Deirdre Breakenridge, Adjunct Professor at NYU and CEO of Pure Performance Communications, was part of the panel on PR and Big Data at the PRSA conference in Philadelphia in October 2013.With powerful monitoring and social media intelligence tools, pulling and analyzing large sets of data, “big data” is seen as the future of public relations. However, using the information to create actionable insights has been a challenge for communications professionals.
Why is big data so important for the future of PR? Here are 5 ways it is changing the future of PR:
1. Everything online can be measured. There is mountain of data available and we’re going to be expected to make sense of it for the clients and C-suite.
2. Clients and the C-suite want actionable insights, not mountains of unevaluated data. PR professionals must become more proficient at interpreting data and statistics. You have to know what it all means and how to extract actionable insights from the data.
3. Contrary to what most people think, data doesn’t stifle creativity – it unleashes it. When you understand what the data in telling you, insights bubble up. A content strategy based on analytics is much more effective than one based on “bright ideas” that might not work.
4. Smart PR professionals can apply big data in new ways. One example is crisis communications. Being able to research the players in a situation can help you avoid future problems. It can guide decisions. Having your finger on the pulse of the online conversations can identify threats as they arise. It could also provide an opportunity to defuse a situation that otherwise might explode in social media.
5. Data can provide insights into messaging and positioning. Our audiences don’t always see us as we think they do. When we know what people are interested in, what they’re looking for and what problems they’re trying to solve, our content can be much more effective.
I’ve been in public relations for 30 years and I am an APR – that means I have been Accredited in PR by the Public Relations Society of America. Over the last ten years I have immersed myself in new technology and most of my work today is as a social media coach to PR executives, PR agencies and new PR graduates. I won PR Trainer of the Year in 2009 for my Social Media Bootcamp classes …
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