The March issue of PRWeek has finally arrived, and Kaplow is pleased to share the discussion from PRWeek’s Digital Roundtable held on January 14. Stephanie Schwab, senior vice president of K:drive, represented Kaplow at the invitation-only event. Other panelists included Hill & Knowlton, Coca-Cola, Fleishman-Hillard, Comcast, Proctor & Gamble, CME Group, Nokia, and Scholastic.
Erica Iacono of PRWeek steered the conversation with questions regarding the changing landscape of PR strategy as digital media advances. Two major challenges of digital outreach are promoting participation among consumers and measuring the success of digital programs.
In the digital age, PR is the creator of shareable content that can be directly delivered into the hands of a specified group via social media channels. But in order to garner participation among these groups, Julie Atherton of Hill & Knowlton says you must have a “value exchange.” Content is key. Brands can entice and engage consumers by providing real-time, front and center, insider information. Consumers are growing impatient, “so the faster companies can figure it out, the better,” says Bill Evans of Fleishman-Hillard.
After quality content is distributed, the challenge is “figuring out the measurement and analytics piece because it’s not baked into the culture of the communications discipline,” according to Evans. Measurement should be based on the program goals. Sarah Trabucchi of Scholastic measures success based on where the content lives and who is consuming it. Similarly, Coca Cola’s Adam Brown looks through the PR lens and evaluates success in the digital space by relationships built. In any case, measurement vocabulary and units should demonstrate cross-functionality for understanding among PR, marketing, and customer service, recommends Molly Schonthal of Nokia.
Overall, social media is ever evolving, so PR and brands must continue to learn and evaluate new strategies and tactics. We can start by focusing on these 2010 digital media trends, as predicted by the panel: social video, analysis, convergence of digital tools, aggregation and simultaneous communication with multiple and separate audiences, and focus on strategy and content as opposed to tactics.
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