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Big Data: 5 Essential Skills for PR Pros

Big Data: 5 Essential Skills for PR Pros


The era of Big Data has arrived, and social media big data will be a huge trend this year. This means public relations professionals have to step it up to keep up.

The monitoring tools we currently use are crude at best and provide only a glimpse into the mirror. There are mountains of data and we don’t really have the skills to see what they all mean and really connect the dots.

Up until now, we have used free tools such as Google alerts to monitor mentions or paid tools such as Radian6, Lithium, Custom Scoop, Cision and many others that give us ideas about what is being said and by whom.

If we are really sophisticated, we will use sentiment scoring, influence measurement tools, or text analytics which allow us to mine more information.

5 Essential Skills to Master Big Data

There is a whole new skill set we have to master to understand and be ready for the insights and opportunities Big Data brings to public relations.

Following are five essential skills to master Big Data you can undertake right away.

  1. Become an analyst. Don’t be intimidated by data and analytics. Use your brain and look for the ways in which different insights might help you to make better business decisions.
  2. Learn Excel. One of the best gifts you can give yourself is to take an advanced Excel course to learn how to manipulate data in spreadsheets. We need to move beyond the basics. Take a course locally, or the one linked to above. It is the still that will pay back in spades.
  3. Collect Data. Consider collecting your own data to supplement what you get from any tools you use. With services such as 80legs and Gnip, you can also gather your own data and analyze it. You can even pull an RSS feed or feeds into a Google Doc and go from there. The key is, don’t be intimidated.
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