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So What? How community powers public relations

So What? Marketing Analytics and Insights Live

airs every Thursday at 1 pm EST.

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In this week’s episode of So What? we focus on why public relations should work with communities. We walk through activating a community, extracting data for your pitch, and how public relations can use the information. Catch the replay here:

So What? How community powers public relations


In this episode you’ll learn: 

  • what public relations can learn from an active community
  • how to extract data points for your pitch
  • a case study walk-through

Upcoming Episodes:

  • TBD


Have a question or topic you’d like to see us cover? Reach out here:

AI-Generated Transcript:

Katie Robbert 0:27
Well, hello everyone. Happy Thursday. Welcome to so what the marketing analytics and insights live show I am Katie joined by Chris and John. Hi fellows. This week, we are talking about something that’s really interesting that, you know, Chris has been working on outside of Trust Insights. But it seemed like a really good opportunity just to sort of walk through what it is and how it relates to marketers in general, because it is a really interesting use case for some of the tools that we use and methodologies. So today, we’ll be covering how community powers public relations. So John, have you been keeping up at all with the work that Chris has been doing? For a Netflix show?

John Wall 1:16
Yeah, we did talk a little bit about that this Warrior Nun, thing I do. I’ve heard some insane stories about him deploying drones in urban areas. So I’m basically expecting the feds come knocking any moment.

Katie Robbert 1:28
Well, ahead of that, Chris, do you want to just start a walk us through sort of the origin story of how you got involved, and then we can sort of move into the pieces that offense later? Well, the pieces that are more relevant in terms of like what public relations can learn from an active community, how to extract the data points for your pitch, and the case study, which is what we’re talking about.

Christopher Penn 1:51
Exactly. So this all started about almost three weeks ago, now, when a friend of a friend said, Hey, I’m, I’m with this group of folks that are trying to get persuade Netflix to renew to create season three of this show Warrior Nun. And the initial ask was really small, like, Hey, we’ve got some Twitter data, but we’re not sure how to how to how to make it a little more granular and easy to work with, is that something that you would know how to do, like, Sure, probably. So I started chatting with these folks looking around at what they had, and what they were planning on doing and what they were doing already, it was actually pretty impressive. Just to give you a sense of what the general gist of the campaign was, and is because it’s ongoing, is the fans of this show, have decided to wage a campaign on predominantly social media, saying, hey, we want to draw attention to this to try and get attention from Netflix and folks, that this show is worth bringing back that it’s you know, there’s an audience for it, that there’s a there’s a social aspects to it in terms of representation of, of certain minorities within society, and that it’s just good entertainment. And so the campaign is essentially every day, a group of folks gets together with some sort of catchphrase along with a hashtag and tweets about it, and uses that as a way to try and broaden awareness, create engagement, and ultimately, hopefully, persuade people at Netflix to, to do the thing to agree to produce season three. So when I got involved, the data that we initially had, that was there was mostly just Twitter data. It was collected Twitter data. And the challenge that the folks were having was that they were actually so successful, that traditional methods of collecting Twitter data stopped working. When you try, one of the things that’s that’s funky about Twitter, especially now, with all the changes in the in management and the backend systems, is that there are limits as to how much data you can get from Twitter itself without, you know, the super big enterprise subscription. Some of the days of these campaigns, you’re talking 50 6070 80,000 tweets per hour. And the API limits are pretty strict. Like they say that you can’t pull more than 50,000 tweets per day, is his limitation. So knowing that, that’s outside the scope of what a vault an all volunteer group of folks can do. I said, Well, how about we start looking at some of the other data sources that we can bring in? That can help answer these questions. The first one that comes to mind, of course, is our friends and colleagues over Talkwalker. They do have the super ultra big subscription to Twitter. So being able to put in each of these phrases and essentially extract your data counts that way, was a simple way to start getting them the useful insights that they wanted. But the challenge with Talkwalker is that it’s built in interface can only handle so many queries at the same time. So the first thing that we said was, well, what if we just create some custom code to extract out the data from Talkwalker and visualize it, right. And so you end up with these, with a much bigger picture, you’ll hunt the hundreds of 1000s of tweets per year, these individual things, this is a great way to easily visualize, hey, this campaign has, has some attention. It also is a free straightforward way to to look at the big picture, right. So from the very beginning of the cancellation was on December 13. And so you’re talking on a day to day basis, you’re talking anywhere from 300,000 to averaging about 100 150,000 tweets per day of this fanbase over the span of now, more than a month. This is as of like, 6am this morning. So today’s numbers are not baked in here. But from a, an analytics perspective, even just having this level of visibility into your campaign helps make it easy to make decisions like is what we’re doing working.

