As PR practitioners, we often spend a great deal of time and effort on planning – brainstorming ideas, developing strategies, building out campaigns – and yet all too often, we don’t pause to look back and see how we’re tracking to the goals we set out for ourselves, that is unless we’re working on a case study or an award entry! In an increasingly noisy and crowded marketplace, it’s more important than ever to make sure we’re always keeping an eye on our objectives and whether or not our strategies and tactics are enabling us to accomplish them.
At GFM, one of our favorite tools for making sure we’re attaining our media relations goals is the media audit. Conducted annually or semi-annually (mid-year and year-end), a media audit provides a deep dive into a client’s media coverage, including:
- The markets and the specific outlets in which a client has received coverage – are we getting our message out to the audiences we’re trying to reach?
- The prominence and sentiment of company references in industry coverage – what is the tone of the story? Is it favorable to the client? Is the client the primary focus of the article? Are photos included?
- Inclusion of a client’s key messages in coverage – are the client’s messages included, and are they consistent?
- Inclusion of spokespeople quotes in coverage – is the client positioned as an industry thought leader?
- How much media attention the client is receiving in comparison to its competitors, etc.
The explosion of social media over the last few years has given us a whole new set of factors to consider as well. Analytics tools allow us to measure such things as exposure, engagement and action. For instance, how many people clicked on an online news story about a client? How many people commented on or shared that story? And did readers click through from the news story to the client’s website? Did that result in proactive outreach to the company?
It’s a lot of information to wade through and analyze, but once you’ve compiled all of the data, the picture that emerges is amazing. Not only can you see just how effective your outreach efforts have been in terms of building brand awareness for your company, but you can also identify areas where you need to adjust your approach. Doing so will help ensure that you meet your overall goals – and that’s always a good thing.