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How to Integrate Social Media into Travel PR Campaigns


Copyright © and Database Right: Firebrand Digital Limited 2008. "Social Media Academy" and "SMAc" (word and devices) …

Copyright © and Database Right: Firebrand Digital Limited 2008. "Social Media Academy" and "SMAc" (word and devices)
are trade marks of Firebrand Digital Limited. All rights reserved.

Published in Technology , Travel , News & Politics
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  • 1. How to integrate social media into Travel PR campaigns
  • 2. Agenda
    Tactics & tools
    Social media outreach (blogs, Twitter, social networks, forums, podcasts)
    SEO PR
    Online PR strategy
    Creative campaigns
    Reputation management
    Online press office
    SEO PR
    Measurement & evaluation to demonstrate ROI
  • 3. My background
  • 4. My background
  • 5. My background
  • 6. Brands
  • 7. Agencies
  • 8. My background
  • 9. My background
  • 10. Tactics & tools
  • 11. Blogs
  • 12. Overview
    Matured - blogging has now matured as a phenomenon to cross all consumer interest areas
    Extensive - vibrant communities can be found collecting around vast ranges of topics
    Culture - blogger outreach carries with it different expectancies in regards to form of communications than traditional media
  • 13. Consumer
  • 14. B2B
  • 15. Travel blogs
  • 16. Regional
  • 17. Opportunity
    ‘Link etiquette’ of the blogging world encourages quick viral dissemination of well-targeted stories and engaging content
    SEO - this ‘link etiquette’ is also responsible for blogs faring extremely well in search returns – ranking highly in Google
    As a result, blog posts can be extremely visible and influential
    Impacting consumer opinion
    Driving mainstream coverage
    Brand advocates - the highly focused nature of blogs – with bloggers becoming passionate opinion formers on very specific topics – offers distinct opportunity to encourage strong advocates of a product or service
  • 18. Blogger outreach
  • 19. Preparation
    • It is vital to know who you’re pitching to. Specifically this includes:
    • 20. Reading the site’s about page
    • 21. Reading the last week or so of posts or news stories
    • 22. If possible, finding a specific, concrete example and URL that proves why the editor would be interested in writing about the campaign?
    • 23. If not a URL, the site should be very specific to your client/campaign
  • Digging Deeper
    It’s essential that you ask yourself…
    Are you going after an active blogger or a fair-weather blogger?
    • If your blogger is very active online, chances are he or she has received a pitch before and will at least know the drill. If not, he or she may still be a good target, but you may have to explain the process a little more in-depth.
    Is the blogger is interacting only in the blogging community or if are they active elsewhere?
    • Twitter? Facebook? Flickr? MySpace?
  • More Digging
    How does the blogger interact online?
    Is he or she cynical or critical? Is he or she part of a community that is characteristically anti-PR? Search for terms…
  • Blog Pitching - Ethics
    • Honesty of Relationship: You say who you're speaking for
    • 30. Honesty of Identity: You never obscure your identity
    • No monetary exchanges
    • 31. Commitment to represent blogger and client
    • 32. No dodgy dealings, bribery
    • 33. No pestering
    • 34. No anonymous posting or commenting
    • 35. No spamming
  • Step One: The Pre-pitch
    What it does:
    Ensures that a blogger is interested in hearing from PR
    Why it’s important:
    One disgruntled blogger has the power to tarnish the reputation of the agency and client with the click of a button
  • 36. Step One: The Pre-pitch
    Short introduction of who you are and what you do
    Opt-in clause of participation
    A hint of what might be in store
    Chance to be placed on a ‘Do Not Pitch’ list
    Does not include:
    Press releases
    Hard sells
    Unsolicited advice or information
  • 37. Step Two: Relationship Establishment
    What it does:
    Ensures that the blogger understands your objectives and that you understand theirs
    Why it’s important:
    Each blogger is different - some want to review products, some want Google juice, some want advertising, some don’t know what they want… This gives us all a chance to start off on the same page.
