Many of the community of public relations bloggers will know Sarah Wurrey, Managing Editor of Media Bullseye and account manager for CustomScoop, from PR Blog Jots, a daily list of the best of the PR Blog posts. You might also know her from Twitter, where she is a regular contributor.
I am increasingly interested in how companies build relationships with their stakeholders and become more than a mouthpiece shouting messages. Thinking of who I know that is doing a great job of this, Chip Griffin, the CEO of Custom Scoop, and Sarah Wurrey came to mind. Having a community liaison, like Sarah, is one of the more direct ways to build long-term relationships with those that are most important to your business.
Since Custom Scoop is a media monitoring service that also specializes in blog monitoring, building content and for public relations bloggers and influencers is exactly the kind of engagement that works.
In the past few weeks, Chip has spread this concept to his Media Bullseye concept. Media Bullseye is media property that reminds me of Bulldog Reporter in its editorial mission. But having the human face of Sarah performing community relations gives it a little extra push.
Here is an interview I conducted via Facebook with Sarah.
Tell me a little about Custom Scoop's strategy for engaging in social media?
Sarah Wurrey: Our engagement in social media started up in force [last] this year…With the addition of our social media monitoring element here at CustomScoop, we decided that engaging with the social media community to spread the word was a good strategy.
I was also always “into” social media on a personal level, so I volunteered to start going to Social Media Club events, writing for the CustomScoop blog, writing PR Blog Jots, and trying my best to get to know as many PR bloggers as I could.
I spent the first half of the year just trying to engage people through their blogs by linking them on ours, leaving comments, trying to write posts that built on memes, etc. I got to know a bunch people this way, but it wasn't until I joined Twitter in July that we really saw our engagement efforts start to take off. Between engaging on Twitter and showing up to as many events and Tweetups as I could, I think we've established a good presence and reputation with the PR blogging community.
So your strategy was twofold, in person events and online engagement and linking? Why do you think that Twitter fueled the response?
Sarah Wurrey: Yes, and I've found the in person stuff to be essential, I'm a big proponent of all social media meetups, from the formal events to the casual tweetups. When you form a real relationship with someone offline, it makes it easier to engage with them online. Simple concept, but I'd bet some people forget that aspect.
As for Twitter, I think that's relationship-building too. I try to respond every time someone responds to me, and engage in conversation. And the in-person friendships make Twitter valuable to me too, because it increases the conversation aspect, and when other people see someone sending me an @ reply about something I've said or written, they might be tempted to go and check it out, or follow me, even if they didn't before….The highest referrer to Media Bullseye in these early days, for example, has been Twitter.
What is the strategic thinking behind Media Bullseye?
Sarah Wurrey: It's partially part of Chip's other company Eaglon. The goal is to serve as sort of an “in flight magazine” of sorts for CustomScoop, with lots of content from outside voices, and also hopefully getting the opportunity to toot our own horns on occasion and highlight the services we provide. The higher profile Media Bullseye gains, the more people become aware of CustomScoop.
It's kind of the same idea behind our media monitoring minutes for For Immediate Release. We want it to be content, rather than just a commercial for the company, but at the same time it serves to remind people of the company and how it might benefit their communications needs.
How do you measure your social media outreach success. You mention awareness, do you have a metric that you use for that? Have sales of the CustomScoop service gone up?
Sarah Wurrey: As for more formal measurement, here is Chip's response: “We absolutely measure. we track free trials and sales as a result of these efforts (and we have had sales from FIR, my blog, and other social media efforts). As for as ‘more people knowing us,' I measure mostly by speaking opportunities (which are also up) that come as a result of social media efforts. on the softer side of measurement, I judge it by the rough ratio of people who ask me to explain what CustomScoop is at industry events (which is also definitely much improved, with FIR being a major contributor in that regard). obviously, not a hard metric, but valuable nonetheless.
“I should also add that we measure the cost per lead and cost per sale of all of our marketing activities. That's why we discontinued most pay-per-click ads with Google earlier this year in favor of social media efforts. Obviously assigning hard costs to social media outreach is a bit harder than ad costs, but we can come up with decent estimates.”
What is Eaglon?
Sarah Wurrey: Eaglon is a multimedia magazine publishing company founded by Chip Griffin. It currently publishes Media Bullseye in conjunction with CustomScoop, as well as Chip's fine dining magazine Cork&Knife.;
Eaglon's goal is to be truly multimedia: to combine text, audio and video in one publication, online and in print editions. We are planning to publish print editions of Media Bullseye next year, as we don't want anyone to forget that print media is still a powerful force, despite the online craze.
The goal behind Eaglon is to partner with a company to produce publications, but the publication would still be that particular company's baby. Here is Chip's first Media Bullseye post which sheds some light [on the strategy].
Photo credit: Sarah Wurrey at one of the many events she attends in and near Boston. Photo by Laura Fitton