September 8, 2014

3 ways to sharpen your PR measurement skills

PR

Focus on what you should be measuring so you can streamline your PR measurement tracking

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises

Shonali BurkeWhen it comes to the latest in PR measurement, the mere thought of it may make you feel like it’s impossible to “keep up.” Before you overwhelm yourself, take a deep breath and focus on growing your skills by incorporating these three principles into your regular routine. By focusing on these simple – not to mention, free! – tips to refine your skills, you’ll become a measurement star before you know it!

1. Simplify and Streamline Tracking

As I mentioned in a previous Socialbrite post on creating a measurement program, most of the time we don’t have access to fancy dashboards; because we are often limited by client budgets in the tools we can and cannot use. That’s ok, because I’ve found that the more uncomplicated you keep tracking, the better.

Here’s how you can do this:

  • Use an Excel or Google spreadsheet to track outputs and outcomes
  • Making sure the time frame within which you’re tracking different things – e.g. traffic, downloads, purchases, whatever – is the same
  • Watch your Analytics (at the very least, Google Analytics) at the same time, and regularly look to see if there is a correlation between outputs and outcomes.

2. Two Tools to Know and Love

Let me preface this by first reiterating one of my big “don’ts” – don’t get caught up in shiny new measurement tools. Focus on what you should be measuring, as opposed to getting bogged down, overwhelmed, or limited by a tool. That said, there are some tools and techniques that are just crying out to be used.

I’ve already referred to it once, and I’m doing so again: it’s time to become BFFs with Google Analytics and the Google URL Builder. The tracking of URLs has been around in the marketing world for a while now; and it’s something PR pros should know how (and why) to do. Especially for campaigns where you’re driving calls-to-action online, it’s one of the best ways to understand what is driving actions, clicks, downloads, purchases, sign-ups, etc.

After all, it’s only when you know what is and isn’t working that you can adjust your strategy to make it more efficient, effective, and ultimately more successful.

3. Spread Your Measurement Wings

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” Just as it’s important to continue to track and measure the growth of a campaign or initiative, it’s equally important to facilitate our own growth as industry professionals… and that means seizing every opportunity for learning when we can.

Here are a few free ways to spread your measurement wings:

  • Read. It’s that simple. By regularly reading smart bloggers who regularly talk about metrics (Lee Odden and Jim Dougherty spring to mind) you’ll be one step ahead on the PR measurement front.

Want to go the extra mile? Make a point to add a couple of smart books to your library. Social Media Metrics by Jim Sterne is one of my faves.

  • Events. Attending or taking advantage of free events seems like a no-brainer, no? Here are just a few:

○      AMEC Measurement Week: presented by Cision (disclosure: client) and Vocus, this free five-day event takes place September 15–19, 2014 in New York City. It will bring together more than 16 speakers who are experts in measurement and analytics across the communication spectrum, and includes keynotes from Mark W. Schaefer and Peter Shankman… and me! Seriously – if you’re going to be in/around NYC next week, you really should attend. Register here, and the hashtag to follow on Twitter will be #AMECatWork.

○      #measurePR Twitter Chat: As the founder of #measurePR, I’m clearly biased, but I’m proud that in its fourth year, #measurePR still connects measurement geeks across the world. From newbies to old hands, they (we) all congregate here… and I hope you will too! #measurePR takes place the first Tuesday of every month, 12-1pm ET (the September chat, however, is on the second Tuesday, Sept. 9, to accommodate returning from the Labor Day holiday).

○      Webinars: Find and participate in free webinars focused on measurement every chance you get. Now, I know it can be tough to find really good webinars (though Cision – and yes, I’m mentioning them again – offers them frequently), so head to PRSA and IABC’s online events calendars to see what they have coming up. That’s a very good place to start.

I hope this helps you get started on spreading your measurement wings. And remember if you’re going to be at AMEC Measurement Week, or drop in at #measurePR, please give me a holler – I’d love to say “hello”!

September 2, 2014

7 tips for your nonprofit communications plan

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Photo by J.D. Lasica

How to maximize and follow through on your communications goals

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, businesses.

John HaydonIf you’re like most nonprofit communicators, you have a list of specific quarterly or yearly goals. No doubt they include growing your e-mail list, acquiring new donors and increasing engagement on your Facebook updates.

But whatever your goals are, make sure they cover these seven tips below:

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August 21, 2014

My take on the ALS #IceBucketChallenge

Bill Gates
Video still of Bill Gates taking the ALS #IceBucketChallenge (via YouTube)

3 reasons I’ve decided to embrace this campaign — and why you should, too

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, businesses, educators, journalists, general public.

Caroline AvakianAs you all likely know by now, the ALS #IceBucketChallenge is taking your Facebook news feed by storm. Your friends, colleagues, heck, even your grandmother might have been nominated to dump a bucket of cold water and ice on her head in the name of charity. And in this case, it’s a very good cause. ALS is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease,a neurodegenerative disease characterized by muscle spasticity, rapidly progressive weakness due to muscle atrophy, and difficulty in speaking, swallowing, and breathing.

As a social media consultant working with social causes and nonprofits, I have taken great delight in the virality of this meme all in the name of a disease that gets very little attention and fundraising dollars. Continue reading

July 28, 2014

3 powerful email marketing examples from the pros

Email Mktg

Tell stories of impact, use humor & cultivate relationships for more powerful email marketing

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, businesses, educators, journalists, general public.

John HaydonAre you looking to breathe new life into your nonprofit’s e-mail marketing?

If so, you will love these tips three from my peers:

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July 10, 2014

8 ways to make social media matter

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Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, businesses, educators, journalists, general public.

Post by Nancy Schwartz
Nonprofit Marketing Problem Solver & Coach at Getting Attention.org

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Pressure. You feel it. I feel it. Every nonprofit communicator and fundraiser out there feels it. Social media pressure, that is.

Whether the source of this anxiety (Am I keeping up? Do I have a billion Facebook likes or Twitter followers? Is my Instagram strategy driving action?) is your immediate boss, board chair, or colleague in programs, it’s there. The pressure to generate a social media miracle.

Breathe—There Is a Solution

You can boost marketing and fundraising impact, and you can deflate that pressure. Here’s how:

1.  Get to know your people. Research, via online survey or calls, where your current supporters are when it comes to social media.

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July 1, 2014

7 Facebook hacks to make your website more shareable

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Tips to make Facebook work harder for your website

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, businesses, educators, journalists, general public.

John HaydonHow you reach people is not limited to your Facebook Page.

You reach people with your e-mails, your YouTube videos, mentions in the local newspaper.

And you reach people with your website content.

In the same way that people share your Facebook Page updates with their friends (via likes, comments and shares), they can also share your website content. For example, someone sharing a blog post by clicking a Like button. With both a Facebook Page and a blog, your ability to reach people gets amplified! Continue reading