Data’s Place in the PR World

It’s time for me to combine my two degrees! After studying maths, and focusing on statistics in my final year, I never thought I’d hear about it in my Media and PR degree. But I guess my undergrad is coming in handy.

Throughout my PR course I’ve heard about how it’s often hard to measure how successful a PR campaign is. However, this has changed. Data can be found anywhere on almost anything. We can now use data for campaigns, crisis management, AI and more.

What I’ve learnt is that having an idea of data, how to collect it and how to analyse it is beneficial for your career. Data is huge and will continue to be for years to come.

How is it useful for campaigns?

Data can help us plan for our campaign from the get go. Knowing your target audience’s demographics, habits and engagement can help prepare for a campaign.

You can conduct primary research to find specific data for your campaign. This can include questions that are more relevant to your business or the campaign and more targeted questions for different audiences. Again, conducting primary research after a campaign can open you up to some insightful information about what worked and what didn’t.

On the other hand, you could source secondary data from sites such as the Office for National Statistics and OFCOM to find more broad data. There are are plenty of tools for different things such as Google Analytics, Google Trends, Keyword Search, Answer the Public and plenty of others (the list is endless).

Social media platforms have integrated several tools for analysing your engagement rates. You can see how well your posts are doing across all platforms, the demographics of the people engaging and how these people are accessing your content. BuzzSumo recently analysed headlines across social media platforms to understand what makes a headline engaging.

Using data to prevent a crisis

Now, this isn’t an easy thing to do, especially now that social media turns a crisis global within an hour. But, we can use data to prevent major setbacks. With tricks such as social listening and big data, we can recognise small problems before they become a nightmare. By keeping an eye on what is being said about a brand, we can respond to any concerns and prevent a serious crisis.

Social media allows to see what is being said about a business in real time. Using this information has enabled us to see what is being said about a brand and when it was said.

The future of data in PR

Data is becoming widely used across the PR industry and has been for some time now. With social media continuing to grow in importance, we can only acknowledge how useful data is in all aspects of PR.

Something that I’ve not really delved into is data and artificial intelligence. This is definitely going to be a large part of the PR industry in the future as it is developed it could be used in different aspects of PR.

As a PR professional or graduate, it is beneficial if you have some background knowledge on data, whether that be through working with data in the past or learning how to code and interpret data. Being able to bring that to the table when applying for jobs can give you that extra leg up. I thought my switch from maths to PR was going to knock me down but I’m now confident I can use it to my advantage.

I could talk a lot about big data, statistics and analysing data. If you would like to read this then do let me know in the comments or on my social media!

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