Katie Robbert 6:07
So, you know, it’s interesting, because, you know, anybody can activate a fan base, you know, I could, I mean, look at all the political communities for lack of a better term, you know, people can activate them to say, hey, everybody needs to get on social media, and start talking about this thing, so that it’s basically flooding timelines, and you get ignored. You know, this isn’t nearly as extreme, but it sounds like the goal was, hey, so we’re really upset that Netflix canceled this show. So let’s go ahead and let people know, hopefully getting the attention of Netflix and maybe you know, some of the production team. So it sounds like that’s where it started.

Christopher Penn 6:50
That’s where it started. And the production team, particularly the show runners, and some of the even the cast and crew picked up on it, they they reshard and stuff like that. And around the same time. There’s, there’s like three or four different large groups independently operating to just support the show. The group that I’m in is a relatively small, it’s about 60 ish people that have a lot of reach and a lot of influence. So there’s definitely an influencer management portion of this. Now, one of the things that they wanted was also, and they did this stand up a GoFundMe to buy a billboard, right, because in in previous campaigns, like, back in the day, Lucifer, sensate and a few other campaigns, that was something that was fairly attention getting so they had also stood up a campaign to do that, and put up a petition over unchanged up work for people to be able to sign in, which has now gotten like 110,000 signatures from all but 13 nations on the planet. There’s only 13 countries, there’s at least one second, I found it especially amusing that there were three signatures from Vatican City.

Katie Robbert 7:53
Although, you know, so if you haven’t watched the show, it’s a sci fi s show where Long story short, a woman takes on the, for lack of better term super powers of a superhero. But it’s all sort of based around this convent who is protecting, you know, certain, you know, protecting the world from demons, essentially. And a lot of it takes place in Vatican City. So that makes sense that there would be some kind of a fan base there.

Christopher Penn 8:23
Exactly. But it is amusing to think that at least somebody there is going Hmm, it wasn’t me, it’s just worth watching. So that was where things initially started. And then as momentum picked up as various people started, the volume was loud enough people start taking notice. That’s when the organizing team said, what else can we do? Like it’s great to tweet a lot. And there’s certainly value to that. But what else could we talk about? What else could we show? That would be proof points that the the cause itself, the or the petition is a valid one. And now we’re starting to get into areas where you really do need some advanced analytics, because you’re now starting to sew together different data. So in one of the one of the things that we came up with, as an idea was, well, what if we assemble a pitch deck? Right that because one of the things that the campaign has talked about is what about trying to pitch the show to other services? Besides Netflix, there’s there are a whole bunch of legal and contract technical things that go with it, but just the concept. And so we all put our heads together and on the data analysis team, I think is about five or six people on the data analysis team, of which I’m one of them. I’m not the team lead, said well, what could we come up with what could we think up? And I pulled out a framework from Sequoia Sequoia Capital, which, you know, for addressable markets, obtainable markets and all that stuff. And we basically revise that To turn it into a five part pitch deck saying, here’s, here’s what social media proves, right? You can mobilize a group of people, here’s what media coverage proves that you can get broader attention than just the fan base. Here’s what search data proves that you can see what people are really thinking, here’s the content quality. And then here’s what’s in it for you. So, you know, I’m not gonna read through this whole whole pitch deck, because nobody wants to sit through that. But some of the things that I thought were very interesting was, when we looked at forecast a search like this is using Trust Insights stuff. So one of the things we do at Trust Insights is we do predictive forecasting of keyword data for SEO. So I said, let’s take all the terms associated with the show, Warrior Nun, stream Warrior, Nun, Warrior Nun on Netflix, and so on and so forth. bundled them together, take that search volume, and then put it into our predictive analytics tool, run a forecast, what does it look like? What we found was that since the show’s debut back in 2018, the fan base is steadily growing. And when we use the same forecasting software to look ahead, the base continues to grow into 2024. Even though at the time that this forecast was done, the show had been canceled have been publicized for several weeks, because I joined the campaign like three and a half weeks in. So even though people know it’s a canceled show, there’s still Search interest in it. And so it’s a pitch point to say to potential investor, hey, if you pick this thing up, you’ve got a built in audience of people who are looking for it, they act, they know it, there’s brand awareness. And then and it’s a growing trajectory.

