Your Guide to Our March Issue on Influence: What Makes People Act and How Do You Measure It?

The Paine of Measurement

Hello PR and Measurement Pros,

What makes people act? Countless words have been written in hopes of answering that question, from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to endless books on fear as a motivator. As communications professionals, we can only control a tiny amount of what our target audience is experiencing.

I’ve found that in general, communications is most persuasive if it:

  1. Comes from a credible, trustworthy source,
  2. Answers a need or a want that the target audience has, and
  3. Plays off and potentially resolves an inherent fear or concern.

The problem is that today:

  1. It’s getting harder and harder to find credible sources,
  2. Target audiences are so segmented that it’s hard to connect the right message to the right audience, and
  3. People’s fears are so pervasive and broad, that it’s hard to find anything to assuage them.

Which is why we’re devoting this entire issue to digging into the concept of influence—specifically, how to get it, use it, and measure it.

First a bit of clarity about the difference between earned influence and “influencer marketing.” The first is what public relations professionals have been trying to do since the days of Sherman Morse  and Edward Bernays. It involves the forging of relationships with people who can change the minds of your stakeholders—be it a specific editor, reporter, blogger, expert, or legislator.

Blogs and social media have now pushed out much of what we call “traditional media.” Many of the experts who primarily use social media are willing to be paid to say nice things about your products. Which is how influencer marketing took off. It has ballooned into a multi-billion-dollar business.

Since many of those dollars were moved out of advertising into influencer and content marketing, the folks in public relations didn’t seem to notice at first. Today, however, the lines between earned and paid are a lot blurrier, with many traditional PR agencies following the dollars into the paid influencer model.

We can’t unblur the lines, but for the purposes of this issue, we will treat the two as separate functions with very different metrics and benchmarks:

Measure on!


About Author

Katie Paine

I've been called The Queen Of Measurement, but I prefer Seshat, the Goddess.