Data, Data, Everywhere

28 Feb Data, Data, Everywhere

Lets talk about big data because, well, everyone else seems to be.

Many PR professionals I know tend to stress about big data for no other reason than there is so much of it, and they don’t know how to use it effectively. So, where do we start? Lets begin with the basics:

There are two main uses for big data in PR: planning and storytelling.

Using big data, PR pros can create data-driven client reports and strategies based on results from previous campaigns. Identifying which types of posts got the most attention, which blogs received the most clicks, and which garnered the most engagement is invaluable for coming up with strategies that resonate with your target audiences.

Your client has been aggregating usable data for as long as they’ve been online. Taking a look at this data and how it has changed over time makes it easier to create compelling stories about growth, industry change, and market trends.

Lucky for all of us who are better with words than data analysis, there are free tools available that make using big data for PR and social media planning much easier.

Okay cool — but how do I get that data? 

Google has great tools for collecting and analyzing your data, and while these metrics aren’t new, they are often under-utilized in our industry.

Google’s analytics platform measures every what, when, where, why, and how of your site visitors. These stats go a step beyond social media’s “vanity metrics” and track the assisted social conversations throughout the entire search and engagement process. Using that data, you can determine what an audience liked or disliked on the pages you manage, and in turn influence future outcomes. For example, you can incorporate the key words that resonated with your audiences into future pitches, outreach, and social media posts.

Google’s Databoard application is the company’s way of sharing insights gained from Google research studies. It also has capabilities that allow you to create custom visual representations of your clients’ data for reports or shareable infographics that will drive your target audiences back to your website.

I’m actually embarrassed to say that I just started using Google Trends, an awesome tool that lets you pull data about everything from Miley Cyrus to the most-searched chemical elements. Using this tool you can enter in your search term and track data trends by region, interest over time, and related information.

The point is, our job in PR doesn’t end with a placement or creation of collateral like a white paper. That one piece of content can go so much farther by using big data analytics to create new pitches, infographics, or posts. Across the board, PR pros now have an opportunity to use data not just to create compelling stories, but to support positive business outcomes.

Sally McHugh
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