While it is easier than ever to gain wide-ranging insights about consumers by harnessing massive sets of “big data”, to be successful at public relations it is still essential to tell fact-based stories about brands, products and services.
People are immune to hype and they quickly move on when marketing initiatives are full of targeted and sales-y language. Use data to first gauge, and then to build an integrated marketing campaign that is focused on fact-based storytelling.
The insights gleaned from the data created by consumers and stakeholders already engaging with a brand tell us what your constituents want to know, and they validate market trends. Big data even informs us on what types of stories are being talked about.
So, how can you leverage data-substantiated trends in a PR campaign?
Look for patterns, connections and themes that allow you to begin building “spin-free” stories about the product, its users, the company’s culture, and the brand in and of itself. We form those stories into pitches, hone in on the messaging, and then start conversations with editors, reporters, bloggers, and influencers.
For example, when you tell people that 78% of Facebook users are mobile users, they remember that. Furthermore, Big Data, and big numbers, are content catalysts that help tell awesome stories. Statistical data validates your story and your pitch.
In order to measure the success of your marketing and PR efforts and to further hone in, experiment and test again, you can harness big data to assess all of your paid, earned and word of mouth efforts.
Here are some tools you can use to watch trends:
Apollo Research: http://www.apolloresearch.com/
Google Keyword Tool: http://www.googlekeywordtool.com/
Google Trends Tool: http://www.google.com/trends/
(I’ll expand on how to measure ROI on earned, paid and word of mouth marketing in a follow-up.)