Digital PR is all about small numbers.
In digital PR, we speak fondly about forging relationships and patiently building trust, but when it comes down to it, we need to reach a critical mass of people to keep our jobs.
So, we gravitate toward big numbers. Size matters, and the bigger, the better.
At least, that’s what we think.
How We Fear Small Numbers
The internet has changed the game of digital PR and online marketing in profound ways, but not when it comes to big numbers. The web has made us more, not less, focused on big data, analytics, and metrics — myself included.
In digital PR, we frequently discuss impressive statistics, like a video achieving one hundred million views on YouTube. While this may be true for a hit song performed by a celebrity, our corporate content often fails to gain traction, prompting us to move on to the next project.
The internet has amplified our focus on large-scale data, analytics, and metrics. We feel compelled to reach a critical mass of people to maintain our professional standing.
But when our corporate content goes nowhere, we ignore it and move on to bigger and better endeavours.
The Mission: Strive for Smaller Numbers
By paying attention to smaller numbers, we can find them all around us and use them to our advantage in digital PR.
For a piece of content to go viral, it needs to convert at a decent level, and the population size must be able to sustain its exposure. But from a mathematical perspective, what matters, is cycle time.
For instance, let’s consider numbers that indicate reducing time or loss. To make your message go viral, you should optimise for shorter cycle times — the time between someone being “infected” with an idea and when that person “infects” someone else. Shorter cycle times lead to more viral spread.
Shorter cycle times, more viral spread.
Similarly to cycle times, drop-off rates for websites and funnels should be minimised. According to Upflowy, “A good drop-off rate will depend on the industry, product, and other factors. Simply put, your drop-off rate should be as low as possible.”
Read also: How To Build a Viral Loop (Using Maths)
Greatness and Impact In Small Numbers
Rather than allowing apprehension to cloud our judgment when faced with small numbers, we should welcome their presence and acknowledge their vital role in digital PR.
In a landscape dominated by the pursuit of ever-increasing numbers, recognizing and leveraging the power of small numbers can set us apart and propel our digital PR efforts to new heights.
But working with both big and small numbers in digital PR has taught me something extraordinary:
We should talk more about small numbers in digital PR. Not less.
By appreciating the impact of these seemingly modest figures, we can uncover new strategies and opportunities for growth and success.
A Beautiful Idea: It Always Starts With One
This focus on smaller numbers suggests that the most powerful number in digital PR is — one. As French poet Victor Hugo (1802−1885) said, “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.”
A single person or idea has the potential to change everything. One action can create a butterfly effect, leading to a massive chain of events.
Perhaps our mission as PR professionals is to discover one person, idea, or igniting action that can make all the difference.
As a PR professional, I believe one person or idea can change everything in a world full of big numbers. I think that one action, a lead domino, can ignite a butterfly effect and set off a mighty chain of events.
Read also: Critical Mass in Social Media: How Many Followers Do You Need?
A Contrarian Approach to Results
As digital PR professionals, we find ourselves drawn to big numbers — the more views, shares, and likes, the better.
But we should be looking for numbers that we can make smaller.
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PR Resource: Suggested Reading
Berger, J. (2016). Contagious: Why Things Catch On. Simon & Schuster.
Watts, D. J. (2011). Everything Is Obvious: How Common Sense Fails Us. Crown Business.
Shirky, C. (2008). Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organising Without Organisations. Penguin Books.
PR Resource: Inbound vs Outbound
Inbound vs Outbound
The inbound mindset is a fundamental shift in public relations.
Instead of focusing on trying to spawn non-existing audiences, PR can do so much more with existing online publics. 1See also The Publics in Public Relations (Doctor Spin).
If your inbound PR strategy is good enough, you might not even need an outbound PR strategy.
Read also: The Inbound First PR Strategy: Beauty From Within
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|1||See also The Publics in Public Relations (Doctor Spin).|