Showing Value Beyond the Numbers

numbersCreating media coverage reports with online tools such as Google alerts, RSS feeds and subscription clipping services are often go-to methods for tracking media coverage – if you are simply looking to calculate the number of articles a particular announcement or campaign generated.

Many would say the intent behind creating media coverage reports is to quantify the success of a campaign or announcement. Using tactics like reach, circulation, tallying the total number of placements and AVE (advertising value equivalency) are popular methods that many depend upon to assess the value of media coverage. However, there is an important factor that each method fails to include – that is to recognize the news that was actually reported.

The key to truly determining the success of media coverage is done by identifying the tone and tenor of each article and creating a thorough analysis to show the true value of the media coverage generated. This is a task that is easier said than done as you are required to objectively analyze something that’s largely subjective. A helpful resource to reference when creating media coverage reports are the Barcelona Principles which are a set of measurement guidelines frequently used in public relations to measure success.

Here are four tips to keep in mind when creating media coverage reports:

What is the tone?

Positive? Negative? Neutral? PR is not something that can be measured by quantitative data alone. It is important to be impartial when categorizing the tone of media coverage. Read and re-read the article and play devil’s advocate in order to think through the reporter’s views. Be prepared to provide recommendations to the client based on the tone of coverage. This will show the client your level of strategic thinking and that you aren’t just taking orders.

What key messages were included?

Focus on the key messages the outreach was intended to communicate before you begin gathering coverage. Is the article simply an excerpt from the press release? Did it include all the client’s key data points? Did secondary messaging eclipse the main point? Pull notable quotes from media coverage featuring the client’s key messages to demonstrate the value of the coverage.

What is the media type?

Publication type (print, online, broadcast) and length of placement are also important factors to consider when determining the quality of an article. Social coverage should also be considered when measuring success. With the ever-changing news cycle, platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook have emerged as a go-to space for media to share news and reports. Through social media you can track for free how many times an article is being shared on social platforms, not to mention who is sharing the coverage. It also extends the reach of a placement further demonstrating that the media and readers are understanding and connecting with the subject matter.

What about the competition?

Don’t forget about the competition. Look for comparisons to the competition while sifting through the coverage. Note if the competition has reacted or responded and on what platform – blog, social media, commented in an article. Include the information you uncover in the analysis to provide insight against key competitors to benchmark where your client stands vs. the competition.

Present all of this information in a visually appealing way. Images are underused in public relations as we find ourselves drowning in a sea of press releases, pitches and byline line articles. When it comes down to it, the eyes beat the brain. People react more quickly to images. Limit the amount of text and instead include charts, graphs, and screen shots of coverage in the report. Presenting the information visually provides the client with an understanding of the coverage in a quick snapshot giving them the ability to quickly and easily share the information with their clients and executives.

What else do you look for when capturing press coverage?

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