The Rise of Predictive Scanning: PR Isn’t Dead, It’s Poised for a Comeback

By Neelima Yelamanchili, Business Wire DC

Cutting Through The ClutterHow people want to interact with a brand has changed. For brand and content communicators, timing the message delivery can play a crucial role in enhancing perceptions and encouraging favorable behavior change.

Citing data that audiences are bombarded with 5,000 messages a day, Adele Cehrs, CEO, Epic PR Group, explained that when they are faced with so much information, important details are likely to be missed or simply forgotten. The challenge for the communicator is to break through this information clutter and pinpoint and highlight for their audience what is most important.

– 62% say social media has no influence on buying
– 91% rely on word of mouth for brand recommendations
– Just 2.7% of people are willing to recommend a brand across their social media channels for fear of being negatively associated with a brand

To ensure their message reaches through this clutter, Cehrs recommended today’s communicators focus less on engagement metrics and focus more on timing – specifically when there’s a spike in the conversation around a particular topic or issue. SPIKE is defined as “a sudden, point of interest that kick-starts exposure good or bad.” To increase the impact of the news, Cehrs recommends communicators focus on outreach during the spike, “when the messages will be most important to the audience.”

How can you monitor for a SPIKE? Perhaps a particular topic is trending on social media that relates to your brand or industry. Consider that a spike. Perhaps there is new legislation or some issues-focused topic that is prevalent in the news that relates to your message. Again, use that SPIKE.

And while bad news might be a popular cause of SPIKES, don’t automatically assume that’s a bad thing. If handled tactfully, you can make positive waves for your brand in the wake of a competitor’s missteps.

Other ways to monitor for spikes include:
– Competitor wins
– Contrary opinions, from e.g. bloggers, pundits, etc.
– Previous industry/company issues
– Trends in the news cycle

Using social media
Trying to internally sell the importance of social media to your C-suite or executives who distrust social platforms or believe it can be done successfully for free? First, make them understand that there is no such thing as free social media. It’s unrealistic to dedicate around-the-clock staff to monitor social media. Having a team prepared to monitor for the SPIKE and take necessary real-time marketing actions is a more effective use of resources. This is especially true with social media responses being an immediate avenue to connect with audiences.

Be prepared to strike at the SPIKE— you’re likely to get better results, increase your ROI, and might just earn respect from the C-suite!

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