Today’s PR students must take endless writing classes, read through textbooks about public relations strategy, and understand the theories of communication.
Many students are happy to oblige by these school requirements, but there’s one extremely important skill many students make a face at when mentioned: measuring statistics and data.
Analytics, or in its most basic terms, math, is an extremely important skill every PR and marketing student should know. The days of being a student at Boston University’s (jokingly called) “College of Optional Math” are over.
Here are five reasons why every PR major needs to know analytics:
- Success has to be measured: So you’ve gotten exposure in The New York Times. That’s awesome. But what does it mean? How much exposure does that equate to? When you’re building a PR or marketing campaign, you don’t just “wing it.” You come up with a game plan that has tangible results. Building your campaign off of numbers is the easiest way to measure success. Once you have those data benchmarks set, all you have to do is figure the work that needs to be done to reach those goals.
- Percentages and stats speak louder than fluffy results: Getting exposure in a few small blogs sounds like a minor success, but they do have the potential to sound more impressive if presented differently. Being able to say you delivered over one million impressions and understanding how you measured those impressions is just as, if not more important than, where you got those impressions from. This idea can also be displayed on your resume as well. There’s something to be said for someone who not just successfully pitched Mashable.com, but can also say they gained a 300% increase in exposure for their client’s product at their internship.
- Clients speak in numbers (and Dollars): Business, at the end of day, comes down to one key stat – profit. While you think your guerilla marketing campaign is super creative and will gain a lot of buzz, your client only cares about one thing – how much will it cost me and how much will I end up making from this promotion? As a PR professional or marketing manager, you have to keep this concern in mind. Make sure your campaigns can pull in the types of numbers your client will understand. Otherwise, you may have a hard time keeping business.
- We live in an online world where data is king: Social media and the Internet have transformed the communication landscape. In an e-World, data is constantly at our fingertips. If you’re interested in marketing on sites like Facebook or Twitter, you need to know how to measure impressions, clicks, CTR, and CPA (to name a few). It’s just as important as engaging with your fans and creating a dialogue.
- Being able to understand data gives you an edge in the job market: Those who can measure success are at a key advantage over those who don’t. Nearly every hiring manager I’ve ever spoken to has mentioned the importance of this skill. Remember that having analytical knowledge can be the difference between your next job and your next job interview.
Today’s PR practitioners and marketing professionals need to know analytics. It’s needed to measure success and prove your ideas are worthwhile. It can be the gateway to your next job offer too.
Don’t think analytics and data are important for PR folks? Comment below. I’d love to hear your reasons why.