Katie Robbert 11:32
What’s interesting, and this is more of a rhetorical question is how Netflix picks and choose what to promote. So there are certain shows, you know, like I think Wednesday came out a few months ago, and they put a lot of heavy promotion behind that show. Whereas I don’t believe they put the same amount of effort into this show Warrior Nun. And so then they’re sort of making decisions based on things that are apples and oranges. Like they put a lot of heavy money into one show, but nothing into the other. And then when people have never heard of it, they’re like, Oh, well, I guess we’ll just cancel it like that, to me. When I think about, you know, marketing in general, and sort of the advice that we give to our clients, like, you have to factor those pieces in. And to me, that’s what’s not here.

Christopher Penn 12:24
That’s correct. In fact, for season two of the show, which was the most recent season, the promotional budget was approximately zero. Netflix, I think, did one, like video interview and put it on YouTube and just sort of let it languish there. And that was it compared to, for example, bus wraps and billboards and your traditional promotional services. So the show definitely did not benefit from any kind of marketing.

Katie Robbert 12:49
Well, even just the way that Netflix will promote things on their own social channels. They only they only tend to promote like a handful of TV shows and movie and I don’t recall this being one of them.

Christopher Penn 13:02
And the first season launched, you know, it was sort of a pandemic in the way and a variety of other things. So there’s definitely some, some complicating factors. What has started to happen, though, is, you know, we basically turn this pitch deck into a YouTube video, we got some. And because of the generosity of some data partners, in particular parent analytics, they were able to send along competing data to say like, here’s what we see in our system over over 90 days, in demand top 10. And it’s interesting, on a on a promotional budget of zero, the show is consistently within the top 10. And has held that in terms of demand position, since the second season aired. And in fact, it’s very interesting. There was a Post this morning in the discord server, that we’re all in that, as of today. It’s the number three most in demand show on Netflix, worldwide, which is like hmm, that’s that’s kind of fun for a show that’s been canceled. And that has had no promotional budget besides what the fan base does. We wanted to look also one of the challenges about with Netflix is that Netflix has is notoriously closed mouth about all their data, but beyond what they report to the street. They don’t make their data public. So companies like parrot analytics have to do imputed measures of demand of things. And then you can actually see their methodology, which I think is very smart on their website, if they learn from her analytics listening. Let’s let’s do coffee some time. I have questions. Good questions. Good question. Question. Good questions. But one of the things you said was, well, what if we did apples? What could we get apples to apples comparison? And so this is something that we talk about a lot with our clients, with our prospective clients with with the general public is you need some kind of data to work with and if you can’t get from primary data source, where else can you get it? So one of the sources we looked at was IMDB. So um the Internet Movie Database IMDb has a catalogue of I feel like hundreds of 1000s of movies and TV shows. And every show that’s in there has ratings and votes by episode. So if we were to take into account you know, the first two seasons of a series of Netflix shows, how would warrior nuns ratings look on a volume basis? And what we see is that the first season did okay, it was in the sevens decently what kind of quartz was toward the bottom of the balance this dataset? And if you watched the show, yeah, that those first five episodes need a little help. So we looked at 13 reasons why Bridgette, and Lucifer and Stranger Things these, these five shows their first two seasons, the IMDB ratings, and the look at season two. And what we see as the show itself went from bottom of the barrel, essentially, to second right behind Stranger Things in terms of the number of the average ratings on IMDb, which shows that from a an audience perspective, the audience thought the quality was there. And then this is where we start getting into things interesting. We can’t get Netflix viewing data. But we absolutely can get the number of votes per show from IMDB. And what I find fascinating about this is that when you have the number of votes per show, you can is a decent proxy for viewership, right? Because if if a gazillion people watch Stranger Things, some percentage of those people are going to go and vote for the show on IMDb, the word there’s no call to action, right? You don’t there’s nothing in the Netflix app that says hey, when you’re watching the show, go go leave a thumbs up on on IMDb, nobody does that. So it’s only that community that is very interested in in TV and movies being in there that would do this. And so we see again, these five shows. If you’re inferring viewership numbers, you see the viewership numbers were kind of kind of weak in in season one right second from the bottom there with the bottom being bridgerton. And then by the time the second season ended it the show from a viewership inferred basis is second only Stranger Things. We did not have Wednesday in here because that Wednesday is only had one season. But that’s a pretty big difference. In Now granted, nothing’s going to touch Stranger Things for a while Netflix, like sells children that sells like their firstborn children to promote that show. But on a on an inferred traffic basis. This is a pretty interesting indicator that the audience the viewership audience is there. And again, we don’t know what’s happening inside Netflix. But this, this tells an interesting story.

