PR and Social Data: How to Predict the Future.

Get ahead of the competition when it come to planning your next 'breaking news' PR push. 

Manita Dosanjh
June 7, 2016 - 4 min. read

Since the French Open kicked off, Andy Murray has been racking up the most internet buzz across the biggest social media networks. While the other media darlings like Djokovic and Serena Williams have been scoring high mention levels in the UK, Murray is staying consistently high in the social charts (although rival Djokovic is putting up a good fight). Here’s a nice graph to prove it:


Most of the UK conversation about Murray is coming in from Twitter, but he’s also scoring the lion’s share of news coverage, with 20% of Murray-related internet chatter coming in from news sites.

For me (a PR Executive who is very interested in what the UK market cares about) this is kind of exciting.

PR in 2016 is as much about social vitality as it is about print circulation. Delivering a successful PR campaign means generating a healthy level of conversation on social networks, from your brand’s owned channels as well as mentions from important influencers and big media names. Think Facebook Instant Articles or Twitter Moments – it’s called a newsfeed for a reason.

A successful PR campaign is about delivering the right story, at exactly the right time. You have to be omniscient, psychic even – know when a big topic will break the internet, before it does. You also have to know exactly what your target audience wants to read about this story, where they want to find it, and precisely when they’ll be receptive.

In my job, I use a social data platform to address these challenges (which happens to be Falcon). I’m not saying social data will give you magical powers, but it’s the next best thing. There is an endless amount of information out there detailing which stories are trending, which topics are gaining traction and which people/media outlets are most influential in your niche.

So how do you begin this task of anticipating stories? Back to Andy Murray.

Wimbledon is just over a month away, and will undoubtedly be a hot topic in major media outlets in the UK, as well as across social media and PR stories. A media fanfare like this is the perfect opportunity for brands to contribute to the story, in a way that is meaningful and relevant to their audience of course. But how can you predict what would be meaningful to your target audience? And how do you know which media outlets and influencers to involve in your campaign? This is where social media can help PR.

The French Open involves a lot of shared topics with Wimbledon (similar media outlets, similar influencers are involved). By monitoring the conversation around the French Open across the biggest social networks and news channels, it’s easy to get a sense of which topics are trending, which influencers are gaining the most traction, and which media outlets are covering relevant trends. By filtering the data by target market (in this case, the UK), it’s possible to get a sense of which trends are most relevant for a PR campaign around Wimbledon.

The graph above shows that Andy Murray is a trending topic in the UK, so this makes him a great candidate for an influencer based PR campaign. He’s racking up almost 95 mentions per hour, an average of roughly 500 per day – this level of reach could do wonders in a PR push. We can also see that whilst Murray’s traction spikes around his scheduled games, conversation around him is higher than the other top players in the days leading up to the tournament. His reach is consistently strong.

But are these mentions coming from a relevant audience, and from credible media outlets?

Let’s take the audience question first. Drilling down into the data, I can segment by gender, and by topic. This gives me an idea of which people are showing an interest in both Andy Murray and Wimbledon right now, and what their gender is.

audience stats related to social media pr

The majority is clearly female – so we know that a campaign in partnership with Murray aimed at women in the UK would get great traction on social.

Drilling down further I can also see a list of media outlets that are covering Andy Murray in my target market. This is a great indication of where the story should be pitched, and also where the story is not being covered.


And it’s really that simple. A quick monitoring project in the right platform can yield some amazing insights into what’s trending on the internet, who it’s trending with, and on which networks. Following Andy Murray as an influencer throughout the French Open gives an indication of how I should time my Wimbledon campaign. The rise in buzz over the last couple of days shows that I should be pitching content the day before he is scheduled to play in Wimbledon. This will ensure I get the benefit of the spike in mentions that he’s likely to generate.

The right query can deliver endless insights about your target audience from social data. You could run a similar project to monitor trending topics from key media outlets, or even top reporters covering your industry. They key is to use a platform that can give you the right data, and enable you to segment it in the most useful ways.

See Audience In Action.
Find out how Audience will help you meet your customers.
Request Demo