3 Lessons Brad Pitt Can Teach You About Using Metrics to Power PR

Brad Pitt

Remember the verbal/math breakdown in your SAT test of yore? If you're a PR pro or a journalist you might pride yourself on how well you did on the verbal test compared to the math test. It's time to let go of that foolish pride—data and analytics are now just as important as being able to make a sentence sing. ("King of Clickbait" Emerson Spartz might even say that making a sentence sing is for losers.)

We reached out to Brad Pitt—that noted master of all things media—to  share some important lessons on using data and metrics to power your media relations efforts. Turns out Brad was out of pocket, so Barry Reicherter, partner, digital insights, for Finn Partners and a speaker at PR News' upcoming Google Conference for Communicators in San Francisco, has bravely stepped in to offer lessons as seen through the fulcrum of three movies starring Brad Pitt.

1. Moneyball

Plot: Brad plays Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane, who faced dismal prospects with no budget for top players and increasing pressure to win and keep the club financially viable.

Brad's lesson: Billy Beane pioneered the now commonplace practice of using analytics to find and acquire undervalued players who tend to get on base, which got him runs and wins. Journalists are also pressured to win—to get the story first and get the most page views and build an audience. To meet the rise of data-skilled journalists, PR pros need to speak their language.

2. A River Runs Through It

Plot: Two brothers pursue different paths but use fishing as the common bond with their father and with each other.

Brad's lesson: To become an expert media relations practitioner you need to take the fisherman's approach of find, catch and count.

  • Find: Start with Google search because it's the best arbiter of terminology and it's the first stop for journalists.
  • Catch: There's no such thing as speed fishing. You need to develop storylines, create/curate content and follow influencers.
  • Count: Keep only the metrics you can eat (or the ones that matter), such as activity, awareness, engagement, sentiment and advocacy.

3. Seven

Plot: Two detectives track a serial killer obsessed with the seven deadly sins.

Brad's lesson: Keep your head in the box—the daily routine, box, that is. Come up with a daily workflow that works for you and keep a log of your activity.

Barry Reicherter will be a featured speaker at PR News' Google Conference in San Francisco on Feb. 11.

Follow Barry Reicherter: @barryreich

Follow Steve Goldstein: @SGoldsteinAI