you transmit the release. Do you feel like the costs of performing the publicity outreach are reasonable? Do you feel like the service has been responsive to your needs?

2. The second point is immediately after the release is distributed and you can identify the number and quality of the media responses to your news release.

3. The third point is when articles are actually published or when your interviews have been conducted.

4. The fourth point is when you determine whether enough of the right people respond to your message.

5. The fifth and final point is sometime later still, when you are finally able to somehow determine the overall benefits of your outreach effort and experience. It is only now you can truly ask “Was it worth it?”

At each of these points you should ask yourself: “What is really happening here?” Real data should be collected objectively and evaluated without prejudice. The actual numbers of tangible events can be tallied. The actual costs can be surmised. Only then can you ask yourself “How do you feel and why?”

It is crucial that you recognize the importance of measuring the value of publicity in clear financial terms at each step in this process. However, you must realize that this will not be easy to do.

On one time publicity efforts, you might be able to break even financially on step four within a few weeks of sending out a news release, especially if the release goes to newspapers, radio and TV. But with magazines and trade publications that require longer lead times, it may take seven to ten months to reach steps 4 and 5.

You may also need to continue to maintain your publicity outreach, say on a month-by-month basis. If you do not break even on a news release, what should you do? Stop or continue? Do you use the same publicity materials and media list or change them?

The answers depend on your specific goals, and your specific finances. Some publicity goals are financial and some are not. You may have the resources and commitment to go for a long distance. You may not.

You might not want money as your goal. You may simply be seeking publicity. You may simply want to get the word out for the purpose of informing and educating the public to a serious and important issue. You may need a specific type and quantity of media coverage to achieve this goal.

But if you are in business, you are far more likely to be solely interested in enhancing the bottom line. You are seeking to use publicity as a means to achieving sales. To you publicity is an essential part of your marketing plan and you very simply seek a positive return on investment.

If that is the case, every dollar counts and you must document and tabulate your sales and expenses.

Article comment – Social media marketing sucks… if you do it wrong

Why social media marketing sucks and what to do about it

Why does social media marketing suck and what can you do about it?

Interesting Article at the Kansas City Examiner titled Social Media Marketing Sucks… If You Do It Wrong by Dustin Riedisel

My comments:

Social media are a special type of communication technology and they too, like all other communication technologies (email fax, street mail and even Tweets), have special requirements.

The goal is to have a meaningful communication with a real person on the receiving end. The message is what matters. The real value to the recipient is what matters. You can’t use any communication technology to trigger or motivate action without figuring out the magic words first.

This in fact, is what I call, the miracle of the microcosm, since in this nation of 300 million technology and media indoctrinated people, you can learn what it takes to turn people on anywhere. This is what expert PR and marketing copywriters are really for.

And once you do figure out what you can say that turns people on (no matter where you are) then and only then can you use technology as a force multiplier, to generate the actions you want people to take, wherever they are.

Read more on social media marketing ROI here

More Discussion and Analysis of That Pesky Twitter ROI Question

More Discussion and Analysis of That Pesky Twitter ROI Question

My post yesterday triggered a lot of discussion including worried cries from lots of Twitter afficianodos. Sorry, I didn’t want to dampen your enthusiasm or blind devotion.

It’s that pesky ROI question that I’m wanting to focus on specifically and strategically.

If you are getting ROI and it’s worth your while, then keep doing it. I want to see facts and data and learn how people do it profitably.

I would like to see what you say, understand who you say it to, and what happens specifically and over what period of time. I’d like to learn the connections to your landing pages and your fees to see how the ROI is generated.

My experience and that of many many many repeat many many many of my clients, invest time and energy and even create huge numbers of followers and even they see very little for it in terms of real ROI. Oh a few do, but very few indeed.

I think there are many reasons for this.

First is that the ability to communicate meaningfully so that you persuade and achieve action is very limited by Twitters brevity and that no matter what you give, getting through to people so that you achieve action is really hard.

Second, I think that at least in lots of businesses, successful people do not make decisions that entail or rely on or are even remotely influenced by what they can learn from Twitter conversations.

Sure, there are success stories and they are galvanizing. But they are actually rare. The data on ROI for bread and butter people and businesses is lacking.

Personally, I don’t mind Twitter at all. To me it is another tool in the arsenal. Like all the others, the technology has special communications requirements.

Some people don’t want to look at it as a marketing tool. They say to me “I don’t get it”. It’s just for communicating with people.

I think they are missing my point. Clients want to use it as a marketing tool. It’s a given fact. So it is the use of the tool for marketing that I want to focus on.

There are many people who think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. Obviously, there are people who are growing up using these technologies, and even building their lifestyles, and their livelihoods and incomes and the way they communicate with their clients around the technologies they use. To them, Twitter is just a wonderful extension of what they do and feel.

