Questions Weighing on a PR Person’s Mind

As a PR pro, there are two questions that seem to constantly come up in conversations with clients as well as in the IMC program at WVU: how do you measure success, and what is the next big thing?

It has been argued time-and-time again that impressions and ad equivalencies are a thing of the past. Yes, it is finally time to say goodbye to the cost per column inch (I hear old school PR pros rejoicing throughout the country). Yet, as we say goodbye to one form of success measurement, we are about to welcome a new way to measure, especially in this emerging media world in which we live.

I found this recent blog post from measurement guru Katie Paine especially interesting. Paine details her 10 predictions for measurement in 2012. I agree with her on many points. For example, we will be competing for media coverage over the Olympics and the presidential elections. Note to self: start thinking of my media hooks right now for my clients.

I also concur that mobile will be even more predominant in our market and measurement will be a must. In fact, a recent study conducted by InMobi demonstrates that smartphone and tablet use will continue to grow in 2012 meaning that mobile needs to be on the radar screen of every marketing communications professional. And, as such, it will be critical to develop different ways to measure mobile success. I foresee us measuring success through not only engagement, but also through how people are reaching a site. For example, are people using a standard PC to reach your website, but are they using a smartphone to access it? If so, it is critical that your website has a mobile version. Too, make sure your site can easily be read on a tablet.  By determing the device on which your audience is reading your site, you will be better able to tailor not only your site, but other marketing outreach initiatives as well. 

One of the areas in which I don’t agree with Paine is that there will not be a new Twitter or Facebook. Yes, Twitter and Facebook have had explosive growth, but after reading this article in The Washington Post, I began to think whether or not is it possible for the next big thing in social media to happen this year. Has she heard of Pinterest?

As more and more people turn to other methods to search for news and information, could the next social media phenomenon appear this year? It could, and it may. In emerging media, the one thing I have learned is that you cannot make absolute statements because it is definitely a world of the unknown, and the next big thing can come to the forefront tomorrow.

What do you think?