  • 38. Step Three: The Pitch & Maintenance
    What it does:
    Keeps an ongoing conversation with the blogger
    Why it’s important:
    The blogger will be much more likely to take your other pitches if they know you
  • 39. Step Three: The Pitch & Maintenance
    What it includes:
    Knowing what’s going on in the blogger’s life
    Thinking before you pitch
    Short, to the point, correspondence
  • 40. Case study - Best Job in the World
  • 41. Case study - Beck’s Canvas
  • 42. Case study - Beck’s Canvas
    Key Outputs
    Over 120 pieces of online coverage achieved
    40,148,733 unique users
    £257,000 equivalent online media value
    ROI – 9:1
  • 43. Blogger events
  • 44. Overview
    Blogger events can be run in a very similar way to media events
    These can either be run in tandem with mainstream media events or independently
    Successful blogger events tend to adopt very tailored methods of syncing specific elements of an event to bloggers’ personal tastes
  • 45. Opportunity
    With bloggers currently not invited to a large number of events, they offer a powerful means by which to build strong relationships and brand advocates
    Face-to-face time allows impact to be made far beyond that possible during normal email communications
    Following blogger events, bloggers frequently post detailed and well-branded reviews and posts
  • 46. Disney Parks & Resorts
  • 47. Keycamp Holidays
  • 48. Case study - Smirnoff
    Popular London ‘Blogger Meet-up’ event sponsored by Smirnoff
    Two Smirnoff ‘mixologists’ placed at bar
    Profile book designed with detailed background information on all of the blogger invitees
    Special cocktail design for each blogger: for example Fake Plastic Noodles received a cocktail infused with twisted lemon skins for noodles
  • 49. Case study - V-Jam
    ‘V-Jam’ social media day created, with 60 frequent flyers, airline staffand bloggers participating
    Focus set of come up with concepts on how social media can improve the flying experience
    Virgin Atlantic’s Vtravelled.com, was developed as an output – an online travel community where people can organise and share travel plans with friends and family
  • 50. Twitter
  • 51. Overview
    UK lead - over the past year Twitter has grown hugely in the UK to overtake the US in terms of take-up
    Extensive - the similarity to texts and the brief, quick nature of posts have resonated strongly with UK consumers, now spanning many demographic groups and interest areas
    Complements blogging - Twitter now has found a place alongside blogging, where it is used to share quick views and opinions. Blogging instead is used for more detailed descriptions and analysis
  • 52. Twitter in Travel
  • 53. Regional
  • 54. Opportunity
    Influential hubs - the culture of people on Twitter ‘following’ others that they find interesting has created a number of very influential hubs
    ‘Twitter Elite’ now hold considerable sway, with their posts being seen by thousands of people instantly
    Viral - the medium, like blogging, also lends itself extremely well to quick dissemination of news. If a person following a Twitter user likes a post, they can ‘ReTweet’ further increasing the audience base that the message reaches
  • 55. Twitter – Why?
    Build relationships
    Share information
    Gather information
    Showcase expertise
    Job hunting
  • 56. How does it work?
    1. I update
    3. I can check the updates that are directed at me (@)
    2. It shows up in my news feed and my followers’ news feed
    4. As I update, the more my name shows up and I can expand my followers
  • 57. The Twitter Dashboard
    Twitter Tip
    Direct Messages
  • 58. Twitter, PR and Journalism
    Sense of community
    Secret club mentality
    Way to connect
    Inside information
  • 59. Etiquette
    Do not:
    Follow indiscriminately
    Pitch out in the open
    Use only for self-promotion
    Keep engaged daily
    Move outside your circle
    Follow people at a steady pace
  • 60. Twitter Credibility Scale
  • 61. Twitter Tools – things to know
    A way to track and distinguish conversations by inserting # in front of a pre-determined term
    RT (Retweet)
    Pass along a Tweet of someone else’s and give credit “RT @mseasons Check out this site!”
    DM (Direct message)
    A private message to another Twitter user. Can only be sent if the user is following you
    Long URLs
    Can be shortened using services like Tiny.cc to help avoid going over the 140 character limit.
    Use TwitPic.com to share photos easily on Twitter
    Can be changed at any time without losing your followers, replies or account
  • 62. Twitter Tools - Digsby
    Updates stream to your desktop
    You don’t ever have to miss an @ reply
    You can update your status, return direct messages and reply to other users
    You never have to visit Twitter.com
    It’s also possible to incorporate your email, Facebook and IM clients
  • 63. Case study - First Capital Connect
    Rail travellers invited to follow FCC on Twitter (@FirstCC)
    Travellers provide information about their regular commute, stations they travel between, and times of the day
    System then updates travellers when problems occur that will affect their commute
  • 64. Case study - Manchester Airport
    Value Added Discount vouchers on offer as incentive for Twitter users to follow Manchester Airport on Twitter (@manairport)
    Further chance of winning £500 for those that ‘retweet’, referring a friend to the airport’s Twitter page
    Twitter feed used to communicate flight updates to passengers
  • 65. Social networks
  • 66.
