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Dramatic changes are being made in the delivery of media coverage electronically to your PC desktop or PDA. This is a huge benefit for PR professionals. Maybe the ink-stained fingers are being replaced by “BlackBerry thumb”, but getting media coverage electronically is now easier and more mobile.

These changes have led to the development of new tools by content providers and software programs that help manage and analyze media coverage. Automation at the database level as well as the delivery of real-time news to both internal and external stakeholders is almost a given. The holy grail in PR is automation of media measurement and analysis. But where does software stop to allow for human analysis?

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The media analysis program can help you save hours by analyzing and sorting media coverage in a variety of ways. Do you really need a computer program that analyzes each story to determine how it affects your company? This is a risky gamble that has little reward.

Simply say no

Some software programs already allow for the automation of tone or sentiment. But how accurate is it? Each story will have a different meaning and impact on different organizations and stakeholders. There are winners and losers behind the news.

Why Media Coverage Is Important for Your Business

If a negative news story about a strike at a bottling plant breaks, it can be a boon to its competitors. It is difficult to identify which companies have been negatively affected by news. It is difficult to determine the tone and bias of a reporter covering a particular issue. News is about more than just delivering facts. It is also about inducing a reaction or emotion in the reader. While media analysis tools can help to decipher the facts, the rest should be left up to a team professional in communications.

Too subjective?

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One of the arguments against toning media coverage is that it is subjective. If news can be interpreted differently by different people, won’t this lead to biased results? This is true, but it can be easily solved by introducing a consistent tone for each story. These scorecards can vary depending on what type of analysis you wish to provide at the end. Many companies will tone stories by putting them in a positive, neutral, or minus category.

Subjectivity problems can be introduced by the mere use of these three words. The C.B.S. is a quick solution to team brainstorming and training sessions about how to apply tone. Instead, use the Scorecard

  • Instead of using Negative, use ‘Critical.
  • Use ‘Balanced” instead of Neutral
  • Use “Supportive” to replace Positive

It is easier to answer the question, “Was this story critical, balanced or supportive of our company?” after reading an article. Instead of asking “Was this story negative, neutral, or positive?” Tone is not always black or white. However, I would rather have grey areas left to trained communications professionals than to guesswork by a software program.

Your software solution can automate the rest of your analysis once each story has been toned. To determine the success of a campaign, the tone can be used separately by calculating the percentage of C.B.S. The tone can be used to determine the success of the campaign by the percentage of C.B.S. Your organization is constantly being analyzed by the media. Why not return the favor?

The media monitoring and analysis technology is changing the face and future of media relations. However, it’s important to recognize that human beings should still determine the impact of news stories on an organization.

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33 Reasons to Do a News Release

Although news releases may not be the best way to gain major media coverage, they can increase the frequency that your company name is mentioned in the press. Press releases can help you get coverage in specific features, such as business notes and new personnel columns. Press releases are a great way to inform your customers, colleagues, and allies. Post releases to the company website, send them out via e-mail, or use one of the PR Newswire and PR Web services.

Below is a list of 33 reasons you might want to distribute a news release.

  • * Brand New Products
  • * Business Startup
  • * Partnership
  • * Strategic Alliances
  • * A new or innovative business strategy
  • * Company Restructuring
  • * Going public/Going private
  • * Company Recovers from Adversity
  • * We are looking for new employees
  • * Important Executive Retiring/Resigning
  • * Business/Economic Trends: Executives Discuss
  • * Promotions for employees
  • * Opening New Branch Offices
  • * New Divisions Established
  • * Headquarters Relocating
  • * Announcement of Research Results
  • * A Major Anniversary
  • * Significant New Client Acquisition
  • * Increase in company revenue, sales, or profit growth
  • * Change of Company Name
  • * Receiving national recognition or major awards
  • * Award presented by a company
  • * Receiving important certification or accreditation
  • * Free Seminars or Workshops
  • * Employee Appointed To Civic/Government/Professional Board
  • *Availability of Guest Articles or White Papers
  • * Issue a Position Statement on a Topical Subject
  • * Consumer Information Freely Available
  • * Bureau of Company Speakers
  • * Company Philanthropic Assistance
  • * Major Company Milestone
  • * A new Board of Directors
  • * A New Website

Communication and Corporate Social Responsibility

The anti-corporate movement, including those against globalization, has seen some momentum in the last few years. Many people within the movement now support Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which is the idea that corporations should be accountable to society and the environment as well as shareholders. It is a shame that they have gained momentum. We would all be poorer without modern corporations. Few of us could even expect to retire comfortably. Modern corporations exist to provide income for pensions, more than anything else.

