7 signs your PR efforts need a reboot

By Dorothy Crenshaw, PR Daily

One of the exhilarating things about working in PR, particularly on the agency side, is the variety of what we do. It’s ideal for those of us who are easily bored and don’t want to get into a rut.

Yet, we, too, can fall into routine, and even the best-conceived plan can become outdated or stale over time. Here are seven signs that your PR plan might need a reboot:

You’re relying on press releases. They still have their place, of course, but they shouldn’t be a crutch. Outreach to important constituents, including journalists, should go far beyond “broadcast news.” Of note, the rise of digital and social media and electronic news distribution has placed a higher premium on personal relationships and handcrafted outreach.

Your PR is a one-way street. Some blast out press releases. Others, even large, sophisticated brands, use social media channels as broadcast platforms (hence the term from above “broadcast news”). Wrong. These tactics will limit your return on investment and may even turn off your target audiences. Digital and social channels should invite feedback.

Read the entire sorty here- PR Daily

Measuring your PR: what is relevant to you?

Written by Laura Monagle, APR

“I spend alot of time tracking all of our media mentions, but no one ever really looks at this stuff.”

That’s a common feeling among our clients. We all want measurement, but it’s hard to decide what data is relevant. There’s a great deal of activity on a global basis in the PR world regarding standardization of PR and media relations measures. The Institute for Public Relations just came out with interim standards for media analysis and metrics. If you want to see the full report, visit http://www.instituteforpr.org/topics/proposed-interim-standards-for-metrics-in-traditional-media-analysis/ .

I am completely in support of these efforts. However, like all measurement, the most important data points are those that relevant. And the definition of relevant is in the eye of the beholder. So, where do you even start? Here are some initial suggestions:

1. Decide what is relevant and useful to you. Are you in a controversial industry, a crisis or volatile episode in your company’s history? Then positive, negative or neutral tone in coverage is important to you. Are there certain keywords and key messages you want covered that support your other marketing & advertising efforts? Then track and measure those. Are you trying to forge relationships with new journalists or outlets? Then measure how many of those have begun to cover your organization or call you for comment. 

2. Decide what is relevant and useful to the people to whom you report. Let’s be honest. The CEO or CFO might not appreciate the same measures as a PR pro. So finding out what’s valuable to that person is just as important as what you and I want to know. If it’s garnering more mentions than the biggest competitor, track it and report it. If it’s a huge binder full of clips that makes him or her happy, make it happen. Once you have their interest and attention by meeting their expectations, only then can you begin to get a CEO excited about other ways your coverage is meaningful. 

3. The more you can track your efforts directly to bottom line results, the better. This is the hardest one of all, but it’s the PR jackpot. Do orders for a particular product increase during the time your story or release on that product hits the media? Did you receive a call or e-mail from a potential client who specficially mentioned your article in the business news? Do you notice that you have more leads and referrals coming in from people who said they heard about you from a news story? Make sure you’re trying to capture this information as part of the sales process, and you’ll enjoy the truest measure of success. 

Remember that the data you’re collecting should be helping you decide how and where to focus your PR energy. If you have ideas or thoughts on media relations measurement, I’d love to hear them.


PRSA Chair Quoted in Ad Age on the Senate’s Investigation of Government Agencies’ Use of External Public Relations

NEW YORK (May 8, 2012) — An April 23 article published in Ad Age explores the current Senate Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight investigation into the use of external public relations and advertising services by 11 government agencies.  Read Entire Story Here-  PRSA

Things to consider when choosing a Media Monitoring Company

1. Make sure the service fits your needs. A free service like Google News can sometimes track what you need. However, you have no control over what publications they cover. It can sometimes be more than what you need and other times can miss what you are really looking for especially with television and radio. The paid services offer many good options but they all have their strengths and weaknesses. Get free trials from the well-established news monitors like NDS, Cision, Vocus, Lexus-Nexus, National Aircheck, CyberAlert, and Critical Mention .

2. Check Your Coverage. Almost all monitors vary on their coverage. Some may only do the top 50 or 100 markets. Some may not have a local office in the markets you are interested in which can be helpful. Some monitors may just do local and not national news. There are some that do just about everything. Radio coverage can greatly vary depending on the monitor. Some monitors will get their content form a newspaper’s website and some actually have the complete printed content. Some monitoring services offer a really nice user interface with very little substance. So it is important to take a test run before making a decision.

3. What do you want to get back? Many monitors offer useful information like Audience Numbers, PR Values, run times, tends, etc. This can be useful especially to justify the cost of a Public Relations Campaign. In some cases client may be interested in the video as well. Check with the monitor and make sure they can provide you the format you need. The clips can used in PowerPoint’s, DVD players and on websites. Make sure the monitor can provide the format(s) that work best for you. There are many options with varying quality and file size.

4. How fast do you need it? Many monitors now offer online access to coverage shortly after it runs. This can be a premium feature for someone who is constantly in the news and needs to be able to react fast to coverage. In some cases you may only need daily, weekly or monthly reports and don’t need the extra cost of the online dashboard. Some monitors can get you a clips within the hour and some may need till the next day.

