22 Jan Why communicators should cook with a recipe
It’s one of those things you often hear when a group of PRs are trying to split a bill at dinner or balance a budget – ‘I don’t have a numbers brain, give me words any day!’ It used to be funny, but without being able to use data and analytics – things that are inherently numbers driven – PRs are doing their work a disservice. They’re struggling to prove its value.
Within and outside of PR roles and agencies, the whole thing can be a bit like cooking without a recipe, Jamie Oliver style: a bit of press release here, some Tweets there, a sprinkle of content and “lovely jubbly,” job done!
It’s an approach that doesn’t exactly prove the value of what we do, so how can we fix it?
Data and measurement, the ‘numbers’ some PRs joke about hating, are the things that help recognise the effectiveness of any communications activity. What’s more, that data shouldn’t just be used to measure the outcomes, but also in the planning stages and to adjust programs when they’re underway.
In short, a successful communications and PR strategy needs to be developed, adjusted and measured with data. With the explosion of data measurement tools across the different marketing disciplines, make sure you take a broad view of what options you’ve got:
- Data owned by the brand. Think website analytics like new, unique and returning visitors and how they correlate to the communications activity you’re doing. Try a few different tools to find the one that gives you what you need, but some suggestions:
- Data from research. Audience sentiment, purchase intent and communications activity recall are just three types to keep in mind. There are myriad research companies out there who can help, but some of the ones that regularly work with the communications industry:
The impact of proper measurement tools on the communications industry also breathe life into areas you might not expect. Your press releases and media releases are two examples where data can give you headlines that better resonate with your audiences by assessing their performance in driving traffic to your website for instance.
So make 2015 the year the industry adds more rigour to the way it works by using numbers, data and measurement to design, adapt and measure activity. You can bet your campaign will come up “pukka”, as Jamie would say.