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CEO Thought Leadership Series from Trade Show

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David Weiss and Sharam Fouladgar-Mercer at PRSA 2017 International

David Weiss spoke with Sharam Fouladgar-Mercer, founder of AirPR Software, about his session at the conference called “The New PR: The Science of How It Works.” He focuses on supplementing current PR industry initiatives with science in order to drive optimal results.

“So the real focus is around how, in our industry, it’s been 100% art. And if we can optimize our strategy by combining some science with it, it’s really going to set our teams apart.”

DAVID WEISS: Hi, and good afternoon. We’re here at PRSA International 2017 in Boston. And we have Sharam Fouladgar-Mercer. He’s the co-founder and CEO of AirPR Software. Just a couple of questions for you this afternoon. Thank you so much for being here with us.

SHARAM FOULADGAR-MERCER: My pleasure, thanks for having me.

DAVID WEISS: You just completed a session called The New PR, The Science of How It Works. Tell us a little bit about that.

SHARAM FOULADGAR-MERCER: Sure. So the real focus is around how, in our industry, it’s 100% been art. And if we can optimize our strategy by combining some science with it, it’s really going to set our teams apart. And so the real concept is, originally, how do we put out a press release, and then drive it to 10 journalists that matter. But now, with this new PR, it’s how do we tell a great story.

Everything is around the narrative that moves the needle, and then ultimately driving it onto or pushing it onto a channel we can control or own in some way, shape, or form. Whether it’s journalist we really trust, or whether it’s our own media. Blog, LinkedIn Pulse, something like that.

And then ultimately, at that point, it’s not how do we drive it to 10 journalists. It’s how do we focus it on the right journalists, because now there are a million different journalists that exist. Everybody has a medium channel or a LinkedIn Pulse page to communicate to the world.

And with 5,000 to 10,000 new blogs started up every day, it’s how do we figure out the ones that move the needle even more effectively than some of the top tiers might. And then ultimately driving that to the business impact and outcome that is going to be most helpful for our brand. And that’s really the science behind the New PR.

DAVID WEISS: Wow, thank you for that. Hey, tell us a little about what you’re hearing here at the conference, and some trends that you’re making note of in the industry.

SHARAM FOULADGAR-MERCER: Yeah, so I think that the first one is really around measurement and big data. There are so many sessions around that. Everyone is really focused on that.

The second is when I asked, how many people have heard of SEO and focused on SEO, everyone’s hand went up. Everyone has heard of and now takes SEO, or attempts to take SEO, into account. Whereas a few years ago, half the hands wouldn’t go up because they hadn’t even heard of it.

And I think that PR has advanced so much, and our industry has changed so much, with the advent of influencer relations and all of these now blogs that are starting, that we’re forced to shift what we’re doing in order to make sure that we’re driving the business through multiple avenues and multiple channels.

DAVID WEISS: That’s great, thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure. We hope to see you again soon.

SHARAM FOULADGAR-MERCER: Thanks for having me on. I appreciate it.