5. How much? They all have varying price tags. Once you take your free trials, you will need to access what you really need in a monitoring service. The costs for subscriptions and clips greatly vary. Don’t be pressured into signing any contracts. A good monitor should give a good 2-4 week trial before you decide. It’s always best to do a side-by-side test using the same search terms for the same time period.

Griff Madigan

PRSA Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter Elects Officers for 2012

PRSA Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter Elects Officers for 2012

MILWAUKEE – January 18, 2012 – The Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) has elected a new slate of officers for 2012.

They are:  
President – Michael Pflughoeft, APR
Vice President – Don Klein, APR-pending
Secretary – Laura Krinke
Director at Large – Alan L. Gaudynski, APR,
PRSA Fellow Assembly Delegate – Mary Scheibel, APR  

Previously elected and continuing to serve will be:  

Immediate Past-President – Laura Monagle, APR
Director at Large – Brenna Kriviskey Sadler, APR
Director at Large – Jerry Topczewski, APR
Director at Large – Kelly Skindzelewski, APR
Assembly Delegate – Samantha Andrews, APR
Assembly Delegate – Chrissy Kruger-Gruendyke, APR
Membership Officer – Keith Lester, APR
Treasurer – Karren Jeske, APR  

The officers were elected at the chapter’s annual meeting and holiday gathering. In addition to these officers, the 200-member organization benefits from leadership provided by committee members, the PRSA Young Pros group, and many other supporters.            

“The economic challenges facing many businesses over the past few years have had a detrimental impact on many professional organizations,” said Pflughoeft. “It’s a testament to the value PRSA provides to our members as well as the leadership and support of local PR professionals that the SE Wisconsin Chapter remains a strong, healthy resource for communicators in the Greater Milwaukee area.  

The Public Relations Society of America Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter is the pre-eminent forum to advance networking and educational opportunities for area communications professionals. It is one of the most active chapters of the Public Relations Society of America, with numerous events and programs that help members connect and further their professional skills. For more information, go to www.prsawis.org or visit the chapter on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.  


When we were first approached by Rogers & Hollands Jewelers to develop a new sub-brand for their engagement ring sales, we wanted to come up with something that would resonate with the target audience, but that wouldn’t be a typical wedding cliche. We brainstormed over 100 names and then held a focus group to narrow the choices down. We then took the top three and presented them to the client at their corporate headquarters in suburban Chicago. Happily, they selected the one we all felt was the best, CREATING FOREVER. We then went on to create all the deliverables, from billboards to store case cards, necessary to launch the new sub-brand in their five Milwaukee area stores. Now, almost two months into the CREATING FOREVER campaign, engagement ring sales are up, with hundreds of couples taking advantage of the free $500 gift package they receive with the purchase of any engagement ring of $1500 or more. This campaign is a great example of how clients and agencies can work together to cover all the bases, from great creative to compelling promotions, giving themselves the best chance for success.

Amtrak Hiawatha: There and Back Again

Winning the Amtrak Hiawatha Service Advertising Project contract in 2004 was one of the proudest days in Staples Marketing’s history.  The opportunity to develop a first-ever branding and marketing campaign for a major transportation service does not come along everyday.  That’s why we’re especially proud of the fact that over six years into the campaign, ridership has increased on the service by over 50%.  The Hiawatha’s success is one reason why it’s been in the news a lot lately.  Wisconsin was originally awarded the now infamous $800 million dollars to make the service high-speed and expand it to Madison (and then likely to the Twin Cities from there) because of how viable and successful it was.  Of course, that didn’t happen but today there was another huge article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about how the state is requesting $150 million from the federal government to convert the existing Milwaukee to Chicago service to high speed, buy some new trains and redo the train shed in Milwaukee.  I guess one thing we can count on is, just like the reliable service the train provides, this story will keeping coming and going, dependably, over and over again.  And we’ll keep doing what we can to make sure it’s packed with riders.

Account Service Excellence: COMMUNICATE!

When I used to be an advertising agent CLIENT before moving over to the other side, I was often surprised by the spotty account service I received.  Just like it’s frustrating not to get a prompt call back from your accountant during tax time, not hearing back from your account executive in the midst of planning a big a campaign was not a good thing.  In the 15 years I spent as a client for three different agencies, I was surprised to find a constant pattern of lackluster service.  That’s why when I came over to the agency side, I was determined to not have what I experienced happen to any of my clients.  With today’s communication tools; smart phones, email, texting, there’s really no excuse for not COMMUNICATING well!  Since advertising and marketing is, like all professional services, a relationship-based business, it’s vital to maintaining those relationships with timely, clear communications.  How many marriages would last if one spouse waited three days to return the other’s call, and was missing in action during the interim?  Exactly.

Welcome to BITE!

Here at Staples, just like you, we’re hungry for the newest and latest trends in marketing, advertising and PR that will help generate business for our clients. BITE brings you bits of information that will sustain you with useful information, insights and views on a variety of topics along with our own take on how to get the most value out of your marketing.

Each week, BITE will feed your appetite on topics covering advertising, branding, public relations, social media strategies, outreach, and much more.  And with a seasoned staff and a strong network of resource partners and contributors, BITE will keep you coming back for more. If not, just let us know and we’ll be sure to cook up something new.

Go ahead, feed your bottom line.