Gini Dietrich

Analytics Resources and Data for Communications Pros

By: Gini Dietrich | October 13, 2014 | 

Analytics ResourcesBy Gini Dietrich

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about the skills every communications professional must acquire.

In it, I describe why we must get good with numbers.

Get good with numbers. We no longer have to rely on media impressions and advertising equivalencies to prove our worth. We’ve always been an expense—and typically one of the first to get cut in a down economy. But today we have the huge opportunity to become an investment…if we can get good with numbers. I know, I know. You went into PR because you’re not good at math. Get over it. Figure it out. Take some classes. Learn how to use Google analytics. Figure out what kinds of data are available to you and use them to your advantage. Prove your worth and you’ll always climb up the corporate ladder or  have clients pounding on your door.

This isn’t calculus. It isn’t statistics. It isn’t geometry (my nemesis). It’s analyzing data so we understand how to tweak—or completely overhaul—our communications programs.

When I tweeted the blog post, Suzi Carragher asked if there are some analytics resources to help.

Get Good with Numbers

Yes! There are!

I asked her to be patient and I would write a blog post about it. So thank you, Suzi, for the idea and for being patient.

Data and Analytics Resources for Communications Professionals

There are lots of resources available—some really in-depth and others in more bite-sized pieces.

I’ve listed them below in order from light to heavy (just like a wine list).

  1. Orbit Media blog. There are 14 analytics resources in the Orbit Media blog. Learn everything from how to measure the success of your content marketing to how to track campaigns in Google Analytics.
  2. The Moz blog. Of course the Moz blog is full of all sorts of goodies for communicating on the web, but about once a month, they provide a really in-depth analytics piece. If you do any content marketing, I recommend subscribing to—and reading—it all. But, if you don’t care about anything else, definitely read for the analytics pieces.
  3. Avinash Kaushik’s blog. A digital marketing evangelist for Google, Avinash Kaushik is probably the foremost expert on analytics resources. He IS an analytics resource. Though it tends to be really heady, if you focus, you’ll get lots of really great information. A lot of what we do for our clients at Arment Dietrich has come from my digging and reading and customizing what I’ve read here.
  4. Matt Cutts’s blog. Though Matt Cutts—a former Google employee—is taking a sabbatical right now, the analytics resources in this blog is excellent. You’ll get as much about Google and the way they work, as well as how to dig into your analytics.
  5. Content Chemistry. The handbook by Andy Crestodina is probably the easiest book on analytics resources (and SEO) I’ve come across. It’s written like Andy talks (and presents, if you’ve had the pleasure of attending one of his webinars here…and we have him back in January) and it’s not so heady you can’t understand it.
  6. Web Analytics: An Hour a Day. You literally have to spend an hour a day with this analytics resource, but it is very well worth your time. If you block out a meeting with yourself every day, you’ll get through it in just a couple of weeks.
  7. Google YouTube Channel. You can get pretty much every analytics resource on the Google channel. They break it down for agencies, AdWords, 101 level, and more.
  8. Analytics Academy. Google offers an academy that you can take at your own pace. You do need to devote a few hour chunk for each course, though.
  9. Udemy. An online university, there are all sorts of analytics resources here. You can learn how to get started, how to analyze the data, what really matters (hint: It’s not averages), and how to create actionable insights.
  10. Coursera. One of my most favorite places to learn is Coursera. Not only do they have great analytics resources, you can learn pretty much anything from really smart professors. As for purposes for this blog post, check out Data Analysis, Web Intelligence and Big Data, and Statistics and Data Analysis.

So there you have it. Ten really great analytics resources for you to learn, design, and customize the data your website (or your client’s websites) already offers.

Have fun with it (because it really is fun!)!

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • I love it when you write posts that let me seem really smart in front of my boss later.  🙂  

    Great list of resources.  I went through the Google Academy and it is a time commitment, but for someone who is numbers challenged, it was a great process. While not always the most fun part of the job, it is awesome to be able to show the value we as communicators knew we were adding for so long.

  • The eMetrics Summit conferences have (at least in the past) had a pretty solid reputation.

  • Todder4News

    This is a great list, Gini. Helping PR pros find the true value and impact of their efforts is so much of justifying their work these days. For the solo practitioner to the largest agencies, there are also services like mine that can provide the ongoing raw data, specific to objectives, message points, and comparables so the PR pro can easily generate the return on effort stats they need. We’re finding great interest from PR pros is serving up the focused data that they can then personalize for their clients. All these indicators point to the fact that numbers and data points are driving PR forward.

