Hurricane Irma may have left major damage when it swept across the Atlantic in 2017, but a year later a group of dedicated volunteers was busy replanting the trees and vegetation that had been destroyed at places such as Sweetwater Elementary School in Miami, Florida.
This was just one of many “good news” stories that came out of Comcast Cares Day, the company’s annual day of service that celebrated the participation of its one millionth volunteer in 2018. It’s the kind of initiative that makes for positive earned media coverage, which the Comcast Florida region PR team maximizes by making strategic use of the media database, distribution and monitoring capabilities of Cision Communications Cloud, along with Cision Impact.
Challenges for the comms team
Cindy Arco, PR manager for the Comcast Florida region, is based in Jacksonville, Florida and works together with her VP of PR, who is based in West Palm Beach. Together they are responsible for external comms duties for Comcast’s markets across Florida. That means juggling a lot of things at once – not all of which contribute to increasing earned media coverage.
“We would love to spend all of our time on proactive, positive media outreach about new products and services to local news media outlets in our major markets,” she said. “But we also have to deal with reactive comms in response to different topics, such as customer service issues.”
When it comes time to pitch media, Arco said the same challenges facing many newsrooms at newspapers and TV stations have had an impact on communications professionals, as well.
“There’s a ton of turnover among journalists,” she added. “If they’re moving to another publication or going into a new field, it’s not always easy to keep up with those contacts.”
Comcast makes use of Cision Comms Cloud’s database, distribution, monitoring, and analytics capabilities. With more than 1.6 million contacts in the Cision database, Arco has gains access to complete, dynamic and vetted influencer profiles. She can then reach targeted audiences using Cision Distribution by PR Newswire. Throughout the campaign process, Comcast employs Cision multi-channel monitoring and analytical tools to retrieve holistic media coverage, attribute value, and gain credibility with internal and external stakeholders.
Comcast also uses Cision Impact, a product that makes it easy for communications professionals to demonstrate the ROI for their earned media results. It uses a Cision ID to track the reach of a story, as well as click-throughs and conversion data.
A more sustainable workflow
Whereas sending out releases or story pitches and tracking media coverage was once a fairly manual process for the Comcast PR team, Arco said working with Cision has provided an automated means for managing the team’s workload and moving toward a more data-driven approach to assessing its success. Some of the highlights include:
Time savings of 25%: She estimated using Cision Comms Cloud has already given her a quarter of that time back, a number she expects to grow as she gets more comfortable with the platform. “It’s going to be closer to 50%. That’s huge for me.”
Omnichannel monitoring capabilities: Arco said she previously used Google Alerts to keep her eye on mentions of Comcast in the news, but that has its limitations.
“Google Alerts won’t pick up what’s in print,” she pointed out. “We subscribe to the majority of the newspapers throughout Florida, and if I knew something was coming I would know to search for it there, but sometimes you might pitch something about a donation we gave, for instance, and it is two months before they run a story about it.”
Other highlights include customized queries to build lists. “It’s tough to have good connections with news media in every single market” Arco explained. Using Cision Comms Cloud means she can seek out influencers based on their area of focus, items on a publication’s editorial calendar, and more.
Going forward, Arco is looking forward to using Cision Impact as a way to demonstrate the business value of her earned media efforts.
“Ideally we could say, ‘We got this story covered and made this much money from it,’” she said, adding that the insights from Cision Impact will likely be shared not only with her boss, but with PR professionals across the company. “The more data, the better.”