Prowly #PRChat with Jennifer Sanchis, Account Director at CARMA

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Prowly #PRChat is the quick read where industry pros share their take on the issues of the day and sometimes the trends we’ll hear about tomorrow. 

This time we welcome Jennifer Sanchis, Account Director at CARMA, provider of global PR analysis solutions. She’s an expert on the role and significance of digital media intelligence and PR measurement strategies. Follow her on Twitter for plenty of meta-level commentary on the industry along with great examples of the do’s and do NOT do’s of media engagement. Here’s what she had to say in response to our questions:

Authentic communication: How important is it for businesses nowadays?

Authentic comms are going to be critical in 2022. Organizations will not only have to explain how they are serving the communities they operate in, but they will also have to prove their value and show tangible proof of their positive contributions to the world.

Climate is certainly a recurring topic and the public is increasingly becoming more skeptical about net-zero targets with accusations of greenwashing. Authentic communication will have to be heartfelt and genuine in order to be impactful.

How do you go about tracking media coverage and measuring your PR efforts?

My first questions to clients usually revolve around objectives. When asking these questions, it is so important to start from the core organizational objectives to then define how the PR and comms function is supporting these objectives.

What is your organization trying to achieve? What do we want to raise awareness about? How do we want to be seen? How do we want our audiences to engage with us?

All these questions will be paramount in understanding a campaign’s outcomes. Ultimately, PR isn’t just about tactics, so the measurement program should reflect how the function is contributing to an organization’s overall objectives.

What is a commonly held belief in public relations that you passionately disagree with? 

PR measurement can be seen as an expensive, obscure, and complicated activity. But it doesn’t have to be this way! I’ve often heard the saying ‘Begin simply but simply begin’ and I couldn’t agree more with this.

If resources are limited, pick one element of your campaign that you want to measure the hell out of. Doing so will provide you with a solid basis to deepen your measurement work, demonstrate value and raise the credibility of your work.

Jennifer Sanchis - Quote for Prowly Magazine

What should every PR practitioner start doing? 

When it comes to measurement, every PR practitioner should follow best practices and start looking at insightful and honest metrics to demonstrate the impact of their work.

Despite all the fantastic work that AMEC has been doing over the past 25 years to educate and advocate for valid metrics, AVEs are still being used by too many organizations. So PR people should invest in measurement to legitimize their function and show other departments that comms isn’t just fluff.

What skills do you think PRs need to be successful long-term? 

There are a lot of hot topics in the industry right now, and AI is certainly one of them. The CIPR recently published its latest report on AI in PR and a key takeaway from this report was that a lot of work to acquire the knowledge and the skills is still desperately needed.

The authors of the report even argue that we are sleeping into the technological future, which is a worry. AI brings formidable opportunities for the industry but failing to understand its implications will result in decisions to be made without us.

What trends are you seeing in PR that you’re excited about? 

I am super excited about a lot of things that have been emerging in our field – and there’s probably going to be too much to say on that topic!

In a few words, I’m excited about the need for authentic comms around climate, the promotions of products and services in virtual environments, the impact of ESG on strategic comms, the renewed importance of evidence behind every campaign. Distrust is on the rise, so authenticity will become a crucially important driver of success.

What’s the best advice you can give PR students and interns?

Stick with it! PR is such an ebullient industry right now. My best piece of advice would be to attend PR events as much as you can to learn from others and be seen engaging with trending topics.

What are some good online PR resources that you follow? 

CARMA’s Measurement Standard ?, IPR, PRmoment, PRovoke, Stephen Waddington’s FB community, Stuart Bruce’s PR Futurist newsletter, Scott Guthrie’s blog, and The Measurement Advisor by Katie Paine. And more on Twitter, of course…!

Follow Jennifer on Twitter.