Every day is made up of dozens, or more likely hundreds, of moments. Some represent notable decisions being made; others might simply be the instant we learn about something for the first time. The latter is something we, as PR professionals, strive to make happen on a regular basis with those that we’re looking to influence.
This past week, a few colleagues and I were discussing the concept of that moment in time, and how it’s evolved with regard to what we do every day. Many of us used to (mostly) focus on inspiring that moment with journalists, and, ultimately, readers, viewers, and listeners through them.
We haven’t always been able to see that end result, the surprise and delight for an end customer, as directly as we have in recent years. This is yet another thing that’s changed for our industry with the advent of social and digital platforms and tools, and is a factor we should pay more attention to.
That moment is an indicator of success, even if only directional. It’s one of the ways I most often like to get a "gut check" on what I’m working to see if it would move the needle for whatever I’m working on. Would I be excited to "discover" this new app for my mobile phone? Would I share this video with my Twitter followers and get a mini ego boost out of them finding it amusing and cite me as the original source for them? Will I include how I found out about the hot new restaurant in town in my review on TripAdvisor or Yelp?
Those moments are important, and recognizing how to instigate them, and most importantly, how to capture them, even as a random sample, is key. So how do we do this? The easy option is simply paying attention to what tastemakers, early adopters, and those who "influence the influencers" are saying about whatever it is we’re looking to keep an eye on. If it’s a TV show, it might be a handful of reviewers or journalists. If it’s a new restaurant, it might be tracking some tags on Instagram or check-ins on a service such as Swarm or Yelp.
Tracking down those moments isn’t just about measuring, however. It’s about seeing what inspires them, and finding out how to recreate that experience in the future for whatever we may be working on. Recognizing how we get to those moments helps us build better programs, pitches, or material to use in every facet of our day-to-day roles.
We’re all moving extremely quickly all the time these days. Sometimes, stepping back and taking a look at the moments that make up these days can help make us better at what we do, while creating a moment of our own in the process.
Tom Biro is SVP of Allison+Partners' Seattle office. His column focuses on how digital media affects and shifts PR. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @tombiro.