One of the biggest ways technology has changed the practice of PR is the use of data to drive strategy. PR practitioners today mus tknow how to find, mine and analyze relevant data sets.
Last week Tina McCorkindale, president and CEO of the Institute for Public Relations, a non-profit that does PR-related research, shared her insights on data and how beneficial it can be in the world of public relations. Speaking at Ball State University McCorkingdale told the audience of PR and Communications students that there are several areas where public relations students need analytics and data to do their job better.
- Research before you start a campaign
- Understanding target audiences
- Discovering what your audiences think and feel about a topic or product
- Tracking progress
- Evaluating the success and value of a campaign
In fact, data is vital from start to finish for PR today. If you look at the 10-step PR strategy you will see that data affects almost every step along the plan.
PR & Analytics
Business analytics (BA) is not a new idea. Data- driven decision making has been around for many years – it’s jut fairly new to the PR sector. It involves the gathering and mining of data to find patterns and insights that uncover opportunities for strategic direction.
In order to analyze data you have to have the data. So it’s about acquiring the right data – both offline and online.
- Who are you aiming to reach with your communication?
- Where is the best place to reach them?
- Are they active on several different platforms?
- What kind of content are they looking for in each place?
- What content gets response and engagement?
- Do they talk about different topics on different platforms?
- What are they saying – about you and your competitors?
- How do they see you – what is the perception about your brand?
- What needs do they have?
- What problems are they trying to solve?
- Who are the influencers that will help you spread this message?
- Which are the best media outlets and social networks to distribute your content?
- Did the campaign reach your goals?
PR Tech Tools
Collecting and analyzing data requires either many hours of back-breaking manual work and endless Excel spreadsheets, or a set of tools that can help you do this work. There are many smart tools available that can help you find, gather and analyze the data you want.
They range from inexpensive all the way up to enterprise services that require a big budget. So there are tools for every business – it’s not only for the Fortune 100. For example Sendible is a great place to start. Their lowest subscription level is $59 a month and it does much more than just the data gathering and analytics. Watch this video of a recent webinar I did with them on how to use Sendible in the 10 step strategy
If you want more sophisticated PR analytics look at AirPR. And learn to use Google Analytics.