Katie Robbert 17:37
Why did you choose those particular shows because I can see where the audience overlaps for some of them. But bridgerton is the one to me that kind of stands out as the odd duck. In terms of the content and the potential demographic

Christopher Penn 17:59
at the time it was because those are the first ones that were in my recommended list. Netflix

John Wall 18:05
flicks specific right and two seasons plus also right,

Christopher Penn 18:08
yeah, two seasons plus. But more than anything was just as a measure convenience, I opened up Netflix and to see like what else was in my recommended list?

Katie Robbert 18:16
Okay, I guess so like if I was if someone was handing me to Stata, that would be my first question is, well, I don’t necessarily see some of these as comparable series, for example, again, sort of going into content demographics, the amount of promotion they put behind these things. You know, so that would be my first feedback piece of feedback. If someone gave this to me say now you need to make a decision, I’d say, Well, I can’t. This is an apples to apples stuff.

Christopher Penn 18:48
Exactly. And and that’s fair. So and one of the things that we did later on, was looking at a bigger basket of shows to this was what was in the pitch deck when we made it like two weeks ago now. So this is this is a little bit aged. But he has this absolutely valid in terms of Well, what else could we do? This was just a first cut. And then the last thing we wanted to tackle was the value of the Fandom. And so this is where data from StackAdapt, which is a partner that we’ve worked with for a very long time has come in to play looking at what is the audience worth, right, so like the Netflix audience as a whole, there’s actually a segment in StackAdapt, and many of these third display advertising systems that says if you want to reach this audience, here’s what they’re worth. And we were able to come up with some some numbers that basically says is a very valuable audience. From a, a story perspective, the team was able to take all this analysis atomize into different social posts and get that circulated particularly to journalists, certainly to socialize the individual pieces. We turned this into a YouTube video that got circulated as well, and it created a enough moment mentum that trade publications started picking up the story, right? collider, screen rat and a few others have started picking up the general story that this Fandom was active, Fandom was interested, the Fandom was extremely vocal, and had credible data driven points to make that the show probably was cancelled when there were other shows of questionable quality that got renewed. A couple of reality shows that people like we’re not really sure why people watch this.

Katie Robbert 20:34
Look at it, you love Ireland.

Christopher Penn 20:42
So, the immediate easy wins for this were the, you know, the just the reporting itself, just helping the team understand what’s going on. But then one of the things that we started doing was taking the data itself and slicing it up. So if you look at what comes out of Twitter bios, in particular, people list other social media profiles and like, Hey, I’m this on Tiktok. I’m on this on Instagram. And so taking all the people who are participating, but 10s of 1000s of people and pulling their their bio data and saying, hey, now here’s the outreach list. If we want this to spread on Instagram, this is these are the people to talk to, because they’re already using the hashtag on Twitter, easy win. If they’re already in your camp in one network, get them to help spread the word and another knows YouTubers, Tiktok, and so on and so forth to get the word spreading the pitch deck around, and then this should be a surprise to absolutely no one that one of the first questions asked early on was so what are we doing with email? And it was sort of a question. We’re not sure. Not sure what to do about it says, Well, let’s start a substack. Because substack is one of those vendors that allows you to get an email newsletter up and running relatively quickly. And the big question people have had is, what do we put in the newsletter? Because if we want this thing to be important. And what we did was it Okay, well, we can take this data, because Talkwalker is super easy to work with it export the each day’s data. And that goes into newsletters saying here’s how things are going. And so for fans, who are we’re potentially people interested in the campaign, this is what you get every single day. And it is, within a week of putting up we had almost 400 subscribers, which is terrific for particularly for how things like Twitter work. But here’s where things got interesting. And this is a tenant of public relations. It’s like, you remember the one red paperclip story. John, does Johnny want to be Catherine? Okay.

