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Evaluating the media: January 2010

PR geekiness - the tools & techniques to gain insights from PR exposure

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Access to organisational outcomes – leaving the evaluators out in the cold

Time has shown that there are genuine benefits to measuring media output. Through the processes of monitoring, coverage can be collected and analysed for messages and tone as well as benchmarked against competitors or contemporaries. Together this is an invaluable view of the media landscape, how you are being portrayed and what tips you might be able to glean from others.
Moving up the ‘golden steps’, how about measuring audience out-takes....what are people actually reading and looking at? Not so easy but here are a few tips. Many websites indicate which story is the most read or watched on their site. Take as broad a cross-section as you can gather, build a relevance factor to your target audience and you should be able to deliver a credible and defendable measure of audience out-take.
Finally, at the top is organisational outcomes. Or this is what Jim Macnamara said when he created this enduring model. By outcomes we mean impacts on sales, web activity & inquiries . This is the thing though – it is the data which independent evaluators can’t easily get access to. Their PR/marketing contacts within the organisations are the gatekeepers but for reasons of confidentiality it seldom becomes part of the evaluators data, even though they are arguably the people most capable at tying it to media outputs and out-takes.
If the evaluators can not easily get access to outcome data it leaves it to the internal PR/marketing people to connect the media output report with outcome information. There are a number of questions around this:
• Do they actually do this
• Are the able to do this
• Do they access to the right outcome data
• Have they thought to tailor the media report to reflect the outcome data they can get
This seems to move right to the heart of where media evaluation needs to be. The gatekeepers either need to be prepared to grant access to the data or develop the systems and knowledge to connect the media output reports to the outcomes.