Friday, January 06, 2012

All the PR data you can eat - without getting indigestion

In the next few months, I and some friends will be creating a new resource for PR practitioners, evaluation companies and academics (and a lot of other people too).

The idea is really quite simple.

If you could search online for all media (that includes all kinds of media from Twitter to the Telegraph) stories and comments about your organisation everyday (or hour, week, month, year etc) and put them in a database, spreadsheet, list or a web page that would be pretty average, but useful. If you could do the same about competitors, market sectors, business partners or individuals such as journalists, Wikipedians, FB friends that might be useful too. We are going to make this happen.

Each article (citation), will have a lot of information attached to it. We have some indication via Alexa, of  the age, sex and location of readers. We will also add all we know from Google Trends and Google Analytics that there is a lot more information that attaches to stories, blog posts and online comments. We will collect it  (and more) all and attach it to your story's URL.

Of course, it will be useful to be able to extract the text (without the HTML mark-up and advertisements)  and make it searchable, summarise-able and with lists of tags, mark-ups, semantic concepts (ranked in order of significance), Parts of Speech and hyper-links in and out. So we will add them also so you can use the information if you need to.

Now comes your part.

We will make these data available to you. The full set. Via an API, spreadsheet and a range of other formats so that you can download just what (that is, only the data and no more or less) you want. Yes, that's right, we will collect it, but you don't have to use it. So, if all you want is a news feed every day that's OK. If you want international trends by the hour, that's cool too. You can choose to smell the ocean or sip from the fire-hose.

Now you will be able to make your own news apps, evaluation apps and subject specific web news outlets.

You will be able to match media data with business data (enquiries, sales requests for information etc etc - anything you want). Making a list of Twitter users mentioning your brand will be as easy and that list of blogs mentioning your competitors or Slideshare mentions about your CSR programme. All the information will be ready for you to mine.

We will offer an API that any friendly programmer can use to make you anything you want.

We will offer some tools too. A de-duplication tool will be useful so that you can set up your own de-duplication parameters (all those re-tweets can be counted without having to edit every one) and a smart curation capability would, we guess, be helpful too.

Perhaps you have some ideas as to what you would like to include in our data set (mentions in Facebook ? - we're onto it).

If you are in-house, an agency or an academic PR, or evaluation company or research organisation and you want to be a beta tester, or early adopter, we will be delighted to talk you through what we have in mind to do.

In due course we shall be holding open events and application developer seminars but all that is for the future.

Right now we aim to offer a simple, though significant service.