  • Very good list. Data (or analytics) is going to be the lifeblood of all we do, I suspect. Without it, all you can do is say “I got you the New York Times!”  With it, you can tell the client exactly what that means to their business.

  • nicolemilescomm

    Very helpful! Thanks for taking the time to compile this list for us!

  • Todder4News Thank goodness we are shifting towards a digital dashboard of metrics. I can still remember spending hours taking clippings from Universal Info and creating “stunning’ clip books. 

    It’s a huge step up to be able to show value and analytics instead of craft projects. Universal’s data visualizations still blow my mind some days.

  • I believe it was Tom Webster who cured me of ever saying I hate numbers (one of his on-point presentations). However I find analytics pretty daunting. Thanks for compiling all of these great resources!

  • A sweet bouquet to this list. As one who has a tendency to swill and spit on all things numbers, I try to abstain from data drunkenness. Thankfully this will only make me tipsy 😉

  • GREAT list, Gini. I like analytics and am fairly good with it, but I’m not as skilled with it as I’d like to be. That’s a goal of mine for this year – to become great at it. 

    I can easily spend a couple of hours nosing around in Google analytics trying to glean insights, but I want to become more proficient so I know exactly where to look. This is a great list to help with that. Thanks!

  • magriebler

    OK. I’ve been getting this message from the universe for awhile now, and I’m going to do something about it. I consider myself challenged to become more than just a novice at Google analytics. Gini, I especially love your tip about scheduling a regular meeting with yourself to make sure you’re putting in the time, regardless of the vehicle you choose. I’m off to invite myself right now.

  • amandalgant

    Thanks for including us, Gini! I would also recommend following @justincutroni – Super smart!  

    From the photo I see that you’re in need of v2 of Content Chemistry. I’ll pop that in the mail today! 🙂

  • ClayMorgan What Clay said.

  • SpinSucks

    RogerFriedensen She’s like that, isn’t she?? ^ep

  • BillSmith3

    Eleanor Pierce ClayMorgan What Clay said +2.

  • ElinSilveous

    magriebler SpinSucks Tall order! 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  • magriebler

    ElinSilveous SpinSucks I know, right? But going public usually gets me a better success rate. 😉

  • ElinSilveous

    magriebler SpinSucks 🙂

  • KateNolan

    Yay, homework! (Yes, I’m that nerd.) I actually kinda like working with numbers, but I definitely need to square away my GA skills. I had GA An Hour a Day from the library a few months ago, but didn’t make it through it before I had to return it. I need to get it again and buckle down!

  • amandalgant ginidietrich then the next step after you did all this is you then compare your web and non-web marketing efforts to evaluate where to allocate your sales and marketing resources. I am working with someone who surprisingly found that the online directories were feeding her more business than she thought and that her radio ads blew away print and web. Go figure!

    I think the biggest mistake businesses and agencies make is thinking if they just fixed a web channel or offline channel it would work better. Advertising is famous for that. Banner ads were going to revolutionize advertising. People could then click on ads and interact with brands. When that failed the answer wasn’t that people don’t care about that thesis, it was that they needed to do banner. Usually the thesis is wrong and people should cut and run.

  • Ohhh….love some of these. Totally signing up for some of these courses.

  • HeatherTweedy I was just talking about you! I met a woman who just joined PRSA in Omaha and I said, “If you have a chance to meet Heather Tweedy, introduce yourself!”

  • Sean McGinnis IN THE PAST? You don’t know about it now??

  • ginidietrich Sean McGinnis I do not know about it now, no. But it might be worth looking into, for someone looking for more resources in that space.

  • Thank you Gini for this post. I´m signing up for Matt´s blog and the Moz blog (for the moment). I have Andy´s book and I am reading his blog, so checked! 🙂

  • KateNolan

    Sean McGinnis ginidietrich And now we know why Seam isn’t on this list… He’s such a slacker. 🙂

  • linda_carolan

    ginidietrich So helpful. Thank you.

  • Awesome!!

  • amandalgant Nooooo! I told Andy I’d buy it!

