Earn Great Returns. $25 Sign-Up Bonus. Borrow up to $25K. Rates as low as 7.00%.

View Preston Parker"s profile on LinkedIn

Monday, July 27, 2009

Monetizing the ROI of Free News Impressions

People ask about how to measure the bang for the buck when it comes to obtaining free news coverage for organizations. Public Relations and Advertising firms need to have an answer to these questions for their clients. One consensus method for doing this has been the Advertisement Value Equivalency (AVE) model. But, in the age of social media, can this model even be used any more?... especially when it's becoming more and more condemned by editorialists and academics. Where's the research that incorporates social media into the equation?

Where the AVE model could be applied to assigning a value to traditional news impressions, is there a model that can do the equivalent when incorporating social media? Nothing made this question more poignant to me than the McCain/Obama race. McCain went traditional, where he could measure "If I put these dollars into getting this kind of news coverage, then my polls will rise about this much." It is actually very scientific and calculated. Obama, on the other hand, took what, at the time, was a huge unknown risk and focused on new and social media. No one could predict the outcome, let alone, give a specific known ROI. So what happened? Obama's coverage exploded, both in new and traditional media outlets. He really didn't care about measuring the bang for the buck ... as long as the bang was happening on its own.

This scares a lot of people ... because how can we utilize a massive tool if we cannot predict the outcomes from using it? And, the truth is, for now, we cannot predict how news coverage affects ROI. The rules have changed so much in the last two years. Simply consider Twitter and Facebook. A large number of educated people younger than 30 will go to these two outlets before anywhere else when they want to know what's going on in the world. If your story is not on these two sites, you are missing a major financial demographic.

Example: The United Breaks Guitars song that was posted on YouTube and massively proliferated on Facebook and Twitter. United Airlines could have simply given the guy his money back instead of dragging his claim out a year and then denying it. But since that's what they did, the guy wrote a song expressing his feelings and it exploded. Many using Twitter and Facebook heard about it and have watched it. United's stock dropped 10% in a couple days and there are those who attribute up to $180 million lost by United because of this song. The guy ended up having countless appearances on traditional news outlets, but it took social media to make it happen.

How in the world can a major company calculate ROI on phenomena like this? And, by extension, how in the world can PR and Ad agencies quote an ROI on Free News Impressions to their clients?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ten Steps of Google Voice: Setting Up Your Account

Here are the basic steps and some tips to signing up with Google Voice, based on my experience:

1. Sign up for an invitation: Go to: http://www.google.com/voice and submit your email to receive an invitation directly from Google. If you have a Gmail account, use this email. No one else is allowed to invite others at this time, even after signing up with Google Voice (in other words, this process is different than when Google released Gmail where those who signed up could invite others).

2. Receive your emailed invitation from Google: It is unclear how Google is selecting individuals to receive invitations. It is not first come first serve, as I signed up for an invitation long before others I know and they received emailed invitations before me. Nonetheless, the only way to sign up for Google Voice is to use an invitation from Google. Interesting, though, I had a friend who received two invitations, when she only signed up for one. She used one and let me use the other, and they both worked fine. So, if you have a friend receive two invitations, you can use one.

3. Click on the link that is included in the email invitation: You can also copy and paste it, like any other embedded email link. It will look something like this: https://www.google.com/voice/inv/7Jqs-5TcFPdnKtN2nTm262hTjI4ddfe4d09d8f57a4

4. Enter your email information: Google is confirming that you have not already signed up for Google Voice. What's cool is if you enter your Gmail address here, all of your Gmail contacts automatically become Google Voice contacts. Basically, Google Voice just becomes another application (like Gmail, Blogger, iGoogle, Calendar, Docs, etc.) that is available when you log into your general Google account.

5. Choose a desired phone number: You can select a desired area code or zip code to designate a geographical area, but you don't have to. You can leave that field blank and do a general search for numbers and words across all geographical areas. This is nice, because you can then get desired numbers and words and not be concerned about where the number originates. In today's cell-phone-using world, geographical areas don't have as much meaning (like being concerned about long-distance phone calls) as they used to. Also, something fun is to refer to a website that can figure out words based on a given phone number, like: http://www.phonespell.org Or, if you are concerned about area codes (or find a number you like, but do not recognize the area code), you can use a website to help you know which area codes pertain to where, like: http://www.bennetyee.org/ucsd-pages/area.html

6. Select a four-digit security code: Choose some memorable code that you will use later when accessing some account info.

7. Assign phone numbers to your Google Voice account: You need to type in at least one and up to six phone numbers that you want to be associated with your Google Voice account. These need to be numbers that have not already been associated with a Google Voice account. They also need to be confirmable at the time you are assigning them (see step 8). So, if you have a unique email address and a unique phone number, you can sign up as many Google Voice accounts as you want (as long as you receive a unique emailed invitation from Google).

8. Confirm phone number: Google will call your phone number(s) and an automated voice will prompt you to type in the provided two-digit code on the phone's keypad. Within seconds of having done this, your Google Voice account will become activated. So, you want to list phone numbers to which you have immediate access.

9. Leave greeting: During this same confirming phone call, you have the opportunity to leave your first voice mail greeting for incoming calls.

10. Explore your new account: Take some time to acquaint yourself with your new Google Voice account. My favorite is to check out the contacts and see all my Gmail contacts already listed. Also, try calling someone through Google Voice. You will see how your phone rings first and when you answer it you hear it ringing the person you called. On their caller ID it shows your new Google Voice number.

Welcome to your new Google Voice account.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

New Brain Control Toys and Limits on Virtual Currency

There's a day in my Public Relations classes that I call "New Technologies" day. It's where we discuss some new technologies that will affect the field of PR and communications. Lately, we've discussed CNN's i-report, brain wave movement devices, reality overlay, CNN's hologram, social media updates, and Second Life....to name a few. I always tell my students "by the end of class today, you will be shocked at what's out there." And, by the end of class, most are.

So, it's nice to see articles that will likely add to the information discussed in these class sessions.

Here's one on the New Force Toy which allows users to move things by concentrating. When I talk about this technology in class, I discuss a PBS series of specials I saw where monkeys were being trained to play simple videos games and move robotics using only their minds. Well, looks like human trials for toys have been completed.

And here's one on China limiting the transaction of virtual currency. I am actually surprised World of Warcraft is mentioned, but Second Life is not. Maybe the Chinese economy is threatened more by WoW than SL. I remember when I would show my students that you could sell Linden Dollars for American dollars on Ebay...that came to an end earlier this year. Cool to see Professor Edward Castronova mentioned in the article...from one of my Indiana University my Alma Mater departments.

These types of advances will drastically change communications in the not-so-distant future.