Like it or not, there are plenty of people who do use it and with text messaging and the ease of use on cell phones and blackberries, it is important to keep your options open. My kids use it. My doctor doesn’t. I do sometimes. Some people live and breathe on their iPods. They may have nothing better to do with their time.

I like being able to search and ascertain who’s talking about what. Although it has limits and doesn’t compare to the Internet for quality content and reliable detailed information searches for real problem solving data or information.

It’s a great tool for finding out “what’s happening” and searching for news and following real time events. Put in the word ‘tornado’ and you’ll find out exactly what’s touching down where and within seconds of it happening.

It has a valuable function for businesses who monitor what people say or who need to respond to a crisis.

All these things are true and all it takes is money and take time and effort and skill.

So I’m not giving up on it at all. I’m not averse to using it.

My questions are how much money, how much time, and what skills?

I am a scientist and a former attorney and a consultant who seeks to provide service and value. I think in terms of systematic processes to achieve success. The processes have to be capable of being reproduced for me to recommend them to clients and to teach with them.

So my search is for valid guidelines and tactics. Hence, what I hope for is not hope and hype, but statistically proven tactics with some documentation of the ROI.

I’m looking for guidelines in how to use it wisely and what messages work best for what purposes.

That’s my point. To measure the ROI with Twitter is very difficult. It varies phenomenally.

The number of followers to me is a dubious metric. You can develop a following and be in communications with thousands of people. You can tweet to them three times a day or three times a week.

But does it produce sales? Does the time and effort and money you invest yield a net income and is it worthwhile?

That is the question I want to focus on.

The time it takes to do this well competes with other income producing activities you can be doing. How you spend your time is a choice you make.

I am very cognizant of the power of targeted communications. The right message in front of the right people can be truly amazing. I do this with media day in day out.

But what if the people you reach using Twitter don’t react in a way that lets you profit from the time effort you invest in it.

You have to determine that yourself.

I want people to succeed when they use Twitter or any other medium of communication.

I see that people have to be careful though that they don’t replace productive income producing activities, with less income producing activities. That’s one of the risks here.

My recommendation is to track exactly what you do and make an objective determination and compare it to other dedicated marketing activities that produce sales.

Decide based on the income data.

If it works do more of it. That’s common sense.

But if you find it’s eating up your time and the hits don’t ripen into sales and ROI, then perhaps you should do something else.

If you spend just half an hour a day on Twitter, you’ve made a decision that results in you giving 15 hours a month to it. Are you making ten dollars an hour for your time? Did you by any chance just lose 15 hours at $100 an hour doing that?

That’s the type of choice I face.

Like it or not, much to the dismay of those who have jumped on the Twitter bandwagon, lots of people are finding out that Twitter can be a demanding time eater, and it may produce very little in the way of tangible and reliable income.

In fact, it can take them away from other proven activities that are needed to produce income that they rely on.

Everyone has to make the choice for themselves and decide how to spend time that produces income.

I think that given how difficult it is to survive and make an income these days, it is really important for people to document what they really experience carefully, so that they can make good sound decisions.

That’s what I’m really interested in. Hard data. Not theory. Fact.

How much time do you need to invest to develop a following?

How do you really reach the people who really matter to your business?

How do you communicate with them?

These are simple but important questions.

The number of dollars per unit time expended is something more interesting to me since I can compare it directly to how I spend time and the income I presently receive.

The way I spend that time is very important since I can compare it to how I know I spend my time now and the income I presently receive for that conduct.

What messages are best for what purpose is also a subject I’m very interested in because I can compare it to how I communicate now and what income those communications produce for me.

That’s what I’m after.

I think it would help others to find out these things as well.

Biggest challenge I see about using Twitter

Commentary and analysis of using Twitter for marketing and PR

People are asking lots of questions about using Twitter, particularly as a marketing tool and as a tool for PR.

The biggest challenge I see about using Twitter as a marketing tool is trying to get an answer to the following question:

What ROI am I going to get out using Twitter and why?

The ROI people receive from participating in Twitter is an open question. Some people get lots of tangible ROI and many don’t.

If you are an Oprah or an Ashton Kutcher, you may have a million followers. You can cultivate and perpetuate brand image by being a fun enjoyable person with your tweets.

Each one only follows a handful of people. That’s not conversation, it’s performing.

How much time do you think they really spend Tweeting and looking at other people’s Tweets?

Twitter is seen as a conversational medium and it takes time, effort and care to develop and cultivate relationships.

If the celebrities are using Twitter, is it because it will have a positive effect on their ROI? Look at how that happens.

Can you develop meaningful relationships with people on Twitter? Apparently so. Some people do anyway.

Can these relationships produce ROI?

