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How to use data in a digital PR campaign

By Maria Potter, digital executive

Using data is key to shaping a PR campaign, making sure it reaches your intended audience and brings in the results you want. A robust digital strategy can go hand in hand with traditional PR techniques like solid storytelling, networking and creative content. Picking up on elements like trending topics and high-volume search phrases can bump your content up the rankings and catch the eye of journalists looking for reactive pieces. It also brings reliability, authority and context to your ideas.

Successful digital PR campaigns use data sets that might look like a list of meaningless numbers at first glance, and turn them into key insights that shape your digital strategy. An effective campaign links up social media metrics, trends, analytical site information, and keyword data to create a targeted approach towards brand awareness, driving traffic and leads or conversions.

Which data sources are useful for digital PR campaigns?


There are many potential data sources for PR campaigns, from national surveys to freedom of information (FOI) requests and internal analytics. Below are a few key tools that are useful for gathering and analysing data for digital campaigns, both at the outset of developing ideas and gathering statistics once a campaign has launched.

Keyword optimisation/search volume tools

Certain tools will allow you to find the keywords, phrases and gaps you should be looking to rank for. Many of these tools also offer rank tracking and competitor analysis, which will collate average word count, keywords, headings and media that you should be looking to include in your piece. Some tools also feature copy optimisation tools to help you get the most from your feature.

Google Trends

This tool is particularly useful for finding reactive topics and trending searches that are growing in popularity year after year. You can narrow down the searches to geographical regions and specific time periods.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics collects data from across a website and/or app to provide insights into a variety of metrics such as time on page, source, bounce rate and more… You can also create custom reports to collect data that’s useful for your particular campaign.

Free data sources

Using resources such as The Office for National Statistics, YouGov,, local council websites and other similar services can offer a wealth of useful starting points for content creation and backing up your stories. Journalists love data, so get to love it too.

How to use data to inform digital PR campaign strategies


1. Use current data sources

When looking for statistics to support your campaign, start with credible data from reliable sources that is current and up-to-date. The majority of search volume tools will give data broken down by month, so you can see when searches peak year on year.

Google Trends will allow you to be even more granular, allowing you to see real-time daily trending searches and even hourly trends. Any key increases or decreases could be of interest to journalists.

2. Decide which metrics matter most

Too much data can be overwhelming, even for the most digital-literate marketer. The first step is to decide which metrics are most important and relevant for your client. Better to have a quality dataset over sheer quantity. Does your client want to focus on high search engine results page rankings? Increasing their brand awareness? Driving sales to their website? Keeping these goals at the forefront of your campaign will help you to understand what success looks like. Basic metrics you might want to consider tracking:

  • Page views
  • Time on page
  • Traffic sources
  • Page views per session
  • Bounce rate
  • Conversion rate

Ultimately, the importance of a metric depends on what actions you want users to complete while on your site. If you want users to download a resource, click on a link or play a video, you will need to track this event.

Data can also help you to decide which avenues to pursue and what to focus on. You might want to start by asking questions such as -which channels are getting the most engagement so far for this brand? What types of content bring in the most traffic to the site? Where do users fall off in their journey and abandon their transactions?

3. Conduct a website audit and competitor analysis

Determining where your client’s brand sits in the market before you start the campaign will help you to decide on a course of action. A thorough examination of their standing in search engine rankings for industry-related keywords, their website usability, domain authority and how they stand up to competitors will all influence your campaign.

Improving the user experience, website search engine optimisation – SEO – and brand authority will all feed into improved traffic and positive associations with the brand.

4. Target the right audience

From the outset, your campaign should be tailored to your client’s target audience and reach them where they live. Targeting different age groups, income brackets, genders and so on… might also influence the format of your content, the themes and topics you cover and how you seek to engage your audience.

Google Analytics will give you an idea of user behaviour, how they find your content and come to your site. If your client wants to target a new audience, it might be worth exploring different social platforms and ways to promote your stories to the right people, through the right publications and media outlets.

5. Tailor your content using keywords and phrases

Using the right title or optimising your standfirst to ‘sell’ your content effectively could be the difference between securing the top spot or not.

Creating features or comment pieces on trending topics or creating your own newsworthy story around a data trend you’ve recognised creates instant relevance. Having stats to hang your content on and to back up your statements also makes it easier for journalists to find the hook in your story.

Using keyword tools can help you to identify high to mid-volume gaps where your client’s brand could start ranking. Taking a tactical approach to keywords and balancing volume vs competition will give you the best chance of success.

6. Measure KPIs

Once you’ve created a consistent, multi-channel digital PR strategy, make sure that you’re keeping track of your dataset. Setting up customised reports in Google Analytics and feeding them through a visualisation tool such as Data Studio or Power BI will help to display the data in a digestible way.

Implementing KPI tracking from the start and making sure all your campaign data is being recorded in the right format could save you a lot of time further down the line. Track all your campaigns using UTMs which are linked to your analytics. From there, you can see how many users were brought to the client’s site as a result and how many conversions took place.

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