Is Your Media Measurement Enough?

January 30th, 2009
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After a recent car accident, it occurred to me auto insurance is very much like media measurement for PR professionals. You don’t know how much is enough until you really need it and then it may be too late. As I stood surveying my damaged vehicle, I heard another person in the accident say “I’m not sure he has insurance” speaking of the person who rear-ended me while I was sitting at a stop light. I instantly felt numb. My guess is many PR Practitioners have the same sinking feeling when their client or executive team requests “results” of their PR efforts.

How do you classify your current measurement program?

Uninsured – Gather only raw data from sources with no analysis or correlation to goals.

Underinsured – Track coverage from free online sources and provide “all clips are created equal” quantitative reports including, charts and graphs showing rudimentary reflection of efforts. Media value, Ad Value or another number du jour is assigned to show unrequited assessment of editorial content.

Adequately Insured – Track coverage from all sources available including print and online editions of top-tier and niche industry publications. (Print editions and online editions are, in most cases, posting different stories so they should be evaluated as a separate source.) Provide qualitative analysis of coverage including, but not limited to prominence, key messages, competitors (immediately above and below) and other unique key performance indicators.

“PR whiplash” is more painful than a few trips to the doctor, x-rays, MRI’s and physical therapy, as it could result in loss of credibility and jobs. Now that PR has secured a “seat at the table” certain responsibilities accompany this effort. A PR practitioner unable to provide proper media measurement is like a CFO unable to provide an accurate financial report. Unacceptable. Take some time to review your media measurement policy. Make sure you have enough coverage to protect yourself, your retainer, your department and last, but not least, your credibility.

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