Math, smath

If you’re in PR, Marketing, Social Media, Journalism or any other word-centric profession you might think math, who needs it? Turns out, you really do.

You’ll be seen as an asset to your company if you can measure a campaign, turn likes and follows into actual hard data and can explain the numbers to your bosses. You’ll be able to contribute to the company’s overall business picture and reiterate your importance to the team.

Anyone can tweet, post to Facebook and search for the newest social channels, but not everyone can use math to provide justification for their efforts. You will likely learn the basics in college: statistics, media impressions, market research, campaign measurement, etc. With those tools you can delve into any new analytical arena that pops up. By the time you graduate you should have a good idea of how to translate those skills to new media and social media. How to evaluate if a social channel is worth your company’s time. You should be able to read a Google analytics report and understand what it all means and then tell your bosses.

Reviewing the analytics should keep you from continuing to invest in a strategy that isn’t working and ultimately save your company money.

In case you need a refresher, check out this Poynter News University course on math for journalists.

How do you use math every day?

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A New Way to Pitch (Guest Post on PRBreakfastClub)

“Hi NAME,

Hope all is well! Just wanted to touch base with you regarding XYZ. COMPANY will be exhibiting this year AT EVENT and would love for you to stop by the booth to have a little fun, check out the new PRODUCT and discuss what’s going on in the industry. Please let me know your thoughts and if you are interested in scheduling a one-on-one booth appointment with COMPANY, as I’d be happy to help!

Kindly,
PR REP”

Sarah Kohnle, The Managing Editor at the Missouri State Teachers Association, has received several of these pitches from different firms in the last few days.

Where is this new, ultra-friendly , conversational pitch approach coming from? Do these PR professionals really think they’re fooling the recipient into thinking that there’s an established friendship? Doubtful.

On first glance, it could be interpreted as intended for someone else, but as the pitches keep coming, it just sounds pitiful. The tone comes across more like a desperate elementary schooler wanting to befriend the middle school neighbor and less like a professional invitation.

To read the rest, you’ll have to go check out PRBreakfastClub, where I wrote this as a guest piece.

Marking Facebook Milestones (Guest Post on PRBreakfastClub)


Do you know the history of your company? Aside from the date it was founded, do you know when the important milestones occurred? If you don’t, use the new Facebook for Timeline feature to find out!

You company has a rich history and your clients (fans in Facebook lingo) most likely don’t know about all those great things you did in the past. This is an opportunity to politely brag about your past accomplishments and reiterate to your customers that you are around for the long haul.

For the time being, Facebook won’t let you date photos prior to 1905. The work around is to create a milestone event. As long as you entered the correct founding date in your About section, you will have the option to select dates from that point on. For example, my organization, the Missouri State Teachers Association was founded in 1856. We’ve added Milestones from that date forward.

To read the rest, you’ll have to go check out PRBreakfastClub, where I wrote this as a guest piece.

Brand Allegiance and Brand Bashing

If you list a brand name in any of your social media accounts, but then incessantly complain about the brand (even if it’s vague) or attack the brand, you look disloyal. Particularly if you don’t offer solutions.

If you are a student, especially one in PR or Strategic Communications and associate with a brand (club, organization, sports team, volunteer position, etc.) in your profile, bashing that brand could be a fatal career error for you.

Potential employers are going to search you and search deeper than Google. They’ll check to see if you understand privacy settings on Facebook and have Twitter open. Then a potential employer will comb through your tweets and wall posts and see if you complain about any brand you associate with and if you do how specific or damaging the complaints are. They may check cached pages to see if you’ve removed tweets or posts.

Ask yourself, if I associate with this brand in my profile, shouldn’t I try to represent it well, as I would a client? Won’t a potential employer view my bashes as detrimental?

Margot MacKay, @msbruschetta on Twitter, summed it up, “With students and PR jobs, it’s an entirely different situation. Less forgiving for iffy Twitter behavior, for sure!”
If you are going to complain about your associated brand, be constructive. @dpabowen defines constructive as “feedback that helps the company and/or its customers; destructive = everything else. A positive tone is important too.”
Jerry Gamblin, @JGamblin continues, “If you don’t have a solution to the problem its destructive. If you have a solution its constructive. Its the difference between saying ‘You suck’ and ‘You Suck, here is how you stop sucking so bad’.”
Or just don’t associate with the brand in the first place.