Data Visualization: Get Some Data in Your Life

By Lauren Gonn

CKDY0bKWoAA_ktY.jpg-largeKevin Crowe joined us for our July luncheon, explaining the ins and outs of data visualization. So what is data visualization? It is considered to be the presentation of data in a pictorial or graphical format. In other words: charts, pictures, graphs, video and other tools used to get a point across.

Crowe talked more specifically on data journalism, stating that many people see it as the future of journalism. In reality, it has already been used for centuries in many ways. Basically using statistics, design, computer science and much more to determine an issue and report it to the public.

This scientific approach to reporting combines surveys and analyzes demographics in order to test and draw conclusions. There are different forms of data journalism and different kinds of data. Some of the forms Crowe focused on are “quick-turn dailies,” web applications and months/years investigations. The dailies are open source (free) tools, like the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for example, that provide specific information on a subject often. Most data has a documentation on how, when, and where to use it.

CKDa8cbUwAEiVHE.jpg-largeUsing homeowner property as an example, let’s say you want to know how much you are paying in taxes, and how much your home is worth compared to your neighbor. The different kinds of data that would be involved in this topic are: metrics on property assessors, assessed values for different countries, contact info for assessors, data on when different municipalities did property re-evaluations, etc.

Data visualization allows you to break down this information in detail, figure out what it is you are trying to decipher and in a way that appeals to everyone.

Top 3 PR Articles of the Week: Friday, May 23, 2014

As PR professionals, it’s typical that working with the media is in our job description. For some of us this might be a daily occurrence but for others, media interactions might be few and far between. Therefore, this week’s Top 3 PR Articles focus on the dos and don’ts of interacting with the media. (Actually, the ‘Shark Tank’ article isn’t necessarily about working with the media but I thought many of these ideas could pertain to pitching media stories). Enjoy!

12 most damaging things to say to a journalist Read>>>

Bulldog Reporter
Are We On the Record? 5 PR Tips to Avoid Journalism’s “Gotcha by Default” Trend Read>>>

4 communication lessons from ‘Shark Tank’ Read>>>

I know I’ve made some of these mistakes when dealing with journalists (especially my first couple of years working in PR). Anyone else?

Have a great Memorial Day weekend!

Kristin Rabas (@krabas)
Sr. Public Relations Advisor
Aurora Health Care

The Reinvention of the Business Journal

By Jeff Rumage

Every Friday, local business executives turn to the Milwaukee Business Journal for business leads, industry trends and information that will keep them ahead of the competition.

Mark Kass, the editor-in-chief of the Milwaukee Business Journal, talks about the paper's new layout and its web-first approach to breaking business news.

Mark Kass, the editor-in-chief of the Milwaukee Business Journal, talks about the paper’s new layout and its web-first approach to breaking business news.

But in a dynamic media environment, the weekly business publication decided about 10 months ago it needed to catch up to the pace of business by switching to a web-first newsroom – posting breaking news to the web and social media before worrying what the full print story will look like.

Breaking news on the Internet is hardly a new concept, but it is rare for publishers to change their print product as a result. The reinvented print edition complements the web edition, while also providing a different editorial experience with new sections and more in-depth coverage.

“If you follow us, you need to be in print and on web,” said Mark Kass, the editor-in-chief of the Milwaukee Business Journal. “Because if you’re not on the web you’re going to miss a lot of stuff.”

Kass outlined some of the changes during a PRSA luncheon on Feb. 19.

The first thing you will notice about the reinvented Business Journal is the cover story – usually a hot topic brought to life with a splashy headline, captivating photos and in-depth analytical coverage. Kass said he also likes to tease another seven to eight stories to give readers a sampling of what’s inside the cover.

Watch: Mark Kass Talks About Reinvented Business Journal

Another change to the paper is how the pages are sorted. They are no longer sorted by industry – they are sorted by the reporter who covers that beat. This gives the reader a more personal connection with the reporter, and also allows the Business Journal to hold up its reporters as the experts of their beat.

The Business Journal also added newer features to try to connect with its readers outside of traditional editorial sections. Like the Last Call page, which features restaurant news and other lifestyle features meant to reflect the “after work hours” of Milwaukee business executives. Another new page, called The Pitch, highlights the rise of entrepreneurism and start-up tech businesses in Milwaukee.

PR pros have an opportunity to pitch their clients in the new “executive profile” section, which is published in the print edition and with a short video on the Business Journal website.

The reinvention of the Business Journal means PR professionals now have two venues to monitor business news, as well as two venues to pitch their clients. If you are going to try to make the print edition, though, be sure to call a reporter before noon on Tuesday.


SEO and PR Working Together

Bill Finn of Finn Digital

At the last PRSA luncheon we had the great opportunity to hear from Bill Finn, founder and president of Finn Digital, LLC. He was incredibly engaging in explaining how SEO and PR are supposed to be the best of friends. Below is a Q&A with Bill about what PR professionals can do to enhance their SEO efforts.

Interview by Lynda Nicely.

PRSA: If organizations are starting from scratch on their SEO and PR efforts, what do you suggest be the first step for them take?

Bill Finn (BF): Understand your audience – it starts and ends there. Know what they’re searching on to find you. Then, align your keywords with your content, and determine what constitutes PR communication.

