There is no reason that communications professionals can’t take advantage of the movement towards “big data”. Here are five reasons why you should jump in now.
Look for the idea icon for practical ways to jump in.
1. Gain credibility in your executives’ eyes.
- “Trust us – we’re right” isn't as strong as showing you are right. Speaking a numbers language can help.
- Organizations that are themselves data-focused, such as engineering, health, infrastructure – are used to seeing a language that proves the point. Deliver this to your executives by translating what you do and what you’ve accomplished into a language that they speak.
- There are very few things that a PR or GR person can learn so fast with such big impacts. Tools like Tableau, Google Trends, Sysomos – these are all tools you can learn in hours not weeks and almost immediately start seeing patterns and gaining insights.
3. Learn something new.
Learning is now lifelong! Book 1 hour a week to jump in and learn something new – and apply it to a real project. You will learn new insights, improving your strategy and planning. Professional communications professionals build on our experience with each project or client. Data-driven PR helps us gain even more insights, faster. It’s a great place to start before you begin your strategy.
Questions to ask:
- What exactly is your audience talking about and what vocabulary are they using? What are they searching for when they want information about your topic?
- Are there emerging stakeholder groups you aren’t aware of?
- Are there some new relationships between different organizations?
- Who else is out there with similar programs?
- Which government policy announcements are resonating with which communities or groups?
4. Empower your up-and-coming staff.
- Analyzing information is something newer professionals can do to expedite their learning and add more value to your team. Easy access to large data sets, such as community relations outreach lists or downloads of Twitter discussions can be analyzed using new and easy software tools by up-and-coming staff now.
- Of course a team that includes those with deep experience as well boosts the value up higher, but analytics tools can really empower newer team members by giving them a chance to provide more strategic advice in the form of insights. Tools like Tableau are easy to learn and apply if you have an Excel data set.
Ask newer professionals to search for and monitor social media content on a breaking issue, then have them run analytics daily to see how it changes. Start asking them where they think the story will go next. Ask them to highlight what they see stakeholders saying and analyze what changes as the issue develops.
5. Confirm if your campaign or program is working.
- Did we do better this year versus last?
- Are there some learnings mid-campaign we should be applying?
- Measuring the success of projects using data collection and analysis can show you if your approach is working.
- And you can check part way through the campaign, not just at the end.
Data-driven PR is our future as communications professionals. Jump in. The water is warm and you will enjoy it! And contact Coast Communications and Public Affairs if you want help.