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Online data and PR

The basics for public relations professionals


Online data is booming. With big data being a hot topic and public relations professionals being pressured to deliver measurable results, online data can not be ignored anymore. When you have set up your PR strategy and efforts without considering using online data, it may be challenging to incorporate this new way of thinking. How do you go about it?

Why use online data for PR?

Let’s start with the most important question, why should you care? Simply put, using online data before you start a new campaign “greatly improves the chance your efforts will turn out to be worthwhile” as Alexander de Ruiter mentioned during PR is Key 2017. Next to that, most companies have online data already available, they just lack the knowledge and tools to effectively use it. Invest some time to set up using online data and you can increase the chances of success dramatically.

How to gather online data

Online data can be gathered on different platforms and using different tools. Which data to gather may be very specific for your organization and business goals, though there are some pointers to take into account. Engagement and followers on social media, visitors to your website, the amount of time spent on your website, the type and amount of data collected in your information database, percentage of opened newsletters among others may be good metrics to use. Perhaps if you are interested in how your PR efforts are being received, an interview or questionnaire may be a good idea. To find out more about measuring PR results quantitatively and qualitatively, check out Measuring PR success in terms of quantity and quality.

Google Analytics is a widely used tool to track the behaviour of visitors to your website. Engagement on social media platforms can be tracked on quite a few platforms directly, like on the Facebook Page dashboard, or using different tools like Cision and OBI4WAN. Facebook provides a lot of personal information about the people who like your post, which is valuable information you can use to tailor your message to the preferences of your audience. Check the tools and platforms you are currently using to see what data is already available. You might find a little gold mine! Just make sure the data you are using is valuable and complete to ensure a clear outcome of your research.

How to use online data to improve your PR strategy

Once you have found online data on the platforms and tools you are using, or you have conducted research to gather this data, it is time to take the next step. How are you going to use this data to actually improve your PR efforts?

Firstly, create some overview in the data you have gathered. If you are able to group the data in a few bullet points, you will have some structure to work with. Using pivot tables is a great way to get insight in your online data, ‘How to create a pivot table in Excel’ is a great tutorial to get you started.

Secondly, ask yourself questions such as who is consuming your content, in what ways are they consuming this content, when are they doing this, what content performed very well or poorly, and what is the overall sentiment surrounding your business? By answering these questions using the data you gathered, you are able to use the data to create in-depth insight in your audience and PR efforts.

After that, use the data driven answers to your questions to revisit the content you are producing, the times you are posting, the platforms you are distributing your message to and how you are trying to support the business goals. Are you reaching the right audiences and are you doing that in a way they like to be addressed?

Finally, use all these valuable insights when creating a new campaign or new content, or even create models to optimize your strategy. Set clear goals and expectations for your campaign based on the data driven answers to the research questions. Monitor how the campaign is doing by continuously gathering new data, and finetune the campaign when needed, to improve the results. Not only will you increase the chances of success, you will also be able to pinpoint exactly what is going on with your PR efforts using clear data and numbers. This insight will prove valuable to both PR professionals who want to improve their efforts and their management teams who are curious to see what the results of the PR strategy are.

About PressPage

PressPage provides a SaaS PR platform with additional services for creation of advanced social newsrooms, virtual press centers and online media hubs. It enables brands to publish and distribute rich content, and provides direct insights into the results. PressPage empowers PR professionals by adding efficiency and effectiveness to their daily work routine.