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Data and PR: it’s time we had a serious chat

Posted by Danny Whatmough on 30th November 2012

Nine out of every ten press releases contain some sort of statistic. My sample might only have been a handful of releases observed on a popular newswire service, but I’m almost 100% certain it’s accurate. PR and data go together like Christmas and tinsel.

There’s good reason for this. When attempting to persuade or influence someone – a core component of many PR activities – providing evidence is a highly convincing tactic. But simply popping a stat into a press release seriously fails to fulfil the potential effect of data.

Of course, infographics are a good example of what is possible. I like a good infographic as much as the next person but, as with every overused new trend, infographics are losing some of their impact.

At the PRCA annual conference last week, there was a keynote presentation from Peter Barron from Google. He spoke about how the search engine is opening up access to its data through applications like Google Trends.

He also talked about some of the data work that is being done by journalists, citing the excellent Guardian Data Blog as a shining example of what is possible.

The ability to analyse and present data in new ways is a huge opportunity for PR professionals. Whether by providing a journalist with access to raw data so they can work collaboratively to tell an interesting and unique story, or by developing applications that facilitate better understanding of the data you are looking to share.

A good example of this is some work we’ve done recently for one of our clients. We wanted to present complicated information in a way that would allow users to interact with the raw data and obtain insights specific to them and the work they are doing. You can see the microsite here.

Data is a fantastic raw tool and will always remain an integral part of many PR campaigns. But blend in a little creative and innovation and your data could go a lot, lot further.

Danny Whatmough