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Cision Content Marketing Awards Entry 2015

Content Marketing Awards Entry


The Future of PR: What If PR Stood for People and Relationships?

Category: Highest Conversion Response from Content Program

In fall 2014, Cision executed a three-part campaign called “The Future of PR” in conjunction with its M&A activity that brought together Cision, Vocus, Gorkana and Visible Technologies to create one global PR and social software powerhouse.

Part one was the release of an un-gated e-book on SlideShare called “What If PR Stood for People and Relationships?,” written by award-winning author Brian Solis and illustrated by renowned cartoonist Hugh MacLeod of Gapingvoid.


Part two was an exclusive event called “What’s the Future of PR?,” a half-day conference at Google’s headquarters that featured Solis, Google Analytics Advocate Adam Singer and a panel with Airbnb, Orange and Cisco speakers.

Part three was a social media contest called #FutureofPR, hosted in collaboration with popular online design platform Canva and its digital evangelist Guy Kawasaki. It inspired communications professionals to explore their views on the future of PR, as Solis did in the e-book, by creating graphics shared on social.

We generated awareness and online buzz about the future of PR and leveraged Solis’ influence to expand Cision’s reach and strengthen its credibility among PR practitioners.

Our strategy maximized the content’s impact by leveraging industry influencers and multi-channel tactics.  Promotion tactics included social media, email, advertising, content, media relations and influencer relations.

As a result, the campaign generated 290,019 SlideShare views (72,404% above average), 2,000+ social shares, dozens of influencer reviews and shares with a combined reach of 2M+, 60 contest entries and hundreds of leads.

The Future of PR campaign deserves to win because it demonstrates creativity, innovation and effectiveness. One creative campaign component included the ideation and execution of the e-book  into beautiful, digestible illustrations with thought-provoking commentary from Solis. We also invited participants to explore their own views on the future of PR using visual platform Canva, which harnessed audience attention and cut through the noise at a time when Web content is dominated by multimedia.

The campaign was innovative because instead of emphasizing tools or technology first (as you’d assume a software company would), the message communicated that only by thinking about people first and putting relationships back into public relations will you increase your bottom line. According to Solis, “relationships are the pillars that define your work, your brand and your legacy. Customer centricity starts by investing a culture of putting the customer first. Technology then amplifies your purpose so that it creates and extends value to those seeking it.”

During this campaign, we focused heavily on engagement and fostering relationships we have built over the years with clients, prospects and influencers to practice what we preach and lead by example.

In terms of overall effectiveness, the campaign was a huge success. Traffic to Cision’s SlideShare spiked, (accounting for 64% of our channels lifetime views in just in one month), engagement on our social media networks increased 230%, and we garnered leads from an un-gated piece of content.

By hosting the e-book on SlideShare, we kept the content un-gated, but gave readers the option to “Learn More” about us by filling out a quick form. Readers could skip the form at any time – but many opted to fill out the form, compelled by the positive message the content relayed. From those leads, we generated revenue from the campaign despite that not being our goal. Instead we focused on driving awareness and establishing Cision as a trailblazer for  the future of the PR industry.

The campaign achieved its objectives of generating awareness about Cision and our PR thought leadership, positioning us as the software solution for the new age of PR, sparking online and offline conversations about the future of PR, and leveraging Solis’ influence to expand our reach and strengthen our credibility. The online and offline conversations generated by the campaign engaged clients, created awareness with prospects and solidified relationships with industry influencers.

A key feature of this campaign, aside from the PR, social and marketing tactics, was ultimately the message. At Cision, we’re PR and marketing professionals serving other PR and marketing professionals – which put us in a unique position of really understanding our audiences needs, wants and reflections about the industry. We realized that communicating core values that really drive great PR, such as how to use technology to deliver value, how to stay human amidst all the technology and automation and focusing on relationships, would resonate with others and address this period of dynamic change that’s happening in the PR world.

As our CEO Peter Granat said, “Technology promises opportunities to create incredible brands. But the rapid succession of new social and data tools causes an identity crisis and highlights the need to remain focused on PR’s North Star: relationships. We need to use technology to advance PR’s cause and continue to build mutual value for both brands and customers.”

The Future of PR campaign by Cision should be selected as a winner because the content was compelling, the distribution strategically hit our audience’s top interaction platforms, and the timing was effective in reflecting the current state of the industry. Others can convert our personal content marketing jackpot into an industry best practice by using visual storytelling formats to connect with their audiences and closely paying attention to their content consumption preferences.

What influencers had to say about the campaign: 












  Media coverage from the campaign: 

Brian Solis: A Manifesto for Building Relationships in the Digital Era
Social Media Today: A Manifesto for Building Relationships in the Digital Era
Mike Schaffer: eBook Review: What if PR Stood for People and Relationships
Geoff Livingston: Getting Lost in Tech Again
Jeff Domansky, The PR Coach: Why Digital PR Means People and Relationships
Stepping Stone: What if PR Stood for People and Relationships?
BoydNeil.com: What’s the Future of PR?
Daria Steigman: Tools and Technology Only Get You So Far

About Cision Contributor

This post was written by a guest Cision contributor.

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