John Wall 22:42
So the idea is that there was this, you know, early influencer, who had one red paperclip and traded it to some sucker for two broken corks. And you know, within three months, they traded it for a house, you know, they were able to like swap two cars, two cars for a house. So the idea is if you can just get it rolling, there’s enough people out there, you’ll always find the next sucker.

Christopher Penn 23:08
Or in this case, with public relations with news media, in particular, news, media tends to be fairly risk averse. And understanding the media model that most publications work on is they get paid on views, right, they most media publications are ad driven, ad supported. So they are they get paid on views. So a news publication will generally not cover a story if they don’t think it’s going to get them views, because they’re going to spend time on stuff that’ll put money in the bank. However, when you start with smaller trade publications, they may not necessarily make their money that way, or they may make it you know, they may just earn more from from niche audiences. So if you can get into trade publications, you can then use that as social proof when you’re pitching to other publications. Hey, collider, pick this up. Alright, here’s the link, you know, do you want to cover this story too. And this group has an entire outreach team about 10 people doing public relations outreach. Once you start getting any traction, you leverage that you keep trading up influence and importance in it until you get to a point where bigger publications have to pick you up. And so after about about a week and a half of identifying influencers and doing the outreach and providing data to power a lot of these things. We got into publications like IGN, right, which is a gaming publication. And then that turns into more industry publications like me that trends in publications like hello magazine, and ultimately turns into think publications like Time Magazine, right, where the actual, the actual campaign itself is, is being picked up and individuals from the campaign are being cited and that moves into things like Forbes right and Investor’s Business Daily Business Insider. So these are all tier one publications from the campaign itself. So this is the this is one of the better outcomes for the campaign to say Hang on essentially, very, very little budget, can we can we get attention. And it culminated, finally, with the the purchase of the Billboard itself, I’m gonna see if we have a actually, I know we have images up here somewhere. But the team very, very cleverly bought a billboard, in Los Angeles. And it was in Los Angeles, the corner of sunset and Van Ness, which if you know, Los Angeles at all, is right across the street from Netflix studios. So the folks who are responsible for canceling the show, get to look at this billboard for four weeks. And this of course, then sparked a whole new round of coverage, right? Again, more publications picking up the story. There are several 100 of people who are in this Fandom, who are driving and flying out to take photos and party at this thing, I guess, presumably, you from a distance safely, not trespassing flip Netflix, the bird, because there’s offices right across the street. But it’s funny, when you look at a map of where this is located, every employee of Netflix in that building and in the Burbank studios building, which was adjacent to it have to pass by this to get on the highway to go home. So

Katie Robbert 26:25
so, you know, it makes me think in my very, very short tenure working at a PR agency, you know, you said something that resonates with me it was one of the things that I picked up is that you are going to find more success, starting with the smaller trade publications than you are going after the Time Magazine’s right out of the gate. And that’s for a couple of reasons. One is it’s going to be yes, it’s going to be smaller, but it’s going to be the right audience right away. And then to, you know, you’re going to have that proof point of yes, we can get coverage of this thing to people who care. Now, what do we do with it? And so, when I’m thinking about, you know, what public relations can learn, or can take from activated community, you know, you’ve covered a lot of different reasons why public relations, professionals should be working with very specific communities on the topics that they’re trying to get, you know, coverage for.

Christopher Penn 27:24
Exactly. And here’s one of the the neat little things we do particularly in the newsletter, The Daily Newsletter, obviously features, you know, some social stuff, it has shots, but then we put the coverage in the newsletter and remind people, if we want people to cover the story, they’ve got to see traffic, if they intend to get traffic, you got to click on these links, you got to visit these links. You don’t have to sit there and read every story, you know, top to bottom, but you at least got to register a page view so that these media outlets know that. And this is a message that we’ve shared on on social media as well. Don’t just share the link, you got to click on the link so that a publication says Wow, this story got 100,000 views. Gosh, maybe we should do another story on it. See if we continue to get audience on it. As of last week, one of the things that Talkwalker does is that they’ve partnered with SEMrush to bring in more accurate page view data on stories because they were previously using a different vendor that that was a little on the wildly inaccurate side. The software and the system is much better. Now. This story, this overall campaign and all the coverage has done so far has accrued 1.2 billion page views. Right, which is why we’re seeing Time Magazine and Investor’s Business Daily and stuff coming up because everyone’s like, wow, we want some of that traffic to.

