Apparently I wasn’t the only one screaming at my television last night.

Why? I’d set my DVR to record “American Idol” (it allows me to skip the commercials), so when I figured enough time had passed in order for me to be able to skip all the ads, I settled in to watch it.

The show ran over. My DVR did not. And I missed watching the one contestant I’d been waiting to see: Adam Lambert.

So what did I do? I logged on to AmericanIdol.com (which is not a site I frequent) to see if the video had been uploaded yet. No. Then I turned to YouTube. Nope.

This morning, as soon as I brought my Washington Post in, I turned immediately to Lisa de Moraes’ TV column to find out what he sang (again, not my typical modus operandi). I can’t remember a time I’ve been so glad she watches so we don’t have to.

Once I knew which song Adam got a standing ovation from Simon Cowell for, I did a quick search for it, and voilà.

Phew. And all before 7:30 a.m. today.

The Adam Lambert Litmus Test

This is not a paean to Adam Lambert. But consider the atypical behavior – for me – that I engaged in, just to see and hear what he did last night. That’s engagement; not with the show, per se, but with what a single contestant brings to it, and which obviously helps the show.

The bottom line for effective PR is that you need to reach your audiences, and engage them enough to inspire behavior that helps achieve your goals. That engagement is what I experienced last night and this morning – and I’m still engaged enough to write about it.

That’s the kind of thing we should be measuring as PR professionals. Forget about clips and impressions (I’m still amazed at how many people focus on them as a sole or primary measure). It’s about engagement.

Does your PR pass the Adam Lambert litmus test?

What do you think? Have you been able to convince your clients and/or organizations to start focusing on outtakes and outcomes, rather than outputs? What’s your litmus test? I’d love to hear from you.

(Photo: Broadwayworld.com)

Shonali Burke
Founder and publisher of Waxing UnLyrical, Shonali Burke helps purpose-driven brands bring big ideas to life. She teaches at The Johns Hopkins University, has gone back to school herself with the Harvard Business Analytics Program, and is creator/lead instructor at The Social PR Virtuoso® online training hub , where ambitious PR pros learn how to unleash their inner Social PR superheroes. Owned by Lola the Basset Hound, she's mad about ABBA, bacon, cooking, dogs, and Elvis, though not necessarily in that order. Wouldn't you like to be in her kitchen?
Shonali Burke
Shonali Burke

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