Team Wizikey

Written by Team Wizikey

April 5, 2023

“A dashboard of metrics is helpful in PR and communications to consider multiple aspects, including quantity and quality, as relying on a single metric to gauge success is challenging.”-Jenny from G2

In this episode we talk to Jenny, with over 13 years of experience, who has always been passionate about journalism and communications. She initially worked in various industries such as consumer, healthcare, and professional services before finally finding her niche in B2B tech. Introduction 0:38 I’ve been in the field for over 13 years now. […]

“A dashboard of metrics is helpful in PR and communications to consider multiple aspects, including quantity and quality, as relying on a single metric to gauge success is challenging.”-Jenny from G2

In this episode we talk to Jenny, with over 13 years of experience, who has always been passionate about journalism and communications. She initially worked in various industries such as consumer, healthcare, and professional services before finally finding her niche in B2B tech.

Introduction

0:38 I’ve been in the field for over 13 years now. When I was in college, I knew I wanted to focus on communications and journalism, which is where my minor was. I honed my writing skills during that time, which has proved to be invaluable in my current career path. After college, I dabbled in public relations and took courses taught by adjunct professors that worked in the field. One of my professors, Jack, had his own tech PR firm, and he became a contact that I stayed in touch with. It was during the recession in 2009 when I started looking for a job in PR agencies. Unfortunately, most of the agencies had just laid off, so I took on an unpaid full-time internship at a B2B tech agency in healthcare and life sciences. From there, I landed a full-time role at Pan Communications, where I stayed for the majority of my career and moved up to the vice president role. I primarily worked with enterprise software brands, with a focus on martech. Then, I had my eye on G2 and ultimately landed the role of Director of Communications here. I’ve been working at G2 for just about a year now.

Favourite Campaign

4:09 I worked with many clients over the years on many projects. I’d say the one that stands out is probably because it was the most newsworthy and exciting. My client at the time was – they’ve rebranded since, it’s now Human software. It was White Ops at the time, but they were busting these ad fraud operations. And there was this huge, basically this huge operation that ended up being, I believe, the biggest ad fraud bust ever at the time. The FBI was involved because they were tracking these cyber criminals in Russia. And we were partnering with Google on this as well. There were a lot of very kind of under embargo, NDA conversations happening that I was a part of with these weekly calls. We were talking with Google and planning around. We didn’t know when the bust was going to happen. We knew about a year out; this was being tracked. It was the leaders at White Ops at the time that were involved with uncovering this and getting other industry leaders in and getting the FBI involved. So, we had to be really careful and sensitive about our communications. We didn’t want to go, we wanted to make sure we spoke with a reporter that would tell the story best and tell it well. And then from there, the messages would get picked up. It didn’t mean we only did one interview. There were multiple but we really focused on the messaging. When we were at media briefings with reporters, myself and the executive spokesperson were on video so we could communicate, but we just gave the reporter the dial-in so we could have our own signals if we needed to for any messages. But it was really exciting. We had this huge Buzzfeed feature, Wall Street Journal. It was a huge national news story and just really exciting. So to see that all go down and just build up, and to be, you know, and to also partner with Google, we had to make sure that we were coordinating on our messaging and who was owning what?

Understanding the Competitive Landscape for Effective Strategies

6:15 One thing that informs our strategy and approach is to audit and see what our competitors, industry peers, and industry leaders are doing. We don’t necessarily need to copy what they do, but it’s helpful to have our pulse on the competitive and industry landscape and know what’s working and what’s not.

For example, I had a client where we looked at their Google Analytics to see which media publications were driving traffic back to their website. We found that a small, niche publication that catered to their exact target persona drove more traffic than the coverage we got in Forbes. This informed our strategy on who to target and how to set our metrics. It’s important to note that getting coverage in Forbes has a different purpose of giving broader brand visibility and awareness, while a niche publication is actually driving the right people back to the website. By tracking the number of visitors and their behavior on the site, we can see if we are reaching the right audience.