Yes, corporations were once owned by very wealthy people. With the widespread adoptions of mutual funds and pension funds, corporations are now owned mainly by working people. Although the average worker has less wealth than the average billionaire it is true that there are many more workers. This means that the government and company pension plans can invest large sums of money in capital stock, making the working-class the largest shareholders of many corporations.

Communication is important to me. I want to know why Corporate Social Responsibility receives so much media attention and coverage. I am also curious to learn what we can, as communicators from them. The anti-corporate movement’s message is simple: “Corporations have to much money and power; workers don’t have enough,” or a variation of that theme. However, I defend corporations above is not simple. Even though I am pretty good at writing words, it’s far from easy. Did your eyes glaze over as you read my description?

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The anti-movement has the luxury of making an argument about whether rich corporations are better than poor workers. This is a moral argument that adds flavor to any news story. The ‘pro’ side is based largely on rational discourse and the ideas from economists. Third, protestors are passionate about the anti-corporate message. This is a fight of good against evil, after all. The prosaic science and economics of economists are the only way to defend modern corporations and globalization. Fourth, the anti-corporate movement also benefits from the label “Corporate social responsibility”. The name serves as a unifying point and implies that CSR can be a positive thing. Who could possibly be against’social responsibility’ and responsibility?

CSR advocates have a problem despite their media attention and widespread presence. Although they may have the ability to attract the attention of editors and reporters, they don’t have the power and influence that the real decision-makers need, which is the people who manage companies, pension plans and mutual funds. The decision-makers won’t be influenced. They are well-versed in the roles of corporations and know their responsibilities. CSR will not be popularized by the public because they are accountable to shareholders and not to the society as a whole. Perhaps the last lesson from today’s anti-corporate movement is that sometimes great communication can only get you so far.

Communication Analysis: Real-Time

The final results of your proactive media campaign to launch a new product or service have just been reviewed. These numbers are impressive: there were millions of media impressions, coverage was equally split between print and broadcast media and the launch was covered by three national papers-pretty impressive. Could it have been more? This is what you should do.

The first step to understanding the success or failure of communications is analysing issues and campaigns. Media analysis is often not done due to busy schedules or tight client budgets. It is expensive to gather media content. But it is not cost-effective to analyze and measure the trends, successes and areas for improvement. Many stories are filed away right away or given to a small group for analysis. Half the battle is won if you already do ongoing media analysis. If not, your client or director may demand it. Analysis is a must and not a requirement, thanks to new analysis technologies.

What’s the next step after you have determined the importance or necessity of an analysis? Here is where confusion can occur. Everyone has their own opinion on how media content should been analyzed, based on their experiences. The issue of PR standards or formulas is often a problem. This can lead to things sometimes coming to a halt. Before you can begin to plan how you will analyze data, it is important that you first identify what you want to analyze. These are some considerations.

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  • You can track your success in key publications or mediums based upon demographic suitability
  • Evaluate key message penetration in media stories
  • You can track the quality of coverage, not just its quantity
  • Success is determined by your competitors
  • The success of spokesperson pickup
  • Calculate campaign ROI
  • If you have to, measure advertising equivalency
  • Monitor regional penetration comparisons
  • Tabulate media impressions/audience figures
  • Compare key issues and/or product penetration
  • The editorial/other media commentary/letters to editor that result

There are many ways to analyze and cross-reference information. You should also note that all of these considerations can be accomplished without getting into complicated formulas or confusing PR multipliers. It is important to identify what you are interested in evaluating, and then create benchmarks for future comparisons. You can still add PR multipliers, provided you keep the same formula. No matter how much you multiply by, say 3, 5, 10, or 10, coverage can still be considered accurate and impartial.

Go Electronic, Go Real-Time

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It can be valuable to look back at the success of a product launch, the effects of a crisis on your company, or even a monthly comparison, in order to gain insight into future planning. Imagine the impact you could make if real-time data was available at your fingertips instantly. You could monitor your environment with real-time data. Which regions have the greatest success?

  • You can correct misinformation that is being spread.
  • What publications require another follow-up call?
  • What issues get the most attention?
  • The coverage’s quality and tone
  • Your organization’s impact
  • Which tactics work and which don’t?

How to profit from recent media trends, competitors’ strategies or success

Real-time analysis has many benefits. It is an empowering feeling to know that you can influence the outcome of a product launch. Real-time analysis combined with benchmarking will give you the tools to improve campaign results mid-stream. You can also analyze the campaign’s success using a set of predetermined objectives and consistent criteria. Make 2005 the year that you benchmark your analysis. This will allow you to see the results of your communications strategies and provide valuable insight for many years.

Chris Sewell
Chris Sewell

Avigo Capital Solutions specializes in business lending solutions and offers capital allocation advisory to its clients. Do you want $10,000 to $6750,000 in business funding? See If You Pre-Qualify Here

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