By Todd Murphy | August 25th, 2011
Determining the effectiveness of your public relations efforts, or how your brand/service compares against the competition, has always been a very important task. However, two aspects of media analysis have routinely made it the part of the PR professionals’ job that they hate. First, in the past, tracking the news you need in a timely manner has been difficult. Second, DATA ENTRY SUCKS!
Recently I posed the following question on Linkedin under the group Media Monitoring and Media Evaluation.
“How important is comprehensiveness of found media to your organization’s media analysis effort”?
Background: We believe that some people are content to analyze only a fraction of their media exposure, while most need to track as much news as possible in order for their analysis to be valid.
The responses to the above question showed that there are truly two different types of clients when it comes to media evaluation. One type needs comprehensiveness of found media in order to truly demonstrate their share of voice, reach, impact and meaning. The other type of client can trade comprehensiveness for timeliness and focus of the data that is analyzed. I also believe there’s a third category of client, one that wants a balance of both timeliness and comprehensiveness, at least to the point of making their results more reliable. At Universal we try to load for all three analysis clients and then customize around their specific goals.
Comprehensiveness is a measure of how much media you are searching, out of all available media. Now while no company can find everything, a few do search and find more. At the bottom of the list, contrary to what many would believe, web monitoring misses most of the news consumed by the public and businesses. Current studies show that at least 60% of published and broadcast media is not available online. For this reason, a complete news monitoring service, one that tracks print, broadcast, web, and social, is the only option for the most comprehensive news tracking. Services like cision, Burrelles/Luce, and Universal can provide this level of comprehensiveness.
Timeliness is a measure of how quickly your found stories can be delivered and analyzed to you. The faster you see your found stories, the better. This is where monitoring online news sources can shine. Our Web-Alert service lets clients see their online media exposure in near real-time, but it comes at a cost over comprehensiveness. Nonetheless, if you want to quickly analyze a sampling of results, web monitoring can be a great tool. Free services like Google News tend to find less than subscription based web monitoring services, but if you have no budget Google News can fill the basic need.
Finally, data entry. Yes, if you are that entry level PR professional, intern, or from a small boutique firm you have undoubtedly either decided not to measure results, or you are among the masses who must engage in arduous data entry each time you need to develop qualitative and quantitative reports. We know your pain. Every single one of our clients uses our Media Analysis service because data entry sucks. Sorry to be blunt, but I don’t think I’m saying anything you haven’t thought before.
I joke with our Media Analysis Team that we represent “salvation”. Salvation from the terror of cutting a media analysis report when it is the last thing you want to do. What did we do, we found a scalable team of “numbers nerds” who love to do that work. The salvation we offer comes from taking the pain off of your shoulders and putting it on the the shoulders of highly trained analysts…people who love to do what most dislike…but need. Match this love with some level of our news tracking and we have been able to take the entire tracking and measurement task to an outsourced solution.
Ask yourself the question, how important is it for my organization to understand the results of our efforts? If the answer is “pretty darn important”, then look at how much time and stress is involved with creating results that may have varying degrees of reliability. Somewhere within that internal conversation you’ll stumble across the notion that, “Maybe I should outsource this to a professional service”. If not Universal, then one of several services that do truly accurate measurement. Accurate measurement only comes from validation by real humans. Machine generated results have such a low reliability rate that it’s hard to believe people can charge for that, but they do.
Check out this blog for more info. Although Lusine Kodagolian is not related to our company in any way, I think she has some great insight on this topic. I’m glad I have connected with her on Linkedin.