Data as saviour

7:58 One thing that comes to mind is when we recently reached two million reviews on our marketplace. It was a public goal and we were counting down to it on our homepage in real-time. We had reached one million reviews in 2019 and it took just over three years to hit that next million, which is pretty impressive. So we did a campaign around it, celebrating it publicly with a blog post, some social media posts, and discussing some of the trends in the data, like global trends and category growth. The interesting thing was that we couldn’t plan a date for when we would announce this. We had to wait until we hit the two million mark. We were worried about when it would happen, like over a holiday break or on a weekend. I remember going to bed on a Sunday night and then the next morning we hit the two million mark and we were ready to promote it. It was an exciting milestone where data helped us tell our story.

Metrics to measure

9:17 In PR and communications, it’s difficult to have one metric that tells the whole story. Different aspects of a program need to be considered such as quantity, quality, and more. A dashboard of metrics can help tell the holistic story. Share of voice is often debated, but it does play a role because it gives a quick view of how a company stacks up against its competitors. However, it’s a flawed metric because it only looks at quantity and can include negative mentions. Filtering for a certain topic and term can make it a better-quality metric. Goals need to be data-driven and have a strategy and reasoning behind them. Auditing and benchmarking are important to inform those metrics. Message pull-throughs can be useful, especially when measuring how a company’s affiliation with a certain term is increasing over time. Encouraging executives to use the term in interviews and building it into content can contribute to the company being increasingly known for it over competitors.

Role of PR & Communications in recession

12:07 I think it’s an interesting and difficult time for many companies due to the economy. I have heard a lot about layoffs and budgets being tightened. It reminds me of some past recessions, especially since I entered the field in 2009, after the layoffs had already happened. We were on the upswing at that time. Then during the height of COVID in 2020, we had a temporary pause, and many companies were pausing or temporarily reducing budgets. However, we came back really strong, and now we are in a similar situation again. It’s nothing that we haven’t seen before.

For communications teams and PR agencies, we always want to prove our value, but it’s even more important now. This is where measurement comes into play. We don’t need to measure everything under the sun necessarily, but we need to focus on what matters to the business right now and how we can show our value. I talked earlier about challenges with knowing where to prioritize and focus since there could be so much opportunity for growth and brand awareness. But now is the time to really focus on what works and what we can measure to show our value.

Most communications and PR teams are going to be focused on what drives the needle, what drives growth. We can still experiment and test new things, but they should contribute to our goals. This year, we need to be very focused and intentional.

Dream Metric

14:07 I think that would probably be serving up the insights that we need that are accustomed to us. And I mean, that could be media coverage. It’s still very difficult to weed out the relevant mentions, especially when you’re a company like G2. There are a lot of mentions that come in that are unrelated to us. Every company that has very specific names or maybe a little bit more lucky when it comes to that. But I would say that’s one thing for sure. And the same goes for trying, you know, when you’re pulling any sort of measurement or metric, it usually takes a good amount of homework to make sure that it’s accurate because like I said, there could be irrelevant mentions or you really need to filter it for what you need. So I think that would be helpful. If I had a magic wand to say, ‘OK, what are our 2022 results, and these are all the things I’m looking for?’ Yes, we have the capability to pull them, but to really automate that and know, have confidence in it and know it’s accurate.

My two cents

15:15 As someone starting out in the field, I would say jump at the opportunity to learn what you can. When I was in an unpaid internship, I was like a sponge and got lots of great exposure because they were looking for affordable resources that could help them during that time. I joined lots of calls and talked to different people. Even if it was as simple as bringing agendas into the meeting, it seems like it’s not an important task, but it is. So, be patient, and that foundation is super important. It helps you also learn what you like and don’t like and if it’s the right field for you or if there are different aspects of PR that you want to move into. I eventually learned that I liked enterprise software and tech, and that’s where I ended up focusing. So, use that time just to learn and take advantage of any opportunity.

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