This month I attended the 2017 PRSA International Conference in Boston and was pleasantly surprised by the excitement around the public relations profession and the still significant role earned media plays in the overall integrated marketing mix.
I wanted to share the themes that bubbled to the top for me:
Theme #1: Measure. Measure. Measure. Although many of the panelists were from larger companies, measurement was the main topic of conversation. Over the past 20 years, earned media has been difficult to measure as many times the coverage that matters is all about quality, not quantity. Thanks to the various tools that have cropped up, we now have better ways of proving PR ROI including URLs with trackable links, Google Analytics, Cision, Datarama, TrendKite, etc.
Theme #2: Talkable Triggers. I LOVED Jay Baer’s speech about talk triggers. This is essentially messages or things about what you offer that make word of mouth involuntary. You feel like you MUST share because they are so cool, unique and different. His 5 types included Talkable Empathy, Usefulness, Generosity, Attitude and Speed. For an example of Talkable Empathy, if an oral surgeon calls his top 5 new appointments a few days before the first appointment instead of what we all expect (usually the follow up call after), it differentiates that he shows he cased BEFORE and he sets himself apart. In another example of Talkable Generosity, Amazon Web Services differentiated itself by passing on the savings it created by reducing costs to its customers. So what do we learn from this as marketing professionals? Create a differentiator of something that YOU DO, and then promote the hell out of it. You will win in the area of providing remarkable customer service and people will start talking about your company.
Theme 3: Online Influencers Increasing in Importance. In the B2B tech market, we’ve had our influencers as the top industry analysts for a long time, we know who they are and the tactics to help get our clients included in their reports. But now it’s time to realize that there is a wider circle of influencers out there – in trade associations, bloggers, professors, etc. and you must identify and tap into them early to drive industry leadership.
So all in all, the conference was a testament to the fact that earned media is still the most trusted form of media, provides an effective set of tactics for lead generation by generating interest at the top of the marketing funnel and is an important ingredient in a successful integrated marketing strategy.
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