Katie Robbert 28:50
So as so let’s say, you know, your public relations professional, and someone comes to you and says, you know, my client needs you to get you know, a hit, you know, coverage, a placement, a byline, anything for Warrior Nun. You know, I you know, the show was canceled. I think there’s a community as the public relations professional, what’s the first thing I need to do?

Christopher Penn 29:19
The first question I asked was, tell me about this community. Tell me how large they are, how motivated they are. And if there’s anyone directing the efforts, right, if there’s anyone that has galvanized unity, because what powers this campaign is the community, all the data and the analytics and the cool stuff that we can do? Doesn’t matter if nobody takes action on it. And one of the most valuable things that I’ve seen this community do is particularly in the discord server, a folks listen to each other, which is nice and be people take action on the data. When I hand over a list Have influencers the outreach team goes and does the thing. I mean, you and I have Katie, we’ve talked to clients, we will provide them actionable data, and it just sits in a binder and never goes anywhere. This group of folks says it was this day to do, what do you want us to do? We’re gonna go do it. And then they jokingly call themselves the hamsters, they literally just go off and they do the thing. And you see the results. You see the results, because people are taking action on the data. So if you’re a public relations person, you first say, Okay, is there a community? And if there isn’t, you need to build on it. Because one of the challenges I think that a lot of public relations folks run into and maybe don’t even fully understand themselves is, if you don’t have that community, you can’t do anything, right? If it’s just the company saying, Hey, we’re going to hand you a pile of money, make news. News has needs to have an audience. And in order for it, to have an audience, you need to get people involved. And if there’s no community, you’re in trouble. When you look at, for example, at the analytics for marketers, Slack community that we run, there’s over 3000 people that now are all 3000 people active all the time, no. But when we ask people to do stuff, we get a decent number of people to do something. And so this community provides support. In this case, the Save Warrior Nun campaign has a community of 10s of 1000s of people. So as a PR person, I’d be like, This is awesome. As an orchestra of 50,000 people, what can I do with an orchestra of 50,000 people? That is the first question. The second question is, what’s the story? What is story because getting a show to pick up a network to pick up a show? In and of itself? That’s not really a story, right? But it turns out, there’s two different stories embedded in this campaign that are both newsworthy and that both people that that group, vast journalistic outlets want to pick up one. There’s a representation story, right? So for folks who are on social issues, the fact that more queer shows get seem to get cancelled by Netflix, the non queer shows and a question about why that seems to happen when the data supports that the queer shows are doing as well or better than their peers. So that’s aspect number one. But aspect number two. And this is something that is being picked up by a lot of the business press is, is definitely lying about their data, right? When they’re presenting things to the street stuff, because again, they’re very close lipped about everything. But when we start to shine a light on Well, if we do an apples to apples comparison with shows and IMDb, when we look at known budgets, their their website, movie, web publishes, budgets from the production of different shows, and you look at this and go, what’s going on. And then the the new CEO of Netflix, stuck his foot in his mouth the other day. And when he made the very, when asked in a interview, like why these fans of these various shows are protesting, he just goes, Netflix has never cancelled a successful show. And digging into the data, digging into all the sources, we have access to looking at services like parent analytics, we’re going well, that doesn’t seem to quite be true. So now the Press campaign has evolved, because people want to take a shot at the reigning champ on the throne. A lot of the story is grown another angle. So as a public relations person, you definitely want to be looking okay, what are the angles in the story that we can run with? And then what is put what could potentially come out of this that we didn’t even anticipate and are we positioned to make use of that. And that’s where, again, having this, this army of activists, when a story angle comes out, you feed it to the arm and say, go take this story and run with it, share it, click on it, make sure it goes in newsletters and things. And so this is whole orchestration of a campaign powered by a community. That to me is it should be the future of public relations. If you want to get success. If you want to hit those tier one publications, you want big stories and big news. Having that community as part of your campaign is indispensable.

