Why PR professionals need to become more like data analysts

To work in the PR industry you need to be outgoing, thick skinned and above all tenacious. Any PR executive will tell you that calling newspapers, particularly national publications, any time close to deadline can result in a barrage of abuse.

What may sound even stranger is that the role of the PR professional is now increasingly calling for data to be interpreted. On the whole, we’ve always been good at shouting about what our clients are doing but somehow we never quite hit the mark in shouting about our own worth or indeed proving it.

PR has traditionally been measured with AVE but now conversations are much more centred around Return on Investment (ROI) and hitting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)- two completely different beasts entirely.

The days of clipping a piece of coverage, working out the AVE and editorial value and giving it to a client are over. They want us to drill deeper and show value beyond that of what it would have cost them to buy the space in the paper.

My point is that, in an economy where every spend has to be justified, the PR profession needs to be a little less shy about showing our true worth and where we add value. To do this we need data; sign ups generated from press releases by using unique URLs, social media analytics, click through rates to specific web pages and such. We then need to be able to interpret the data and track it back to a point of action carried out by the PR team in order to show a clear link between the activity carried out, the key message delivered and the results generated.

This is where we can claim our space on the invoice list and justify our worth to clients looking to tighten their belts. This how we can ensure that the industry is at the forefront of pushing businesses along the path to growth.

The shift to digitalisation has made it easier for PR pros to access the data and we should, as an industry, be focusing on this new method of reporting in order to show the true worth of PR. We don’t necessarily need to work harder, just work smarter.