Julia Wakefield|Sep 26, 2012

I recently attended the Women in PR Summit at the Eden Roc Hotel in South Beach, Florida. Women working in all facets of the public relations business flew in from across the nation and Canada to attend panels, workshops and seminars.

I was fortunate to be invited to participate in five panels, ranging from developing a profitable social media strategy, to confronting gender issues in the workplace, to best practices in media relations.

Through participating in discussions and networking with attendees, I found that their concerns and questions tended to center around a couple of key topics that are top-of-mind for public relations and communications practitioners today.

Metrics and measurement

I noted in one panel that a mistake we see a lot in public relations is not knowing what success looks like for a given campaign. That is, plunging into the execution of the strategy before first determining the metrics by which you’ll measure the success of the strategy, setting benchmarks and developing a strategy accordingly.

Then, the firestorm of questions began. What kind of benchmarks should one use? How do you project what is reasonable to accomplish? How do you manage client expectations?

Given rbb’s focus on metrics, measurement and benchmarking success, I was able to offer some methods for attendees to implement in their next campaign. I explained that at rbb we don’t just have one way to measure results, and we certainly don’t just count clips. Depending on the project, we look at business outcomes: leads, customer service goals and conversion rates. We also track communications metrics such as impressions, message point penetration, sentiment and changes in perceptions – all great ways to benchmark success for a PR campaign.

Crisis management on social media

Many attendees were in the field of entertainment PR, serving as publicists for celebrities, musicians, artists, and athletes, and client management is one of their day-to-day tasks. But now that every client has the ability to broadcast image-damaging – even career-ending – statements without the benefit of PR counsel, what’s the best way to contain such crises?

Once they’ve happened, said Joshua King of Fly Publicity (our only male panelist), they’re difficult to contain. Counsel clients about the pitfalls of social media when you bring them on board. However, understand that in certain instances issuing an apology or ignoring the online outrage is all you can do (besides working with the client to avoid similar issues in the future).

Law in the age of online content sharing

These days, as intellectual property laws struggle to keep up with the ever-expanding platforms for creating original content and sharing found content, it’s more important than ever to know your rights when it comes to your own content (such as blog posts, white papers, or photos) and when it comes to others’ content. LaShawn Thomas, Esq. of Miami Entertainment Law Group shared ways to protect your work, just as you’d protect any other asset.

What about you? Are the topics above issues you struggle with? What solutions have you found? Let us know in the comments below.


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