How to manage your virtual PR teams using the Active Communications Index, and take a vacation whilst doing so

By Jim James,

Founder EASTWEST PR and Host of the SPEAK|pr Podcast

Marketing is all about creating compelling and consistent content, and the fun stuff around PR is getting noticed. But the reality is that marketers want to spend this time and have a return on the cost of that time. Luckily, EASTWEST PR has developed an Active Communications Index which is a very simple productivity metric any business owner can use by compiling some numbers to ultimately understand how much work is going into the public relations activities, even if the leader is away.

One of the most importants parts of the business is the nature of my content. The second aspect is to whom or on what platform the content is sent out to or on. As Russell Brunson talks about in his Click Funnels strategy, people need to go out and find their audiences. Another element is the need for simplicity. Knowing the metrics and the marketing forecast are also key. These are what Verne Harnish, in his Rockefeller Habits, calls “smart numbers,” because they’re an indicator of the future of the business. 

What is the Active Communications Index and what does it do?

To address all the issues above, EASTWEST PR has developed an Active Communications Index. Going across all of these resultant numbers like impressions, engagements, viewers, and so on, is great, but it doesn’t state how much work needs to be done to achieve the goals. So, the Active Communications Index, which is a productivity matrix, talks about the number of pieces of content, how frequently they are published, and across how many channels it goes out to. This is part of the SPEAK|pr methodology which stands for Storify, Personalise, Engage, Amplify, and to Know. Most business owners don’t have the time or the tools to run across all these different platforms to get the different engagement numbers, impression numbers, and so on. But also, those numbers don’t really show much work was put in. They’re just displaying, in a way, the effectiveness or efficiency of the content, but because so much on social media isn’t a result of one’s own input but rather a trend, somehow, it can be misleading. So, the ACI gives entrepreneurs a metric to manage the internal or external team and it makes it much easier to measure the productivity of marketing activities.

It’s only when companies monitor the input and productivity of the marketing that they will get a better idea of the performance of the team. And if your team is relatively small, one direct input productivity metric is key to managing the process. Just to recap, the Active Communications Index is the [content] x [frequency] x [channels], and that gives you a simple number. Track that regularly, and you’ll see a trend. Don’t worry, there isn’t a right or wrong number. It’s what’s going to be right for you and your business. Over time, the goal is to increase that number, but of course, it’s equally important to ensure that the ACI remains consistent over time, because communication is about consistency of messaging and engagement with the various audiences: the partners, staff, and customers. The three audiences need to be communicated with regularly with slightly different messages, because they all want to know different things and have different relationships with the business.

The Active Communications Index recognises that PR isn’t a one-off event. It is a consistent and well-planned campaign that the business should deploy in order for it to be fully understood. And then when coming back from holiday, there may not be as many sales inquiries, but there certainly hasn’t been anybody that’s lost from the business. Again, with automation, it’s possible for client servicing, sales, finance, and all the other business functions to take place even in the absence of the business owner. One can keep the cadence and balance of the materials going into the market even whilst away. However, automation is not a guarantee of effective communication. It’s simply a way of reducing time. Public relations needs creativity. It needs the human touch. It needs constant guidance and management. With luck, this has given you some food for thought about how you can get away and enjoy your vacation in the knowledge that your business is still building a brand in your absence and will be ready for you to come back recharged so you can develop a brand story and content that are relevant in these post-COVID times.


This article is based on a transcript from my Podcast SPEAK|pr, you can listen here.

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