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Data analytics for public relations

By Noell Ochieng

Which analytics matter most in PR? How do I know what to measure?

Data analytics for public relations is an important part of PR.

Within the business world, the volume and velocity of data continues to command attention. In the public relations sphere, knowing what to focus on, given the data analysis capabilities available in the crowd of business software applications, can be overwhelming.


You’re telling a story

Fortunately, you don’t need a doctorate in mathematics to use and apply analytics. Your data tells a story. As story-weavers, PR professionals know their narrative – where it’s been, where it’s leading and who the main actors are. With that in mind, the first step in using data wisely is to know your story details, like current baselines and desired outcomes. Everything else, including what future data you collect, stems from these initial tasks.


Notice the trees in the forest

Three people are walking through a forest. The first person approaches a fir tree and exclaims, “This is perfect!” The other two people look askance at the first and keep walking. The second person eventually places his hand on a maple, lovingly pats it and reaches for a tag to mark it. The third person keeps walking, and walking and walking. Finally, she reaches the end of the forest, not having found her ideal tree.


Why didn’t these people choose the same tree? Each had a clearly defined purpose. The first person was looking for a Christmas tree and found exactly what she needed. The second person was scouting for a tree to tap for maple syrup. However, it’s December and maples run sap in the spring. Planning ahead, he marked it so he’ll know where to go when the time is right. And the third person? Well, she was looking for bamboo. She won’t find bamboo in a northern deciduous forest. Unfortunately, she wasted her time and effort looking for a resource that was unavailable in that location. She knew what she needed; however, she lacked crucial information to act on that need.


Get granular; seek buy-in

Your analytics efforts must begin with an inventory of what information you have. Do you already use amazing analytics software that can evaluate a year of your company’s social media engagement rate by platform? Can you convert that engagement to leads? Maybe the bounce rate on your company home page shows a fall-off pattern when certain conditions are in place, leading to loss of lead capture. Don’t be afraid to drill down and across silos for increasingly granular data aggregation.


Examining the data you already have puts you in the position to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses and use them to frame a goal statement based on company objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs). Getting input from cross-functional decision-makers helps ensure your goal has C-level support and buy-in. The more specific your goal, the better. After all, the fir-tree seeker didn’t look for just any fir. She needed a tree between 6 and 7 feet tall, symmetrical, having at least 99 percent deep-green needles under an inch in length and with a straight trunk leading to a tip on top. Those conditions, when met, measured success.


How Axia Public Relations measures PR results.


The PR pros at Axia Public Relations are experts at understanding and applying data to increase your audience engagement and ultimately grow your business. Contact us today and download Axia’s complimentary inbound marketing guide for tips on increasing online traffic and converting customers without using outdated methods, like cold calling, that are inefficient and ineffective.

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Clients love Noell’s high tech PR and instructional design experience. She earned her Master of Science in information technology management and business analytics from University of North Carolina. Noell has worked with Axia since November 2017.

Topics: public relations, PR tips, measurement, earned media

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