Since a large percentage of the nation is now fixated on the NCAA tournament, the tie-ins to everything from products to PR blog posts will predictably follow. Here’s how you can apply many of the same strategies you’ve used to build your (hopefully winning) NCAA brackets to your everyday PR and media analysis work.
Use the data available to you. The first thing you do when you start looking at which teams you’re going to advance in your brackets is to look at their record over the season. Media monitoring and analysis is no different—it starts with collecting the best and most relevant information from a variety of sources.
Next, dig deeper for informed insights. If you just took the teams with the best records and advanced them through the brackets to the finals, you might do okay…but, you might also be missing information that matters. Things like how young the team is, or if there have been any injuries among key team members will have an impact on how they play. The same goes for your PR monitoring efforts. If you have set up a media monitoring program, you’re collecting valuable data—so make sure you look at it from time to time. Dig deep for the insights that will help guide your future strategy by using charts to visualize data in different ways that can cause key learnings to bubble up.
Pay attention to offense and defense. A team that shoots great from the three point line but has no defense isn’t going to win the championship. Making sure your PR efforts are well-rounded matters too. This is why PR pros are hired: to think about, and plan for, the unexpected. Have a crisis plan in place…just in case. Offense and defense—plan for both.
Don’t ignore your intuition. People who watch sports regularly know that sometimes, there’s just this…feeling you get that says “this is their year,” or “it’s just not their time yet.” Pay attention to this feeling if it starts bugging you. More likely than not, when it comes to PR or media analysis, you’re likely reacting to data that you’ve already processed in some way, shape, or form. Go back over the data with a fine-toothed comb—that intuition might just be telling you that you’ve overlooked something important.
Keep your eye on the ball. When things go according to plan, it’s easy to keep client goals in sight. It’s a lot harder when things outside of your control start happening. React and adapt as needed, but don’t lose track of the client’s objectives.
A little luck doesn’t hurt either. We’ve all heard stories about the person who knows nothing about basketball who won the office pool based on selecting teams with the nicest uniforms, or “just randomly picking” teams. While that type of luck is rare, let’s face it, whether in the NCAA Tournament, PR, or in life, a little bit of luck can go a long way.
I wish you all luck with your brackets—and your PR and media analysis efforts. Hopefully this analogy wasn’t too painful.