PR needs to get acquainted with analytics

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It’s no secret that PR professionals have a TON of data available to them at any given time. From social media stats to website traffic, the data is there…they just need to know how to use it.

In Econsultancy’s 2014 Measurement and Analytics Report, researchers found that among “digital business professionals,” using digital analytics tools was said to be one of the top three areas of skills deficiency. Second and third on the list were statistical modeling and conversion rate optimization, respectively. Now we’re not saying that every PR professional needs to become a statistician overnight, but agencies need to take note: PR professionals want (and need) analytics training to be successful at their jobs.

Here at SHIFT, we implement regular training sessions on the basics of data – how to find it, how to measure it and how to devise a strategy around it. Everyone at the company, from high-level executives to interns, is involved in the training process. Want to jumpstart analytics training at your company? Start here…

Figure out the must-knows. The ‘must-knows’ are basic topics and ideas that are imperative to know for every level of employee. For example, understanding Google Analytics won’t happen at once. But a good first step is understanding the terminology – What is a session? What is a goal? Knowing how to talk about data and what the various tools call these metrics is a must-know.

Don’t discriminate based on rank. While upper-level management roles ultimately enforce policies and reporting structures, as well as give strategic insight gleaned from data, it is still important that everyone on the team has similar knowledge on how to find data, what it means and knowing how to incorporate it into your client’s or brand’s PR plan.

Be organized and have a plan. Knowing when and how you’re going to implement your training initiatives (along with who is leading the trainings) is the next step. For people who aren’t used to dealing with numbers and other data points on a regular basis, it can be intimidating. By creating a plan and mapping out your training sessions, you avoid the inevitable data-dump that people will feel if you try and cram too much information into one session. Start slow. Get the must-knows understood first, then dive deeper into the tools and metrics

Be flexible. Digital data and the way you attain it from various networks, tools and channels changes all the time. Be flexible in your trainings and be ready to communicate changes to your team as they arise. Don’t let your team get stuck in the mud with an outdated tool or measurement. There is nothing worse than spending three hours pulling data for a report and finding out later there was a tool that could pull that data in five minutes.

Like we’ve said before, data and analytics don’t have to be scary for PR and communications professionals. In fact, they can make your job much easier and give you the insights needed to reinforce and strengthen your strategy…you just need to take the time to learn the tools!

How do you keep your analytics training up-to-date? Share with us in the comments!

Tori Sabourin
Marketing Analyst

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