I have been running a research campaign which has queried people’s responses to the favourability of a number of short newspaper articles. The outcome has been that, for a small number of articles, people are split in their response.
In this instance we found a story which had a bit of good and a bit of bad (it can be viewed at http://www.meresearch.co.uk/index_files/SiteA/TestA.htm) and on balance the responses were split 70:30 positive:negative.
Much of an organisations media exposure is purely informative in content, lacking any positive motive or favourable messages. Where do people stand in trying to value this exposure? A name check is worth something – but obviously not as much as a positive reference, like the mention that an organisation has increased its sales or profits.
Often this factual coverage is described as neutral and can account for a large proportion of an organisations media exposure. Many grade their coverage into positive, neutral and negative and sometimes apply a value of +1, 0 and -1. The question is….if you agree that there is a value to a name check, is it fair to value your neutral coverage at a point half way between positive and negative (ie value of 0)?
I think not, and would suggest attaching some notional value to neutral coverage – like 0.5 using the above +1 to-1 scheme. I believe it is a common mistake to undervalue neutral exposure as surely the more someone knows about an organisation, the more it is valued.