PR practitioners must constantly create at the leading edge.

What is new tends to be newsworthy. As SHIFT CEO Todd Defren has emphasized to clients throughout the years, our public relations efforts must embody at least one of these three attributes:

  • First.
  • Best.
  • Only.

When we build new things, we capture (however briefly) all three attributes.

New is powerful. New catches the attention of influencers, journalists, and publishers whose audiences demand a never-ending supply of news.

New doesn’t necessarily mean invented from scratch. New can mean a first-use case in our industries. SHIFT was not the first Google Analytics Certified Partner; there were hundreds of companies before us. In the PR industry, however, we hold that distinction.

Likewise, SHIFT is by no means the first user of IBM’s Watson Analytics. We are, to the best of our knowledge, one of the earliest adopters in PR. We’ve used Watson Analytics to prescribe social media engagement strategy based on users’ engagement habits.

What can you find a first-use for in your industry?

How do you find new things to test? Read and research every day. Ask “what if?” when you read about the emergence of a new technology, a new tool, a new idea. What if we tried that? What if we experimented with that? What if we bought one of those?

For example, when we first read about the GDELT project, a free, near-realtime database of all media published across the world, we asked, “What if we could make use of this as a news monitoring source?” We tested it out; GDELT has a sharp learning curve and massive system requirements (they recommend at least a terabyte of disk space for the raw dataset). If you’re willing to invest some money and time, GDELT can run inside Google’s BigQuery service.

gdelt bigquery interface.jpg

We discovered GDELT, while powerful, isn’t ready for the average PR practitioner to use. Querying the multi-terabyte database requires the use of tools like Google BigQuery. Google BigQuery, in turn, requires database expertise above and beyond what most PR practitioners have experience with. However, it’s still a powerful example of asking, “What if?”.

First. Best. Only. We achieve these most easily through new. New begins by asking “What if?”.

Be new to be newsworthy!

Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology


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