Maybe. Some people may be able to mine the relationships and produce ROI but for most people that I know, this is not the case.

Is it because no one is really listening? Text message communications not all that easy to make motivational or galvanizing. Headlines in articles, news releases and the subject lines of email messages present many of the same daunting challenges. Look at the latest string of Tweets from anyone and see if what they say impresses you enough to spend lots of time each day keeping up with what they are saying.

120 to 140 characters with a snip link and say something of helpful, funny or useful with real value you may get someone to click on the link.

The same one liner may be forwarded.

You won’t sell product or services simply by tweeting three times a day if what you tweet is sales talk and links to your web site.

You may get friends and get followers if you post helpful or valuable information.

Tracking sales from individual tweets is going to be pretty difficult. Tracking traffic from Tweets may be easier.

Will it be worth the time and effort compared to other things that you can do with your time, energy, and money available for marketing?

Maybe. Maybe not. It depends what you do and what you receive from your Twitter efforts as compared to other things you are doing.

You can target using Twitter search and find people who have mentioned a keyword in their Tweets. Is this really a great targeting tool? Are you reaching people who are truly receptive to a direct message from you.

If what you posted had real value and if it helps people, then they may be grateful. They may spread the word to other. They may help you build a reputation for that value. Yes, it may bring new people to your site and you’ll get some ROI.

But is ROI you receive from this attenuated pathway really based on your Twitter post? Or is it because of the value in what you’ve created independent of your Twitter post.

Did you need Twitter to connect with someone to help them? Can you use all sorts of other methods of communication to meaningfully connect with people?

Is Twitter as valuable say as a regular phone call? A web seminar? A detailed post to a forum? An article in a trade publication? An interview on radio or TV? A podcast interview or an interview on Sirius satellite radio?

The answers may depend on who you are, what you do, and what you can give to others, and then of course, in what you have that brings you income that Twitter people will buy.

I believe that if you focus on the creation of real value then you won’t necessarily need to use Twitter at all.

In fact, unless you create something of real value in the first place, it won’t matter no matter what technology you use to communicate with people.

The quality product or service is the most important thing you need to focus on first and foremost.

Of course, if you do create something truly re-markable, other people will do all the talking for you anyway.

There are good reasons why companies need to be on Twitter and follow what people are saying, and even converse once an issue or even a crisis erupts.

But is it worth the time, effort and money it takes to be on Twitter for small businesses?

Maybe. It depends on you, your product, your services, and on the value of the relationships and the quality of the communications you have with the people you need to produce your income.

If you can have meaningful little tiny snippet text communications that relate directly to the mental factors that determine or influence sales decisions in your target audience then maybe Twitter is for you.

If on the other hand little tiny snippet text message communications don’t cut it, then maybe you don’t need to be using Twitter at all.

Media coverage begets media coverage: How to use publicity to get more publicity

Media coverage begets media coverage: How to use publicity to get more publicity

One of my clients Cy Tymony who writes the Sneaky uses of Everyday Objects book series told a story about his appearance on one NPR talk show lead to an invite to write an educational fun article in a teen science magazine which then led him to be invited to be on a Make TV Public Broadcasting System TV show.

His story about how one media leads to another illustrates one of the primary rules of PR.

Media coverage begets media coverage.

We’ve had many similar experiences with lots of other clients.

What turns on one media turns on other media.

Bigger media also pay attention to what other smaller media are covering. They also use them to identify guests of interest and with the right guest capability and qualities they seek for their audience.

This illustrates my ‘miracle of the microcosm theory’.

It doesn’t matter where you are, you can learn what you need to say and do to turn your audience on.

You need to offer up great information that meaningfully connects with the people in the audience.

This is what Cy has developed and learned to do as an author, a media guest and a speaker. This is where Cy Tymony now shines. His tips and demonstrations are dazzling fun examples of the power of the human ingenuity, innovation and creativity. These elements are not only dramatic, educational and entertaining, but they are motivational and inspiring.

To be successful, this is what other authors have to learn how to do. Like Cy, you can create, practice and refine your media pitch and presentations till they turn people on. You can do this wherever you are.

Once you have a communication script — something that reliably turns people on — then you use the targeted technologies that are available as a force multiplier to repeat the message to similar people and the media they read, watch and listen to, and produce the same response actions wherever you get to go.

This is a conscious business decision. You take your proven mar-com – marketing communication and you decide to systematically roll it out and offer it to more media and people.

Bu this also points out one of the challenges of book marketing and promotion. It takes work to do the communicating. It also takes time, energy, and skill. It’s not rocket science. It is active outreach and repeat performance.

This is a choice many people fail to take in spite of the gift that has been handed to them. They sit back passively and wait for more good things to happen, instead of realizing that it takes effort and energy to push the proven message out there where it can be seen and acted upon.