This piece was adapted from “Earned Media’s Value: The True Story,” a compilation of conversations held between PRWeek, Memo, and industry leaders from brands like Mastercard, Walgreens, and Goldman Sachs on the new era of PR measurement.
Stories are essential to our culture: from fables to parables to novels to Netflix, stories are how we learn and how we connect with others. Everyday we see the tremendous importance of narrative. To rally action. To move markets. To open minds.
For brands, storytelling is a crucial tool for connecting with their customers. As the famed Simon Sinek said, “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Put another way – people buy your story.
If a story falls in a forest though? Good storytelling is only effective if someone hears it. Despite the rise of social media, news publications remain one of the most important channels for brands to tell and reinforce their stories. Social posts are often a flash in the pan, but a well-placed article can boost a brand’s SEO for years to come.
I would argue there is no other medium that exists today where you can consistently get someone to spend the same amount of engaged time learning about your company’s messaging, values and products. Earned media offers companies the institutional trust that media publishers have spent decades building.
Yet with all this value being created, I’m astounded by the gaps I see in how earned media – and by extension the PR and Comms function – has been measured and quantified. It’s my belief that our industry has a data problem.
For too long, PR has been anchored on metrics that attempt to capture its worth with potential numbers or estimates. While marketing and brand measurement has become increasingly precise, communicators have been left to create a patchwork of flawed data that fall short in showing the true value of their work. PR professionals deserve a more accurate and complete picture – and that’s what we’re working to give them.
I founded Memo with a mission to move the industry closer to measurement befitting the value PR delivers. As data becomes more essential to fueling effective comms strategies and guiding the C-suite, it will also be the key to ensuring earned media gets the credit and recognition it deserves.
In a world driven by stories, the future will belong to storytellers. Let’s give them the right data to prove it.
Read the full series of roundtables on PRWeek:
- “Earned media: A new narrative about its value and power” featuring Communications leaders from Chipotle, Goldman Sachs, Mastercard, Nissan, and ViacomCBS
- “Make sure your message gets through” with participants from ClassPass, L.L. Bean, McCormick, Nestle, UPS, and Wells Fargo
- “Brands benefit from the long reach of a great story” with Carnival Cruises, Colgate-Palmolive, DAZN, and Walgreens Boots Alliance