Katie Robbert 34:25
It’s interesting, because, you know, it sounds like you know, if you swap out the term community for audience research, you know, the first thing that you as the public relations person should be doing is, who is the audience, you know, who cares about this thing? And, you know, you may find, you know, nobody does, it really depends on who it is you’re working for. So let’s say you’re working for Dyson vacuums, for example, you may find that there’s a very small but particular fan base who could be you know, advocates and loyalists, because, you know, certain brands have people who swear by them, you know, so finding those people first and then starting to rally look like, Hey, I’m writing a story about this, because you like, you know, talk about it, making sure that you these people are featured, because then they will then likely share the information. You know, I admittedly am not a public relations person. And so I really have no business speaking about how traditional public relations should work. But to me, it sounds like if you’re trying to activate a community, to help get messaging out to help share information, news stories to help, you know, make change, like, you could say, that’s public relations, you could say that’s community activism, you could say, that’s marketing. That’s just communications. And so it sounds like it all comes down to who’s the audience and what do they care about?

Christopher Penn 35:54
Exactly. And one of the things that happens internally with this campaign that has been a useful way to sort of get people on the same page is data sharing, you know, so part of the scripts that I wrote to process, the data also just pushes the data straight into, you know, in this case, a Google sheet because it’s accessible to people. So this is anytime that the code itself runs, it gets pushed into the sheet. And then anybody who’s in the campaign has access to this, they can download it, you know, they change it to it gets overwritten the next time that this happens. And so everyone’s working from the same data set, everyone’s working from the Okay, well, here’s the numbers from, in this case, Talkwalker. Here’s new stories and the URLs and stuff in the scoring for a page using things. All this helps to the data helps to unify people and provide a sort of consistency towards the messaging. If you were to flip this around to the other side to the other angle, let’s say you are the head of public relations at Netflix, and literally everything is on fire, which has been the case for about three weeks now. What’s the number one thing that you would do to to put this fire out, but the easiest thing you could do, if if you had the approval, the powers that be share the data, say local, here’s the criteria, here’s how we make decisions. Here’s the data, you know, that that that shows why this happened, why this has not happened. And hey, here’s the data and the benchmarks that you would need to hit for us to say, Yeah, we will do a third season and you need to hit these these benchmarks to give people goals. And if they hit those goals, then great, you will be partnering with the community, rather than opposing it, as opposed to what the CEO had said in the press. Katie, now you’re talking about so we’re gonna be talking about this on Mondays podcast, a statement that says, Oh, well, we bid, you know, 70%, we do his gut instinct, and we just look at the data to confirm our decisions, like, well, that’s not how data works.

Katie Robbert 37:53
What do you think, John, you’re gonna start your career in public relations now?

John Wall 37:57
No, I’m going to start my own network. And I’ve got season three of Warrior Nun leading off you other things, it’s just amazing, because there’s so many levers over there at Netflix, and I can understand why they don’t share the data. Because there’s been such a sea change, you know, with network television, it was very simple, you would do a show. And then there were all these syndication rules about where the money goes, and who gets what. And that was completely wiped out by streaming, you know, so now, there’s definitely incentive for them also not to share the data, you know, having to deal with shows that, you know, what did they cancel on? Why did they do it? I’m sure they still are not going to tell us why it happened. So, but I’m looking forward to see how this goes. You know, the one thing is, it’s so random. It’s just like you were Katie, talking this week about changing cable providers. It’s that kind of situation, this show is actually more valuable to another network now, because they could they could pick it off and get new subscribers out of it. Yeah, that gives them some value that other networks don’t get. So it’d be really interesting to see if somebody else picks this up and where it goes, because it’s yeah, it’s a hot topic, and there’s some buzz minded.

Christopher Penn 39:06
Exactly. So to kind of bundle this all together, everything that we’ve done, and and my contributions to the campaign have been around what we call the five P’s right, the purpose people process platform performance, the purpose was clear and was set off by the campaign. The moment that I walked in the door, there was no question about the clarity of purpose. We want season three of Warrior Nun, right. clear purpose, unambiguous. Not much of a user story to pick up because it’s super easy, right? The campaign already had the people, the community was there, the community was strong, and as a public relations professional to be looking for those people. There was a little bit of process but not a ton. And so a lot of the code a lot of the custom code that we’ve written and the data we’ve provided stuff can help was helping us to help fuel some of the processes like the outreach teams and stuff they’ve done. If we have, you know, tons of data to work with, they have, and they have processes in place for doing outreach, for doing gift baskets for putting up billboards and things like that. And one of the bigger gaps was platform not having access to a Talkwalker, or apparent analytics or a brand 24 or StackAdapt. So this is something we’re able to provide that, again, a public relations, hopefully, like a firm or an agency would have some of those tools to provide to the community, to the community, to help the community become stronger. And that’s a vitally important twist in this. And PR firms used to operate in a bubble, they just do their thing, they talk to the client, if there’s a community involved, your best bet is not to worry so much about the journalists have fun, but strengthen the community give the community the raw data, you know, we can see the raw data here, here’s the data, here’s the information, here’s the stuff that the community can then run with, and figure out how to tell the stories that they want to tell. So they freeze the community to tell more stories. And of course, we have the performance measures, which is things like tier one coverage in the case of public relations, and whatever happens with the show. We have seen people from other franchises, pitching in as well and stuff on whether the current cast members from Lucifer was sharing the campaign and stuff. So there’s there’s a lot of good milestones along the way. But the five p framework is what a PR person should be looking at to say, Okay, do we have the pieces necessary for a successful campaign. And if you don’t have all five pieces, your campaigns not going to do? Well.

