April 27, 2017

Helping PR pros make smarter decisions

Stop being lazy.

Stop being lazy.

As the volume of content generated from social media channels continues to increase, it’s natural to long for automated systems to help keep on top of it. Whether that means having a smart system that collects and delivers the content with an ability to separate the good stuff from the spam, a system that provides sentiment analysis, or a method of determining influence, it’s helpful and necessary to use computer systems to help us cull through the content.

But even the smartest systems are not a substitute for human analysis and the hard and sometimes boring effort of reviewing content and making judgment calls based on good data.

It feels like there are more pleas for automated systems to do more, more accurately–and that’s good. It’s important to keep pushing the envelope of development. But the recent discussions about Klout’s problems with influence scoring and the near-constant requests for accurate automated sentiment analysis should be a wake up call to practitioners. Everyone needs to stop expecting the tools to do ALL of the work for them. A hammer isn’t going to hang a picture up for you, it’s a tool to help you do it. Please start looking at things like Klout scores and listening platforms the same way. They will get you part of the way there, but you still have to think, analyze, take the direction, and act accordingly.

If it were just the advent of social media and the volume of content generated by it, that would be one thing. But the amount of press release spam sent leads me to believe that the desire to seek out shortcuts is becoming increasingly pervasive (or at least more obvious) in PR and Marketing practices. If it’s a time crunch issue, push back. If it’s simply complying with prior norms in the office, educate and explain why things are different.

From using AVEs because “that’s what people expect” to assuming an algorithm can identify better than you who in your client’s target market is influential, taking the path of least resistance is going to harm your results. Stop it.

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About The Author

Jennifer Zingsheim Phillips is the founder of 4L Strategies, and has worked in communications and public affairs for just over 20 years. Her background includes work in politics, government, lobbying, public affairs PR work, content creation, and digital and social communications and media analysis.

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