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For many PR pros, it can be difficult to pinpoint in real time whether your communications strategy is paying off. Total impressions, share of voice, and social engagement are great—but do they capture whether the key messages you toiled over are resonating? Do they paint an accurate picture of your campaign’s effectiveness? Or are you leaving valuable insights behind?
We asked our Nexis® Media Intelligence Research & Analytics experts to share their thoughts about the most underused and underestimated media monitoring metrics that PR pros probably aren’t measuring but should. Here’s what we learned.
While tracking the number of placements and potential impressions of media coverage is a valuable baseline to set, PR and comms pros also deserve to know exactly how their brand’s story is being told. And in today’s fast-paced world, where public opinion can change on a dime, it’s critical to capture tone and sentiment across your media coverage.
This requires going deeper than the simple binary of “positive” and “negative” media coverage. A more detailed and granular understanding of just what your key audiences think about your brand or business can empower your team to control the conversation and build stronger relationships with the audiences that matter most.
Media monitoring tools, like Nexis Newsdesk®, can automatically tag a story as positive, negative, or neutral based on certain keywords and their proximity to your search criteria. But only human assessment can provide a truly sophisticated and nuanced view of how your brand is discussed in the media, and how consumers are responding to those stories.
For example, let’s say your brand voluntarily elects to recall 1,000 units of product after a potential cross-contamination is discovered, or cancels a special promotion in solidarity with a humanitarian crisis that reflects your company values, or takes a bold stance in the fight against cyberbullying. The move earns your brand, organization, or campaign high praise from customers, brand advocates, and internal and external stakeholders—and generates positive ESG media coverage in the process.
If you’re relying on automated sentiment reporting alone, though, a cursory glance at your media monitoring dashboard may reveal your media mentions skew negative. That’s because “recall,” “cancel” and “bully” are widely accepted as negative keywords, meaning an unsophisticated algorithm will see your coverage as negative.
Enter human analysis. Though time-consuming, “grading” media coverage against a broader scale allows your team to gauge how your communications efforts are faring in the real world and in real time. (If your team is strapped for time to execute this level of analysis, our Media Intelligence Research & Analytics team can help! Click here to learn more.
MORE: How to improve your media monitoring management
Let’s say your brand wants to make a splash in the ESG space. You’ve done the research, identified your key audiences, and crystallized a core message that demonstrates, without a doubt, your brand’s unwavering commitment to sustainability and innovation. Piece of cake! Getting that information into the world, however, can be a much more complicated process—because regardless of how much time you spend perfecting those key messages, many journalists simply aren’t going to cover them word-for-word.
When it comes to understanding how your brand’s messaging is being communicated, context is critical. Tracking mentions of your organization’s focus on ESG might seem simple, but you can miss a lot of coverage if you’re not tracking “similar-but-not-quite” keywords (like “sustainability,” “carbon neutral,” or “renewable,” for example).
To stay fully in the know, PR professionals have to look beyond automated monitoring of the exact phrasing of their organization’s message; they should also conduct regular, “deep dive” checks for how many times a key message is directly quoted or implied, and its prominence within the article—is it a passing mention or a feature story, for example. That means assessing where your key messages are appearing in an altered form, or where they’re being used by others, something trained experts can spot, but your average algorithm can’t.
This is another area where the Nexis® Media Intelligence Research and Analytics team excels; when you need to go beyond automated monitoring, our expert analysts can dig deeper into your media coverage to discern exactly how your message is being portrayed in traditional and social media.
MORE: How to deal with negative ESG news coverage
Measuring the impact of your PR efforts requires an understanding of quantity and quality. So, while it’s necessary (and very important!) to track quantifiable data like total impressions, clicks, and circulation figures, you’ll also want to understand the quality of your coverage. Is the publication in question trusted for fair and accurate reporting, or are stories biased and poorly researched? How relevant is the outlet to your target audience or influencers? Is your brand mentioned in a headline or lede, or are your key messages buried in the last few inches of the story?
A realistic and well-rounded measurement of the prominence and impact of your brand’s messaging should go beyond simple numbers—and that’s something that is best accomplished with a human touch. With Nexis® Media Intelligence Research and Analytics, for instance, our experts can properly analyze the quality and authority of your earned media coverage, allowing you to determine the most effective channels for outreach and PR efforts.
While quantifying the effectiveness of PR and communications efforts has long been a challenge for the profession, the emergence of new measurement tools—empowered by next-generation technology and experienced experts—is making it easier than ever to credibly measure your worth. If your brand needs concierge media intelligence, then now’s the time to talk to our experts.