Guest Post by Danielle Heiny
As Generation Z attends college and begins to enter the PR workforce, what better time than the present to reflect on how measurement has been taught and implemented by two generations prior. In this “Generational Edition” of #measurePR, our special guests were Millennials and Gen. Xers who’ve been in the industry for a solid seven to 17 years.
Taking us on a ride through their #measurePR journeys, here’s some of what we talked about:
Everyone’s first PR-related internship or job:
A2. My first internship in #PR was actually at one of the minority health centers at @NIH. My first “I actually get to do PR” experience was at a club in DC doing PR for national Soul and R&B artists. #MeasurePR
— Mercy Bae-coup (@MercyC) June 14, 2018
— Danielle Heiny (@DanielleHeiny) June 14, 2018
A2: I landed an internship with @martinwaymire and I really owe everyone there currently and at the time my launch into #PR. They let me take hold and run with social media, campaigns and the like where I learned early the value of measuring and evaluating #measurePR
— Greg Rokisky (@GregRokisky) June 14, 2018
A2 My first #PublicRelations job was with a nonprofit in Uganda, before the days of social media. We used spreadsheets to record and track metrics for all our outputs and outcomes/impact, and to ensure that our initiatives were helping achieve business goals #measurePR
— Poonam Sharma (@poonam_s) June 14, 2018
As you can see, some practiced #measurePR in those early days, while others did not.
A2: I stumbled into PR/marketing. I was a journalist in a former life, so my first job was at a startup ad agency and I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. My entire education was here on Twitter from people like @shonali, @ginidietrich, @mikeschaffer, and more #measurepr #measurepr
A2. Essentially back then clients just wanted to know how many stories I got that night. I didn’t know to #measurePR until I got more experience and started working with ColorComm & PR Firms. #measurepr
A2b. We didn’t #measurePR much. It was all about, were the highest ranking officials happy. Was our press coverage neutral or nonexistent. Did events run smoothly? #Comms #PR #measurepr
Our most challenging PR measurement moments:
A5 The most challenging PR effort was a health communications campaign for a non-profit with outreach to remote areas. KPIs included local media interviews, toolkit downloads, and increased engagement at local chapter levels #measurepr
A5: It was when I worked remotely for a publishing company. They hadn’t established channel tracking and I got directive to spend 10k+ per month on social media ads…I had to establish the proper backend systems to prove my spends were specifically converting to sales #measurepr
Did undergrad or graduate programs provide a strong #measurePR foundation?
A3. My experience actually doing PR gave me a strong foundation. My university @ClaflinUniv1869 didn’t have a PR program way back then, but my graduate program at @JHUAAP was stellar. #measurePR #PRStudChat #measurepr
A3: Hard to say. My degree is in mass comm and I went to school for a career in radio. I had no focus in PR or marketing at all in school. What did for sure? Twitter and the community that took me under its wing. @shonali deserves heaps of praise, specifically. #measurepr #measurepr
A3: I love MSU but I learned all the actual evaluation and measurement in the field or in alternative learning (i.e. Shonali’s PR Virtuosos, blogs, etc.). I think it’s improving now that social is growing but for me it was a lot of self-learning #measurePR #measurepr
A3 I studied journalism in grad school. For #measurePR knowledge I relied on independent coursework and mentorship from senior #comms #PR professionals. #measurepr
Intrigued by the unanimous “no” regarding higher education, I dug deeper asking, “What are the top five things you wish university PR programs taught better?”
A4: Okay, so rough list… 1️⃣ Excel 2️⃣ Social media strategy 3️⃣ Strategy using real-life scenarios 4️⃣ Excel 5️⃣ Big data/small data re: PR/comms **bonus: having difficult convos for the sake of great PR // #measurePR#measurepr
A4. Universities should teach Writing, Pitching, Attention to Detail, Measurement (of course), and… How to deal with Rejection. I meet a lot of young students who get so discouraged in PR & very fast. #measurePR #PRStudChat #measurepr
Measurement and media pitching were top contenders along with mentions of PR tech and business development, but Mercy’s comment about rejection couldn’t be more agreeable.
YES!! Accepting “no” is critical to a life in PR. I’d add that kids coming out of college also need to understand that they’re not always going to get exactly the story they want from a reporter. That’s not a journalists job. #measurepr
Lifelong learning also came up.
A3.1: I also believe, no matter how good the curriculum gets, with the fast-paced nature of Social PR, the internet, etc. PR pros have to commit to lifelong education throughout their career to remain effective, while keeping the foundation at our roots #measurePR #measurepr
A3: This. All day long. Books are one thing. Real life is another. And with how social media and the internet evolve on (literally) a daily basis? You can’t end your education on graduation day. #measurepr
There certainly wasn’t a shortage of advice for those new to the force.
A7: Find a mentor you trust in the field and develop a lasting relationship with them. #measurepr
A7. I just got off the phone with a student who graduated in May, and was upset she didn’t have a newly minted job in June. Be patient, work on yourself, and stop comparing yourself to your peers via social media. #measurePR #PRStudChat #measurepr
A7: With everything that’s changing, and the allure of always wanting to use the shiniest tools and tactics there’s something very important to be said about the foundation of great PR and communications…learn that and learn it well #measurePR #measurepr
Time flew by and before we knew it, time was up! Although the conversation ended on Twitter, we’d love to hear your thoughts.
What do you think university PR programs could teach better? Do you have ideas for improving measurement in curriculum? Share in the comments below!
If you missed the chat or want to revisit some of the insights shared, check out the full #measurePR transcript for June 14.
July #measurePR Announcement
The next #measurePR Twitter chat will be held on Thursday, July 12, 2018 at 12 pm ET. Mark your calendars for your monthly dose of measurement talk and use the hashtag #measurePR to join. You can also follow our Facebook page for the latest updates and reminders. We hope to “see” you there!
Image: Jeff Sheldon via Unsplash, Creative Commons CC0
Danielle Heiny is a success-oriented brand manager, who helps mission-driven organizations achieve explosive growth by harnessing brand potential, connecting the dots, and optimizing bottom-line results. Based in Washington, DC, she’s worked with the U.S. Department of Education, the International Chamber of Commerce, and a variety of nonprofits, government agencies, and international organizations. To learn more about Danielle, connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter and check out her blog on branding, empowerment, and cross-cultural communication.