‘For practitioners by practitioners’ – PRCA publishes paper tackling data literacy in public relations


The Public Relations and Communications Association’s (PRCA) Innovation Forum has published a new paper showcasing the opportunities for public relations practitioners to harness data to plan, measure and demonstrate their value.

Data Literacy in Public Relations – a series of essays from 11 leading practitioners – aims to elevate understanding of best practice in the use of data in public relations. The essays explore how data informs strategy, decision making, creativity, execution, and measurement. The paper explains how insights can be developed from data and used as a foundation for content and storytelling.

The paper is freely available to public relations and communications professionals. Key themes include: the numbers that matter in public relations, designing a listening and measurement strategy, identifying a public and listening to conversations, the possibilities and limitations that tools present, translating data into insights, building a culture of digital literacy, and data storytelling and visualisation.

Highlights from the paper were presented at today’s PRCA Measurement Conference, sponsored by CARMA.

Download the report at the bottom of this page.

Stephen Waddington, chair, PRCA Innovation Forum and Managing Partner, Wadds Inc., said:

“The digital transformation of media and organisations over the past 20 years has created huge volumes of data. This data provides new opportunities for public relations practitioners to understand and engage with audiences. It has also provided practice with the means to plan, measure and demonstrate its value. Data Literacy in Public Relations has been written for practitioners by practitioners and addresses each of these areas.”

Johna Burke, Global Managing Director, AMEC, said:

“A credible voice of insights is only possible with meaningful data. We need to meet the C-suite where they are focused and refrain from expecting them to take an interest in the activity level of communications and public relations, which is still a dominant part of reporting. In short, equally important to data literacy is the ability to communicate the effectiveness of your initiatives in context to the overarching business objectives.”

Andrew Bruce Smith, member, PRCA Innovation Forum and Managing Director, Escherman, said:

“Our ongoing attempts to prove the value of public relations will fail unless we grasp the data nettle. Data Literacy in Public Relations brings together some of the sharpest minds in the industry to help raise the overall bar in this vital area and provide an on-ramp for practitioners everywhere to help rapidly improve our skills with data.”

The contributors to the Data Literacy in Public Relations paper are: Iretomiwa Akintunde-Johnson, ID Africa; Stella Bayles, CoverageBook; Sophie Coley, Propellernet; James Crawford, PR Agency One; Orla Graham, CARMA; Alex Judd, Clarity PR; Steve Leigh, Sensu Insight; Shayoni Lynn, Lynn; Andrew Bruce Smith, Escherman; Allison Spray, H+K Strategies; and Stephen Waddington, Wadds Inc.

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