Adapting to a Data-Driven PR World

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Today more than ever before, communication professionals have the ability to understand their audiences and the channels and messaging that will engage them…and it’s all thanks to data. Data provides brands insights that inform their campaigns and strategies and show what’s working and what isn’t.

But this shift to data-driven insights has not been entirely smooth.

“PR has a strong disregard for data,” says MindShare UK social media head Mat Morrison. “It doesn’t benefit when the data is accurate – it benefits when the data tells the story it needs to tell.”

While acquiring data can be easy, finding the data that is accurate and supports your brand’s work, mission and goals is more complex.

You need to do more than find data; you need to find the right data. And the only way to do this is by learning the right way to measure, choosing metrics based on your goals and using the right technology.

Embracing the Information Age


What if you could predict whether or not a campaign would be successful before it even launched? That’s what data and analytics allow you to do.

Of course, there is never a 100 percent, foolproof-method to predicting success. But with data on your side, you have a much better chance at being right than your gut instincts alone do.

Consider President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. The campaign team focused on social data and analytics to determine the effectiveness of their efforts and understand what messages were resonating. By analyzing social media response, they were able to change messaging where needed in order to meet the needs of their target audience. They let data inform their campaign strategy, which ultimately led to winning the election.

If you understand what messaging your audience will respond to, you can adapt your strategy to better connect with your targets – and deliver the right message at the right time.

Shifting Skill Sets


When you first began a career in public relations and communication, did you do so to steer clear of science and math? It may have seemed like a safe bet, but there’s more overlap today than you think.

Today’s communication professionals need to be just as knowledgeable about data collection and measurement as they are about creativity and building relationships. Those who can excel at both will find success, while others will be left behind, scrambling to keep up.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to go back and get a bachelor’s degree in mathematics (although hiring someone with this type of background may be beneficial to your team). You should, however, invest in some self-education.

Take online classes, find a mentor or read thought leadership on the subjects that challenge you. Sites like PRSA, PRWeek, AMEC and Cision offer informative resources that can guide communicators on everything from which metrics to use to how to implement them.

An Abundance of Data


There is more data available to communicators today than there ever has been. But all that data can be overwhelming. There are insights to be gleaned, but how do you find them?

Sorting through the data manually would be a nightmare. Luckily, there is technology and tools that can do it for you. Integrated, holistic tools, such as Cision’s software, can gather and slice and dice data across platforms and mediums as well as by campaign. Finding a solution that fits your needs is critical in making sure you’re identifying and analyzing the right data.

With the right technology on your side, you’ll be able to find evidence to prove your campaign’s value, pinpoint areas for improvement and tie your public relations to the bottom line. Data-driven PR is here, and if you don’t make data a priority, your brand risks becoming irrelevant.

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Images via Pixabay: 1, 2, 3, 4

About Cision Contributor

This post was written by a guest Cision contributor.

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