  • 67. Travel social networks
  • 68. Targeted ads – displays ads solely on users meeting the demographic profile requested
    Partner campaigns - special pages are designed to hold communities around specific topics
    Traditional PR activity - Facebook is a notoriously hard environment to engage directly with consumer as a result of its closed nature (you have to be friends with someone to see their full details)
    Facebook groups - the most accessible way to engage with communities of people on Facebook– either by setting one up or through engagement in groups already existing
  • 69. Case study – Road to V
  • 70. Case study – O2
  • 71. Drop in users - MySpace’s user base in recent years has dropped significantly as a result of the rise of Facebook and Bebo
    Music - the profile now of MySpace users is now very music-focused
    Targeted ads - much like on Facebook, targeted ads can be run on MySpace, set to appear only on profile pages of users that fit within a certain demographic profile
    Open - MySpace is based on a far more open environment than Facebook, and therefore enables far more extensive engagement
  • 72. Case study – Road to V
  • 73. What is it?
    Photo storage and photo sharing community
    How does it work?
    Users upload photos, tag them and/or submit them to groups
    Importance of tagging
    Allows search functionality
    SEO visibility through Google and Google Image
  • 74. DIY - an open social network platform that allows you to easily create your own social network
    Flexibility - this can be designed to focus upon any topic imaginable
    Numbers - currently over 1 million individual networks have been created on Ning – by companies and individuals alike
    Functionality - Ning easily incorporates all of the features commonly available today on social networks – including multimedia content, and easy sharing of opinion and views
  • 75. Opportunity
    Control- Ning offers complete control over who can join a social network and what they can do when they are part of it
    Moderation - constraints can thus be placed on the age of participants
    Targeted - opportunity to create niche networks that are designed to complement other marketing initiatives
  • 76. Social bookmarking
    Distribution - A powerful way for stories to disseminate online
    Tags - Users ‘tag’ stories they find interesting
    Easy access - The URL for the story is saved on the web, for easy future finding (online bookmarking)
  • 77. Social bookmarking
    Online influence - Very popular with news hungry web geeks
    Community - People follow friends ‘feeds’, and are kept up-to-date with stories they find interesting
    Comments – People comment and share views on stories
    Traffic – can be a major source of traffic to websites online
  • 78. Social bookmarking
    User-generated news website
    No editor
    Ranking of stories decided by community
    A central group of a 1000 or so users command great influence
    Major traffic driver online
    SEO boost
  • 79. Forums
  • 80. Overview
    Well-established - forum communities were the first form of social media to take-off on the web
    Community - completely driven by community posts
    ‘Forum Master’ - oversees content moderation
    Threads - are either initiated by the Forum Master or by the user community
    Consumer research – very popular with consumers when researching complex topics or making purchasing decisions
    Opinion-formers –most forums provide information on the activity of its users:
    Number of posts
    Number of threads
  • 81.
  • 82.
  • 83. Travel forums
  • 84. Opportunity & constraints
    Seeding – in the not too distant past, forums were a popular medium for viral marketers
    Legal constrictions – changes in European law two years ago, however, severely curtailed this activity, making it illegal to act under false pretence when marketing online
    Forum thread sponsorship – The main opportunity for active forum engagement is by contacting a Forum Webmaster to organise a sponsored thread
  • 85. Podcasts
  • 86. Overview
    Podcasts are very much a social media equivalent to radio
    RSS technology utilised to download straight to your iPod
    Lead to podcasts being consumer on the go at times convenient to the listener
    Podcasts can now be found covering all interest areas and industry sectors
  • 87.
