How dirty is your data?
Good data from media metrics can help industry pros uncover valuable insights and demonstrate PR’s importance to their organization.
Inaccurate or corrupted “dirty data” can lead to wildly incorrect conclusions, tainting presentations and even ruining entire campaigns.
Follow these expert recommendations for collecting, maintaining and measuring data:
1. Use Excel rather than Word. Excel enables you to divide data by category into rows and columns that can be cross-referenced and dissected with pivot tables, says freelance media analyst Steph Bridgman. List each new media item in a new row, and divide coverage up into categories. Organizing data into rows and files makes it easier to produce valid analytics about media coverage.
2. Use Boolean search terms. A fast-food chain once collected 4,000 extraneous references to underground transportation systems that had no relevance to the business, producing a ridiculously large reach figure, recalls PR measurement expert Katie Paine, CEO of Paine Publishing. Most all media monitoring services, including free tools such as Google Alerts, offer Boolean search queries that can eliminate extraneous results. Simply enter “not” before a word to exclude the word from results. You can write “and” between search terms to include both words in any order.
3. Eliminate duplicates. Take advantage of Excel’s Remove Duplicates option. Go to the Data tab and click “Remove Duplicates.” Select a column with a unique number, like “Clip ID,” or “Item ID.” If that doesn’t exist, use the unique URL of the article and click OK.
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