The rapid advancement of analytic technologies and increasing demand for information have touched all aspects of business. Public relations is no exception. Years ago, PR professionals were sought after for their positioning expertise, media relationships and keen storytelling abilities. Although this still holds true, our roles are changing. Now, PR professionals are expected to leverage data to more effectively deliver the right content (both paid and unpaid) to potential customers and partners at the right time, through the right medium.
With advanced analytic platforms, such as Meltwater, Google Analytics and others, PR professionals have a wealth of real-time data to leverage. At Karbo Communications, we have access to media exposure patterns, share of voice, sentiment, social media engagement and audience location—to name just a few metrics at our fingertips. We can identify where target audiences are located, the communication methods and content that they are most receptive to, how our messages are being received and other crucial insights, all with a few clicks of a button.
While data plays a crucial role in informing PR efforts and creating improved targeting, positioning and performance assessment, data alone is not the end all be all. For any organization, it’s imperative to work with a data-informed PR partner who understands the value of interpreting data to inform strategy. Gathering data and providing context, as well as strategic and actionable interpretations derived from this information, is where true PR value lies. PR professionals must translate real-time analytical insights to deliver results.
Data also helps streamline the evaluation process by providing clear criteria for the measurement of success. The data-informed PR practitioner looks to data for concrete indicators of success that prove the value of PR, including direct links to how communications increases sales leads and partner inquiries. With these types of quantifiable measurements supporting their communications efforts, PR professionals can demonstrate how they’ve impacted overall business advancement.
The ever-increasing availability of data is disrupting business models and fostering innovation in industries around the world, so it naturally follows that data plays a vital role in PR, as well. Its significance in the field will only continue to grow. Companies must partner with data-informed PR professionals that understand how to collect and interpret relevant data to execute more effective plans.