How to Get Comfortable With Data Even If You Don’t Love Math

A Guest Post By Kelly Byrd, PR Engineer, AirPR

Kelly Bryd, PR Engineer, AirPRPublic relations is undoubtedly an art, but it is also a science. With the growth of PRTech options for Big Data tracking and measurement, a knowledge of and comfort with that science has become imperative for leading PR professionals.

Being an employee of AirPR, I strongly believe that thoughtful use of data is essential to success. As I’ve noted, knowledge of how to collect, analyze, and interpret data allows for the identification of metrics based on past successes and failures, rather than subjective determinations of success.

All this Big Data may seem like it’d be a big pain if you’re not a well-versed analytics user, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Here are three ways to get comfortable with data even if you don’t love math.

  1. Decide What to Focus on Before You View the Data

There are many data points and metrics that PR pros can focus on. Before you get into the information, think of your customer journey and the points along that journey that are purposefully affected by PR. Then, focus on the metrics tied to those areas. This will give you a greater understanding of what you’re viewing and how it relates to your business. Focusing on these items also makes the data easier to report from the very beginning, allowing you to prove extended PR value.

  1. When Expanding Beyond That Focus, Allow the Data to Guide Your Discovery

When data does not show what was expected, many do not accept it as true. However, if regular use of data beyond placement volume and social amplification is new, or if you’re looking at data from new sources such as your website analytics, it is likely that there will be several interesting aspects of what you see. Dig into these points of interest to uncover further information and possibly insights that can be applied to future work.

  1. Incorporate Regular View and Use of Data Into Your Workflow

This one seems obvious, but it is an important reminder. The more you look at data, the more comfortable you’ll be using it. This use is not just about measuring success, it is also to inform strategy. Using the vast data available to public relations teams can unearth lessons for strategic development and help to create a cyclical process of analysis. Once you change your perspective on measurement from “reporting results” to “a guide for next steps” the entire process may even become exciting. (I hope you’ll agree it is!)

Without adding the science to the art of PR we miss important opportunities to tell compelling stories, impact audiences more effectively, and ultimately prove the value of PR. Don’t let your brand miss out!

As a PR Engineer at AirPR, Kelly works with customers to ensure that they are extracting the most value from their PR analytics, insights, and measurement platform.