  • amandalgant

    ginidietrich wrong answer! You know @crestodina doesn’t have a say in this. It’s heading your way. 🙂

  • amandalgant Uh…he’s tried to give me a copy of it every time I’ve seen him in the past month (which has been a lot). I’m going to buy a copy! Author support and all of that.

  • ginidietrich

    linda_carolan I’m so glad!

  • Digital_DRK I’m still laughing at your not getting citizenship because of the whole English speaking thing.

  • corinamanea See! You’re already ahead of many!

  • LauraPetrolino That’s what I like to hear!

  • KateNolan You are such a nerd!

  • ginidietrich

    SpinSucks RogerFriedensen Wait. What??

  • Howie Goldfarb TOTALLY agree! We have a client who found the same – their directories were killing it and they were super cheap.

  • magriebler The Web Analytics book might be a good place for you to start. It forces you to spend an hour every day.

  • lauraclick The problem, of course, is as soon as you get good at it, they change.

  • annelizhannan I spoke at PRSA today and I asked the audience who went into PR because they hate numbers. Pretty much everyone raised their hands.

  • rosemaryoneill That Tom. He’s pretty darn smart.

  • nicolemilescomm I’m glad it’s helpful for you!

  • Eleanor Pierce ClayMorgan Copy cat.

  • Todder4News Yes, yes. This!

  • KateNolan Sean McGinnis ginidietrich LOL

  • I have so much to learn! (but at least I have ten places to learn it) Thanks for this.

  • KateNolan I had to figure out unique views for a specific post recently and I seriously felt like throwing a mini-party when I figured it out. Of course the fact that I even HAVE GA has to do with ginidietrich in the first place. #thankful

  • RogerFriedensen

    ginidietrich I said you rocks, m’dear. And you do. 🙂 SpinSucks

  • SpinSucks

    ginidietrich You caught us saying nice things about you behind your back! ^ep RogerFriedensen

  • ginidietrich SO true. I felt like I was pretty decent with it for awhile, but after the last change, I can’t seem to find anything!

  • ginidietrich  I know, it was crazy, I called Canadian Immigration and requested if I could perhaps meet with someone and have them assess my language proficiency. I was advised there was no procedure for that, and I needed to submit proper documented proof, University transcripts from (2) Toronto Institutions did not meet the proper documentation requirements either, I needed to submit proof of completing High-school.   Oh well, 2015 will be the year I can call myself Canadian eh.

  • ginidietrich – Well I am pretty amazing.  Ha!  🙂

  • ginidietrich

    RogerFriedensen xoxo

  • ginidietrich

    mstory123 Were your ears burning? ChipGriffin and I were talking about you.

  • So much to read (that’s a good thing!). Need more hours in the day. I’ve had Analytics Academy on my To Do list for a while now. Reading it here is the push I needed to make it happen, or at least move it closer to the top of the list.

  • Andy!!! 🙂

  • mstory123

    ginidietrich @ChipGriffinTalking about little old me? Good stuff, I hope. I heard a rumor that you came into my town and didn’t stop by…

  • ginidietrich

    mstory123 I did. I’m sorry! I was there less than a day.

  • mstory123

    ginidietrich Next time, for sure. Or I sure would love some Chi-Town, deep dish pizza!

  • Gonna make that appointment with myself Gini, to go through some of these full-bodied cabernet style trainings to hone my skills. It’s not a matter of insights, as consultants we all wear an ‘analyst’ hat at some point; it’s really a case of learning it better to get faster (and yes you’re right.. when you get good, things change). 
    The need for speed – that’s part market driven as we have to be able to adjust, adapt, improvise at a much quicker pace these days. And in terms of small business, speed is born from necessity aka limited time, budget. Downstream the comments nailed it about how if you don’t measure you waste time and money and yet so many businesses, big and esp. small, don’t commit the time and resources to it. FWIW.

  • ginidietrich

    mstory123 I think I can make that happen!

  • KateNolan

    ginidietrich I know.

  • KateNolan

    biggreenpen ginidietrich Yeah, they don’t make it very easy for newbies to find things, do they?

  • tlloyd25

    tberno I owe you a call!!

  • tberno

    tlloyd25 No worries–Monday is fairly open

  • Pingback: Analytics: the Sideways Approach to Measuring PR by @shonali Spin Sucks()

  • Pingback: Marketing Automation: Fact or Fiction by @alexmilleruk Spin Sucks()