  • 88. Travel podcasts
  • 89. Opportunity
    Opportunity exists to pitch in stories and content just as with radio
    Guest speaker slots
    As it is still a relatively new medium, podcast producers do not receive as many approaches from PRs – leading to increased opportunity
  • 90. Video
  • 91. Overview
    Engagement - video offers tremendous opportunity to engage audience groups online
    Media thirst – traditional media sites are constantly trying to compete with the BBC’s extensive libraries of content
    PR opportunity – creates opportunity for high-profile story placement
    Creative extension – opportunity to add further depth to a story
  • 92. Video-sharing
    Large and varied – more than just YouTube. Sites such as Dailymotion, Videojug, Metacafe, Blinkx and many others also have large communities
    Easy sharing – ‘embedded players’ are now offered by all video-sharing sites making it easy to pass content to journalists
    Viral spread – it is also very easy for consumers to share video content – meaning videos can spread very quickly online (e.g. recent London fire)
  • 93. Communities
    Social networks – more than just video posting
    Shared interests – people connect to other users who like similar content, or post videos they like
    Channels – YouTube channels create audience bases that are informed when new content is uploaded
    Comments – people post comments and views on videos. Star ratings are a powerful determination of ranking in YouTube and whether it achieves the all-important feature on the front-page
  • 94. Video production
    Affordable quality – the explosion of video consumption online has brought with it a reduction in the expectancy of video quality and resolution
    Script writer – finding a good script writer is a very valuable exercise. Substantially reduces expensive to and fro
    Production – hiring a video producers is extremely important – more often that not they will manage the whole project, including editing
    Budget – costs can be in the hundreds, depending on the scope of work
    Length – it is best if videos do not shoot past 1 minute in length online – further reducing production costs
  • 95. Video seeding
    Audience reach – do use other video-sharing sites in addition to YouTube. You can easily find extensive lists of them online
    Relevance – particularly ensure your video is posted on sites with relevant focus and audience bases
    Web tools – there are a number of tools that can be used to post a video simultaneously to many video-sharing sites at once – massively reducing admin time (e.g. http://heyspread.com/)
    Monitoring – such sites also enable easy reporting of total views and comment activity across the video-sharing sites used
  • 96. SEO
    SEO – when posting videos on video-sharing sites, you have complete control over the copy and content that runs alongside the video
    Keywords – by researching appropriate keywords, it is possible to ensure the video ranks well in relevant search engine returns
    URL links – use of relevant URLs and ‘anchor text’ ensures that popular videos provide an SEO boost to your website
    Traffic – Popular sites such as YouTube can be key drivers of traffic online
  • 97. Moderation
    Hugely active sites such as YouTube so attract a large number of ‘spammers’ – people posting inappropriate links and content in comments to capture people’s attention
    Popular videos can also attract abusive comment as a means to scandalise and shock
    When it is your own video post, it is possible to control the following:
    Removal of inappropriate comments
    Complete removal of ability to comment
  • 98. Case study – Ramada Encore
  • 99. Case study – Ramada Encore
    Key Outputs
    12 pieces of national online coverage
    78 actively generated pieces of coverage across influential blog titles
    Stimulated over 20 million impressions
  • 100. Case study – Virgin Mobile
  • 101. Case study – Virgin Mobile
    Key Outputs
    105 pieces of online coverage
    Over 20 million impressions
    Over 95% of placements mentioned Virgin Mobile
    Over 89% of placements linked to or embedded the 30 Peas video
    Over 87% linked to virginmobilepeople.com/30p
  • 102. Widgets
  • 103. Overview
    Interactive web tools that can be ‘embedded’ on websites and downloaded to desktops
    Engagement – great means by which to actively engage consumers
    Rich information – powerful way to display rich and varied information
    Content – work for all means of different content, from video to games
    Stand-out – as this is still a a largely unexplored area by the PR industry generally, substantial opportunity exists to catch online influencers’ attention
  • 104. Queensland Tourism
    10-day campaign to promote Etihad Airways'’ service into Brisbane, together with experiences Queensland Tourism have to offer
    Viral game where players compete for a high score by catapulting Koalas across different terrains
    Players invited to share with family and friends online by posting on blogs and social network profiles
    More than 1.1 million koalas were catapulted
  • 105. Case study – BBC 5Live
  • 106. Online PR strategy
  • 107. Objectives
  • 108. Online PR tactics
  • 109. Creative campaigns
  • 110. Creative development
    At the core of social media strategy is traditional PR
    Must be new
    Must be sufficiently interesting for someone to want to take their own personal time to talk about it
    Relevance is highly important
    Simplicity is vital
    Online influencers are extremely time poor
    Key messaging must come through instantly
    Attention-grabbing works
    Risqué (great example is Diesel 30 year anniversary campaign)
  • 111. Story development
    Get to the core of the story
    Describe it in one sentence
    Build associations from this base
    Relevance is key
    Focus first on this before considering appropriate social media platforms
    Platforms should fall naturally from creative concept
    Think BIG
    Creative implementation online is far, far cheaper that offline
    There are some very competitively priced development suppliers out there
  • 112. Use the full palette
    Never before have so many tools been available, so easily, to PRs
    Bring the story to life as much as possible
    The further you go the stronger the message, the reach, the impact
    Video is enormously powerful
  • 113. Two-way
    The key feature that differentiates social media from traditional media is its facility for two-way dialogue
    This brings with it a number of important advantages:
    More powerful engagement
    Improved recall
    Active involvement
    Participative for both parties
    Make this principle core to a social media campaign
  • 114. Competition mechanics
    Incentivise people to participate
    Make prizes relevant to resonate
    Competitions have long been a core strand of consumer PR campaigns
    Social media offers far more flexible, creative mechanics
    You have to think why would some get involved?
