How Big Data Fits Into Public Relations

I bet you’re sick of hearing about how awesome big data is. I really can’t fault you there, yet the undeniable fact still remains: Big data works! I know, I know—I’m sorry, but we really should talk more about it. But this time, let’s talk about big data as it pertains to public relations.

 

Yes, big data can be and is used in public relations, and is becoming almost a necessity in the industry. Since a PR agencies key role is to provide their clients with the best coverage and media placement imaginable, we as public relations specialists need to stay current on the best industry strategies and solutions. Big data is a universal development that can be implemented into PR campaigns to better a client’s position. Here are five ways PR firms can use big data to increase media coverage, and equally as important, increase client happiness!

 

 

1. Stay Atop of the Trends

 

If you’re not using social media as a publicity tool, then boy are you behind the times! And if you’re not using big data to better orchestrate your social media campaigns, then listen up! PR agencies can use big data to analyze and track when certain hashtags will be trending based on past triggers, and plan their campaign accordingly. They can also recognize what spurs a negative reaction from followers based on past stats, subsequently altering campaigns to avoid these damaging situations. Furthermore, Big Data can help PR professionals regulate tweets and posts based off trending topics, and more efficiently create interest around client products and offers by evaluating which audiences are best to target first.

 

 

2. Numbers Speak Louder than Words

 

Instead of telling you audience that mobile video advertising is increasing, show them! Whether it be percentages or hard numbers, giving an audience something tangible to see and read goes a longer way than basic, glossed-over statements. Big data can be a tremendous help with this. Whether it’s by using proprietary data that you created or of which you have exclusive access to; data that obtained through a survey or poll conducted by a market researcher or analyst firm; or data from whitepapers, reports, overviews and other publications accessible on the internet, data can open the audiences eyes to the extent of trends and help support client offerings. Big data is everywhere, and using it to your client’s advantage in articles, social media posts and press releases demonstrates the impact their services can have on an industry in decline or expansion. Take it a step further and use big data to show your clients impact on an industry using numbers in an interesting, even unorthodox, way. For example, if you represent an eHealth app, you can use proprietary numbers to demonstrate the apps success in catching cardiovascular problems, while also using a white paper that gives numbers demonstrating why cardiovascular problems need to be caught early. Let big data prove the point for you!

 

 

3. Dig and Combine

 

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Big data is everywhere! As a PR firm, you should use that to your advantage. If you’re looking for specific data to make a point but the data isn’t all within the same study or white paper, do some digging. Combining data from different sources (while always remembering to site your source!) can give audiences a better look into industry trends. This works especially well if you’re looking for trends ranging over several years, or even ranging over several industries.

 

 

4. Collect Your Own Big Data

 

Social Media is a great way to create your own polls or surveys, especially as the biggest obstacles facing in-house data are price and pool size. Asking a well-orchestrated question to Twitter followers could garner revealing, low-cost information that can in-turn be used to better position a client. Of course the more expensive route is to hire a market researcher to conduct a more extensive survey to gain valuable data points, but if you’re looking for quick way to survey a large audience why not create your own big data? In the same vein, you can use big data to discover how to properly and effectively word certain questions in a company’s favor by looking at past trends.

 

 

5. Learn From Your Actions

 

Let me just say this one more time: Big data is all around you! All those pitches you’ve sent; social media hits you’ve received; and media traffic you’ve created—those all have big data written all over it. By analyzing these points and patterns, your agency can learn from the past and better adopt ways to garner better results in the future. By simply tracking and organizing this data, PR firms can completely transform how they target media for certain clients, as well as how to place certain news pieces to get the best results imaginable.