July 11, 2016 / by Sean Couch

PR_Quality_Coverage.jpgEvery business craves media attention and press, but it's important not to let vanity metrics get the best of you when measuring coverage. You'll be much better off honing in on quality media that is more impactful to your brand and overall business. 

But to do this, it's important to follow a few simple steps that will guide your team and keep everyone from being seduced by reports that aren't accurately measuring impact. Gone are the days when you just report the number of mentions in the media or features in a big publications. As PR professionals, we can report on more and measure our impact like never before - IF we ask the right questions when evaluating PR Analytics solutions.

Question 1: Are We Monitoring Signal or Noise?

From the beginning, it's important to evaluate the best ways to monitor earned media circulating your brand. Sit down and determine all of the key elements that encapsulate your brand so that you can build a list of words, phrases, names, products, events, competitors, media outlets and more that are relevant. If you just built dashboards and reports based on these inputs you'd have a great deal of information - but much of it might be irrelevant.

So your PR Analytics solution should help you remove noise that may skew your PR reporting by applying filters that will eliminate things such as financial news or press releases. For example, you may want to monitor relevant trending news such as the Brexit vote. If you searched recent media coverage for Brexit without quality coverage filters, you'd get well over 900,000 mentions. That number may appear impressive, but the mentions would be meaningless hits on a keyword - similar to simply counting Google search results for news outlets.  As a PR professional, you probably don't report on Google search volumes very often. You're likely more focused on meaningful coverage that helps you understand the conversation about the topic.

Question 2: Can We Segment Our Coverage?

You'll want a PR Analytics solution that allows you to narrow your search and segment out media so that you can understand all aspects of the coverage. Segments can help you focus on various conversations that may be circulating simultaneously and would be hard to target otherwise.

This will help you go beyond total mentions that only give you a bird's-eye view and can't always discern passing mentions of your brand or even clickbait that dilute your report.

Below are some examples of how you can segment media coverage:

University Coverage Segment Examples:

  • Alumni news, campus life, research developments, executive coverage, campus location, or by school.

Hospital Coverage Segment Examples:

  • Local or national coverage, awards, doctors, or medical programs.

Brand Coverage Segment Examples:

  • Industry publications, top tier publications, thought leadership topics, products, events or strategic partnerships.

Question 3: Can We Build PR Strategy Around Segments?

Once you've segmented your coverage properly, ask yourself "Am I generating high-visibility and high-quality coverage by focus area?" A great way to measure that is by using a PR Analytics solution flexible enough to hone in on the volume of featured articles (an article that is predominately about you) and headlines that feature your brand.

Then examine the social amplification and traffic driven off those articles to quantify the quality and resonance with your audience. This will also help your team determine which authors and publications seem to have the most influence with your target audience.

As an example, if you go through this exercise as a PR professional working for a university and find you have a very small number of total mentions and none of them are featured articles, then that should be a strategic focus to pitch more alumni stories.

Regardless of the industry you're in, these steps can help you go into the next quarter prepared to help boost business objectives.

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