  • 115. Case study – Hotel Chocolat
  • 116. Language & tone
    ‘PR speak’ just does not work
    Avoid exaggeration – people can spot it, and do not need to put up with it
    Is it really ‘the world’s leading’?
    Be human
    Chatty, simple language works best
    Avoid jargon at all costs
    Be friendly
    Relationships can be formed very quickly online
    Be open
    People are largely very understanding. If issues arise be up-front and open and maintain dialogue
    Always state your intention
    Always state who you are representing
  • 117. Mechanicals
    Make it easy to share
    URL links
    Social media ‘share’ buttons
    Be mindful of people’s inboxes
    Make full use of online tools and sharing sites to distribute content
  • 118. Amplification
  • 119. Overview
    Extend – online PR can work very well as a means to ‘amplify’ or add further depth to a planned PR/marketing/advertising campaign
    Advertising – ‘amplification’ is very much a buzz term in the ad world. Represents a means by which to take the core ad message out to a wider audience base
    Media fragmentation – the fragmentation of consumer media has made it impossible for advertising to reach as large groups of people as before
    Word-of-mouth – at its core lies the ability to stimulate word-of-mouth and viral spread of key marketing messages
    Social media – the two-way, personal nature of the medium perfectly complements the prime objective of any advertising initiative
  • 120. Implementation
    Core messaging – creative scope is focused upon taking campaign messaging and applying them to the online medium
    Interaction & depth – tools such as video and widgets enable softer elements to be added to a campaign – increasing levels of engagement
    Assets – content produced to-date as part of the campaign can prove extremely valuable
  • 121. Implementation - timeline
    Anticipation – one core focus for amplification strategy is building momentum ahead of a campaign launch
    Early glimpses of assets
    Smaller campaigns to support major push
    Extension – an additional focus commonly is then extending interest and intrigue past the main launch dates
    Interactive elements
  • 122. Opportunity
    Extend current client PR campaigns – opportunity to pitch in amplification projects onto current client campaigns
    Extend other client marketing initiatives – opportunity to begin further supporting other agency initiatives
    Slot in aside current retained PR agencies – opportunity to get to the client table without a full re-pitch. A foot in the door
    Partnerships – scope to partner with advertising and media agencies
  • 123. Case study – Sony Bravia
  • 124. Case study – Sony Bravia
  • 125. Case study – Tourism New Zealand
    Dedicated YouTube channel featuring video content of the destination
    Promotion of the channel has led to New Zealand’s ‘Youngest Country’ advert being viewed online over a million times
    YouTube clips are also embedded directly on the newzealand.com site
    Visitors on newzealand.com invited to share experiences through a ‘submit a memory’ tool – whereby travellers submit short accounts of their trip
  • 126. Case study – Beck’s
  • 127. Case study – Beck’s
  • 128. Case study – Beck’s
  • 129. Case study – Beck’s
  • 130. Reputation management
  • 131. Online press office
  • 132. Online monitoring
    Many options – there are now a large number of monitoring services on offer
    Consultancy – value for clients is in the consultancy offered in addition to raw stats:
    Flagging crises before flaring
    Prioritisation of articles for reaction
    Insight to inform PR planning and campaign creative
  • 133. Managing comments
    Commenting is a necessary element of the two-way nature of social media
    Once you start the dialogue, it is important to remain involved
    Reply to comments
    Engage in conversation
    However, the more impersonal nature of online communications can cause people to sometimes be more offensive
    Keep a watchful eye for inappropriate comment or spam
    If this occurs on your uploaded content or site, this can be mitigated with removal as necessary
    Ensure this is an appropriate action
    YouTube allows comments to be disabled
  • 134. Managing comments - prioritisation
    The proliferation of sites and commentators can be mind boggling and very difficult to manage