PRSA: How do you identify what keywords to use?

BF: Begin with the obvious: vertical market descriptors, product names, brand names. Then, use Google keyword tools to see how those fit into the larger landscape of what Google users are actually searching on. ‘Neighboring’ terms can provide ah-hah moments into more frequently searched keywords or relative keyword value.

PRSA: What are some of the tools in a PR pro’s arsenal that they may not be aware are there?

BF: At Finn Digital, we advocate the principle of “content-forward”. It advances the notion that the stories and value a PR pro needs to promote to the public already exist within the company entity. Real-life networking and investigative reporting within the corporation often yields surprisingly dynamic core messages and valuable stories.

PRSA: Clients and organizational management want measureable results. How would you suggest to measure ROI with SEO and PR initiatives?

BF: The greatest return is that PR impact can be measured at all, as easily as it is!

First, determine what online indicators represent value within the organization. If the indicators are user-action-driven, correlation with value return is more evident. If the goal is to drive awareness, for example, one measurable action might be viewing a video, subscribing to an RSS feed, clicking a ‘Learn More’ button, or sharing a particular article. SEO gets people to a website or online area. User experience design structures a given visit to a website, hopefully triggering action.

Both are indicators that can be benchmarked and continually monitored and adjusted to A/B test what factors influence your audience. Once an influencing factor is identified, that’s valuable in delivering more personal connections to your visitors and customers.

PRSA: People talk a lot about YouTube and videos going viral, how would you suggest using SEO for online video?

BF: Video produces dramatic results when it ‘goes viral’. However, ‘going viral’ means that the general internet public finds it appealing in some way (and sometimes, unintended ways).

Video can be tagged with keywords and linked back to your company or client website. Additionally, YouTube videos can contain link pop-ups at specific areas of content within a video.

One best practice is to embed your YouTube video directly in your website. The algorithms seem to treat this more valuably than if there’s simply a text link out to a YouTube video. All these links are ‘the juice’, that contributes to stronger search results for targeted keywords.

PRSA: Top 3 tips for pros to get the PR and SEO going hand in hand?

BF: Our top three items are 1) get a flip cam, interview thought leaders in your area of interest, and post to YouTube with relevant tags. 2) continually give away great (searched for) content on your blogs, podcasts and video.  3) Create a Facebook fan page and update with high interactivity items such as polls. Repurpose that content for your blog! Content and connectivity go hand-in-hand!

Be sure to check out Bill’s blog too. Lots of great information including video interviews of his chat with two Milwaukee journalists who are on the leading edge of social media. Alysha Schertz of the BizTimes of Milwaukee and Stan Miller of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel explain how they use social media in their reporting as well as what press releases stand out.

Breaking: Local journalist likes carrot cake

That’s one of the things we learned from Managing Editor Bobby Tanzilo at today’s PRSA luncheon.

Tanzilo sat on a panel of Milwaukee journalists including BizTimes reporter Alysha Schertz, The Business Journal Editor Mark Kass and WTMJ-TV Channel 4 anchor Susan Kim. After the event, Tanzilo tweeted about the cake served at the ballroom.

Of course, there were several other professional takeaways from how the journalists use social media — and interact with PR pros — as part of their daily work life. But the carrot cake tweet illustrated the group’s common theme that journalists are becoming more and more accessible because of social media.

Susan Kim said she likes tweeting while on the air because she can hear direct feedback from her viewers in real time and have a two-way conversation. Underscoring that point, Kim even tweeted and responded to people in the audience while on the panel.

In fact, the panelists agreed that they like getting story pitches in 140 characters because it forces the pitch to be direct and to the point — which is often preferable to getting stacks of long-winded press releases. But they emphasized building relationships before pitching, which is how they said PR professionals can find and cultivate opportunities using social media.

Schertz likened social media to a conversation at a party where business gets done, but not before getting to know one another first. Kim said she loves golf and made a connection with a PGA golfer by joking on Twitter about their shared last name. Kass said he is passionate about sports and talks about that on his account.

And that matters because it’s human nature to bond over shared interests — even over carrot cake.

-By Tim Cigelske, Marquette University Communication Specialist. You can follow Marquette on Twitter and be a fan on Facebook.

How Milwaukee journalists use social media

.. And what they need from PR pros

BizTimes Reporter

BizTimes Reporter Alysha J. Schertz

Join us Thursday, March 25, to hear from journalists actively using social media and digital tools to enhance their reporting. Our panel includes:

Susan Kim, anchor and reporter, WTMJ-TV Channel 4
Alysha Schertz, business reporter, Milwaukee BizTimes
Bobby Tanzilo, managing editor,
Mark Kass, editor, The Business Journal of Greater Milwaukee

It’s a new age for PR pros, journalists and editors. Social media enables us to communicate more quickly, relevantly than ever before, and those mediums offer new opportunities for us to become trusted sources.

But how do you appropriately forge a relationship via social media? What about pitches? Is a well-written alert or news release still necessary? Should you add video, photography, links with the story? Do they actively seek sources via social media that they don’t in other forums? Which social media outlets do they use?

Register for this session here.

Special Note: Two lucky meeting attendees will win a pair of round-trip tickets on AirTran Airways courtesy of AirTran.