Katie Robbert 41:38
I think that makes sense. I mean, it’s comes down to doing all of your research ahead of time, so that you know what you’re working with and what you can expect. That’s really the bottom line.

Christopher Penn 41:48
Exactly. And for working with communities in PR, you need to have people who are skilled at that. Most PR people are skilled at working with the client, right? The person who signs the checks the head of comms, whatever, and they’re used to talking to suits, right. When you’re working with the community, particularly, especially in B2C B2B, to B2C especially, you got to have people who are skilled at working with rowdy groups of folks that will get things done, that are passionate or engaged, but you got to know how to talk to them, you got to know how to integrate with them. And you cannot tell them what to do because they don’t work for you.

Katie Robbert 42:32
Well, and I feel like we covered this on a different episode. But you can’t just drop into any old community, especially the private communities, and start making demands of them and start asking for things that you need. It’s just not the culture of, you know, these private communities like a Slack or discord or, you know, a mastodon, or even Reddit, which is public. You know, there are certain cultures, you know, cultural rules and guidelines that you as the outsider have to abide by. So even if you are identifying a community, you may not be able to get access to that community, because you are seen as an outsider, you know, I can’t just drop into, you know, even though I’ve watched the show, I can’t just drop into the Warrior Nun community and say, Hey, I’m here. Like, let’s start doing things like Who who are you?

Christopher Penn 43:20
Exactly? Slow your roll. But no, and I think, for public relations, part of what that industry has to get their heads around is community management, and community relations. It’s ironic, because it’s literally in the name, public relations, how you relate to the public, but very often, a lot of folks in that industry are more used to media relations, as opposed to the general public. And yet, what we’ve seen with this campaign, is that when you involve the public, you can get some pretty spectacular results.

Katie Robbert 43:57
Have you seen the show, John?

John Wall 44:00
I have not no. So this is, you know, my TV viewing is greatly limited. So I have to be a little more picky. I have. I’m nearly done with season three of Stranger Things, actually. So I’m at the top of the list.

Katie Robbert 44:15
It sounds like you need to add this one to your list as well.

Christopher Penn 44:18
Children very gory.

John Wall 44:20
Yeah, that is the other thing it makes a little more challenging if it’s not kid friendly. But and this is another one too, comic book crossover, too. You know, we just see this over and over again, it’s this kind of content. They’re proven stories, they fly. There’s no reason not to be doing them. Exactly.

Katie Robbert 44:38
All right. Well, I feel ready to take on a community. Not really bad idea.

Christopher Penn 44:46
It would be it certainly would be interesting. But I think again, there’s a lot of lessons in here for public relations for marketers, on how do you how do you work with a passionate community to achieve your campaign goals and I think If folks take the time to learn how they will be dramatically more successful, particularly on on a very small budgets, then the way public relations has been going the last last five or six years. PR has not adapted fast enough to the way communities operate now, and if you’re good at it, success is within your reach. So, any final parting words before we close out?

John Wall 45:28
Save Warrior Nun. That’s it.

Christopher Penn 45:33
Folks, take care. We’ll talk to you next time. Thanks for watching today. Be sure to subscribe to our show wherever you’re watching it. For more resources. And to learn more, check out the Trust Insights podcast at trust AI podcast, and a weekly email newsletter at trust Got questions about what you saw in today’s episode? Join our free analytics for markers slack group at trust for marketers, see you next time.

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