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January 06, 2010


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Clipbooknotices are allways much later then the moment of creativity. When you pick up an idea and think it's yours, don't forget you're probably not the only one that picks it out of the sky. Strange? The Maya's and Egyptians had the same countingsystem of time, but havn't met eachother before. Still, the idea hang in the air.

Adam Wood

You seem to have left out something in your response I usually understand to be part of your message- those clients don't need people like Lee and especially not people like Lee's "bosses," since they can and should be doing "PR" themselves.

David Meerman Scott

Hey Adam.

I still think there is value in using agencies. You're right, I am a believer in doing it yourself, but agencies can be helpful in many ways.


I think you make a valid point. I think PR agencies neeed to be more well-rounded and concerned with all forms of communication, whether it be through the media, direct with stakeholders and also importantly, online.

Account Deleted

Ha, reminded me of my recent discussion with the Owner of a PR firm, who offered a PR plan to me and surprisingly forgot to mention the online measurement part in it. Though, did mention about the clipbook measurement. And when I probed her on the same and gave some insights on measurement of online PR, frantically replied, ya ya, we can do all that... I just forgot to mention in the plan. ;P

David Meerman Scott

Sachin - Good one! I've seen that sort of thing too. David


The problem lays not in whether to use agencies or not. The problem is that agencies focus on what they seem comfortable with (coverage) and not in results (web traffic, trial or sales).

Is possible nowadays to relate bottom line results to PR activity and that should tell good agencies apart from the bad ones

Xavier Izaguirre
Social Media Library (changed jobs)

All the best David, kind regards from London.

Steven Woods

great post (and rant) - always a good one. Have you seen any of the social measurement tools (like Radian6, etc) that are good at tracking a "meme" rather than a "brand" - ie, I create a funny video and it gets shared, Tweeted, Facebooked, etc... how do I say that that individual meme/video was exposed to X,000 people?

Thoughts on technologies to look at?

David Meerman Scott

Hey Steven,

There are dozens of companies offering monitoring tools like you describe. The independent expert on the tools is Philip Sheldrake (@sheldrake). He has a great resource called The Social Web Analytic Ebook http://www.socialwebanalytics.com/


The Brantley

David - I respect your point of view but discounting clip books for pure online measurement is as absurd as a PR agency saying 1,000,000 friends on Facebook isn't valuable. The true answer to this monumental question is a combination of both - clips books and publisher audits, social media measurement, web analytics and last and certainly not least company goals, sales and the research to see if your message is being heard. I believe it is only when you combine all these tools that you achieve a truly successful campaign, well rounded agency or successful organization.


Ah the ol' "thud factor" ... I remember times when a pile-o-blank-pages, diffused discretely throughout the center of the clip book, contributed to the bassy sound the three-ring binder produced when dropped from high atop a proposed $20K retainer.

Roger, C&M

Hey David

Nice post. Spot on.

Before looking at what to measure and how, shouldn't brands be asking why am I measuring? I usually find that blows the old clip book out of the water... and leads to discomfort for trad PR agencies.

As you say - if you're goal is interactions, visibility, acquisition, etc, then a clip book alone isn't the answer...

Craig Pearce

Any specific objective that is related to process (e.g. number of media placements, Google ranking, comments on blogs, RTs etc) could well be meaningful and helpful.

Any specific objective that is related to outcome (e.g. legislation passed due to no objections from communities/business etc; improved sales; advocacy of organisational perspectives and approaches by relevant stakeholders etc) is the best of the lot.

But whatever the objective, there needs to be measurement undertaken to determine if any component of the PR strategy (media relations, social media, events, sponsorship, speaking engagements, community events etc) led to these results being achieved.

As such, top ranking on Google and a slew of positive coverage in A-grade media is pointless if your target audience isn't reading/interacting-engaging with it.

Beth Harte


I couldn't agree with you more about clip books (or 'pickup' spreadsheets)....they are a waste of time AND money (yes, your agency is charging you to put 'em together).

As a marketing/PR manager I've always cringed when management asked for the "clips." They are meaningless without:

** Analysis (um, what's the sentiment in that big 'ol bunch of clips?!)
** ROI (were there measurable objectives involved? were they met? at what cost? what was the ROI?)
** Action (what are our publics saying/thinking? how is the media portraying is? where do we go from here?)
** Direct outreach (why deal with the media only when you can interact to your publics?)

[I am sure there's more...but that's it for now.]

Having a bunch of clips showing that "we got press!" isn't good PR or "real" PR for that matter. It's simply justifying media relations and that expense. How many agencies are still out there justifying themselves to clients by equating clips to AVEs? How many clients are demanding clipbooks and AVEs because their agencies (and PR staff!) haven't educated them that PR is more than media relations?

Really, the issue isn't clip books, right? It's bad PR. Whether it's offline or online, clips, impressions, etc. don't matter if there isn't more to your PR efforts.

Putting the soapbox away now. This post woke me up more than my morning coffee. ;-)

Have a great weekend!

Beth Harte
Community Manager, MarketingProfs

Doug - Velocity, B2B Marketing Agency

Great set of new social metrics. Thanks.
'Engagement' can seem woolly to some marketers. It's important to be able to measure what we mean.

Web Design Company

This is the era of competition,there are several companies which offers monitoring tools.Yes its fact that mostly people only measure traditional media like magazines, newspapers, radio, and TV, and this practice doesn’t capture the value of sharing.But we can change their approach by proper advertisement.

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