    Priority is key
    Not all sites similar sway
    Some comment at best will only require a watchful eye to check if it spreads further
    In such circumstances, engaging is a waste of resources and may only fuel the fire
  • 135. Social media press office
    Portal for reporting news and deals
    Hosts photography, videos and widgets
    Readers can comment and share views
    Links closely with Lastminute’s Twitter page, featuring recent Tweets
  • 136. SEO PR
  • 137. SEO PR
    Google is very much the window through which people access everything online
    Online PR and social media outreach directly impact:
    Brand website rankings
    Journalist and consumer endorsement rankings
    Online PR and social media outreach can also be utilised to minimise the impact of damaging articles ranking highly
    Hotel Chocolat example
  • 138. Implementation - keywords
    Keywords – keyword phrases are selected that are most important to the client for driving relevant traffic to their website
    Input – first check if client has list of priority keywords. Their online marketing department will definitely have focus areas
    Keyword generation – otherwise, there are numerous free, or paid-for, keyword generator tools
    Focus – build focused list of up to five keywords to focus upon
  • 139. Implementation - drafting
    Careful drafting – PR collateral is fused subtly with keyword phrases
    Extend use – opportunity to extend use of press releases and other collateral already being produced for a client
    Focused content – otherwise, focused collateral can be created around keyword areas
    Anchor links – appropriate URL links to the client site are placed behind keywords
    Link choice – work with online marketing department to select most appropriate URLs
  • 140. Implementation - syndication
    Syndication wires – PR collateral is posted on SEO PR wires (PRWeb, Source Wire, Real Wire)
    Mechanical costs – Each post costs around £100 (varies across wires)
    Targeted – collateral is syndicated across sites relevant to the content and keywords
    Link creation – each syndicated piece of coverage contains keywords and URL links to clients site
  • 141. Online PR support
    Dual benefit – more traditional online PR activity also has a direct impact on search
    Top web real estate – achieving coverage on high ranking sites, such as BBC Online & Guardian Online, which includes URL links, creates substantial SEO boosts for a client
    PR-dependent – PR is the only mechanism by which to achieve this
    Relevant content – PR-generated articles linking to a client are likely to include relevant keyword phrases, further increasing effects
  • 142. Measurement & evaluation
  • 143. Social media metrics
    • Unique user statistics in social media are impossible to acquire across the board
    A blogger will have to provide information personally
    • Therefore, does not support overall campaign measurement
    • 144. Different social media platforms require different metrics
  • Social media metrics
    • Blogs
    Number of actively generated posts
    Number of virally generated posts
    Tone of posts
    Key messages
    Number of comments
    URL links
    ‘Anchor text’
  • 145. Social media metrics
    • Twitter
    Number of actively generated Tweets
    Number of Retweets
    Tone of posts
    Key messages
    URL links
  • 146. Social media metrics
    • Forums
    Key messaging
    • Podcasts
    Number of listeners
    Key messaging
  • 147. Social media metrics
    • Video
    Number of views
    • Social networks
    Members/ friends
    Level of active engagement
  • 148. Search engine impact
    • Ranking of actively generated posts in search returns
    • 149. Assess ranking of negative articles in search returns
    • 150. Pre and post activity keyword search returns analysed
    • 151. Work with SEO agency/online marketing department
    Online PR/social media campaigning will not be the only influence on search returns
    • Note the Google PageRank of coverage generated
  • Traffic
    Utilise web analytics to track the following:
    Site visits encouraged as a direct result of online PR activity
    Uplift in traffic levels
    Conversion of traffic to sales (or other important marketing metrics, for example sign-up)