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The Rising Role of Data in PR

8 August 2022 at 3:05 pm
Madi Holloway
It’s time to put data in the driving seat in public relations, to ensure strategies are truly insight-driven and performance is properly measured.

Madi Holloway | 8 August 2022 at 3:05 pm


The Rising Role of Data in PR
8 August 2022 at 3:05 pm

It’s time to put data in the driving seat in public relations, to ensure strategies are truly insight-driven and performance is properly measured.

We live in a data-driven world, providing businesses with the capabilities to generate real-time insights to optimise performance. And while public relations (PR) has been a traditionally creative discipline, the industry is putting data in the driver’s seat to enhance creative storytelling, generate insight-driven strategies and measure campaign performance.

Here are four ways to leverage data in PR:

  1. Uncover insights to understand your audience 

Understanding your audience is the first step to PR success, and a data-driven approach can help you achieve this. Analytics tools like Google Analytics and social media monitoring tools like Hootsuite can help you get to know your audience beyond just who they are. These tools help uncover industry trends and details about your audience, including how they interact with your business/organisation and the type of content and messages that resonate with them.

Audience awareness drives connection and relatability. Like any relationship, the more you know someone, the more you can connect and build relatability and trust. So before diving into any PR activity, leverage data to get to know your audience so you can tailor communications to them. Because ultimately, any strategy or tactic will not be successful unless it is in front of the right people in a way they understand.

  1. Draw on data to tell your story

Drawing on data and insights when developing an earned media strategy can help create a strong news hook and ensure you’re targeting relevant journalists.

You can use data to predict news cycles and interest, identify trending topics, and pinpoint the media outlets and journalists covering those topics. It’s important to track the media outlets that mention your company, products, or services to ensure a targeted approach.

Data also enables you to craft a compelling narrative backed by facts, and as a result, you are more likely to generate media cut-through. So, when constructing your story, look at how you can incorporate existing data or how you could pull data from surveys or analytics tools.

Data-led content is of high value because it provides insight and allows your target audience to extract value. Numbers and facts help convey information by adding context and meaning. They help build credibility and encourage your audience to be convinced by your point of view. For example,   uses statistical evidence to highlight that Australians want brands to use their power for real word change.

Another benefit of data-driven storytelling is its versatility. It can be incorporated and repurposed in many external and internal communication channels, such as annual reports, website content, white papers, social media posts and more. This means data-storytelling can be used through more than an earned media component of a strategy.

  1. Allow metrics to inform your influencer-marketing strategy

Influencer marketing is increasingly becoming a vital part of many PR strategies. It has become a powerful tool to raise awareness, as social media influencers provide a valuable way to reach new and existing audiences with credibility and authority.

Being data-driven begins with choosing influencers. For example, if you want to reach Gen-Z women in Melbourne, you may assume that a 20-year-old influencer based in Melbourne is a good fit for your campaign. But, once you analyse the data using a tool like Klear, you might find that only 10 per cent of their followers live in Melbourne.

You can also look at an influencer’s specific interests and content performance to help identify influencers that will resonate with your target audience and help you achieve your KPIs. Once the influencer activation is complete, you can measure success through metrics like content reach, impressions, engagement, or website traffic via trackable links.

According to Beatly, the purpose of collecting data is to measure how well influencers are performing on their own, but also to understand how the campaign is doing in its entirety. The information is later used to calculate your return on investment (ROI) and to optimise future campaigns.

  1. Analyse data to measure campaign success in real time

The digitisation of the PR industry has provided access to data and monitoring tools that make it possible to accurately look at campaign results. Not only does this help with goal setting for future campaigns, but data also enables the ability to be agile and make changes to current campaigns where necessary.

For example, when you send out a media pitch, be sure to look at data available to measure success. Identify how many people opened the email and clicked on the link via media monitoring platforms like Meltwater – data may even suggest your headline or targets may need tweaking. For media coverage, track the effectiveness through data that indicates total reach, brand mentions, earned media value and share of voice.

As Prowly identified, “the right metrics combined with a clear goal can show you where you should be spending your time and resources, helping you to create an ongoing and effective PR machine”.

Fifty Acres embraces the use of analytics tools that provide valuable insights to assist their clients. If you need help with crisis management, strategic communications planning, media outreach, or government engagement – we’re here to help. We have award-winning expertise and experience in helping not for profits and community-based organisations to tell their stories. We really care about what we do, and we do extraordinary things. Get in touch today at

Madi Holloway  |  @ProBonoNews

Madi Holloway is a senior account executive at Fifty Acres.

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