Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Enhancing Public Relations with Data

The Internet is bristling with stories, event announcements and discussions on two topics involving data analysis: Big Data and Data Journalism. Both topics were covered in detail at a recent media conference in Moscow.

The former topic is generally attributed to marketing activities and features mostly non-public analysis of huge chunks of data generated by people and machines. The latter is positioned as a public service and sometimes even as savior of journalism.

It is widely accepted that today's PR practitioners need to possess marketing and journalistic skills. Therefore, data should already be used to enhance public relations activities in organizations and companies.

My advice is to go all the way with data. If you plan to disclose a list of people, products or facilities with contact information and other useful bits, why not do it in an application-friendly format? There are journalistic tools for extracting data from PDF files or websites, so don't even try to protect them from third-party analysis by presenting information as in print. In-house abbreviations for countries, as in the winners list of a prominent PR award won't be much of a problem either.

No wonder that organizers of major media conferences have been disclosing participant lists for years. A good example is the World Newspaper Congress.

I hope PR events' counterparts will follow media's lead soon, helping us, practitioners, in making public relations a more productive activity.

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