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How to analyse your media mentions in-house

August 15, 2017

Way back when (OK, 2002) in my first job, the research agency I worked for specialised in communications research and we had a bespoke solution for analysing media mentions.  We used to get boxes and boxes of clippings containing mentions of our clients, then our analysts would read and code them up.  Following data entry, our system spat out a really useful report about the content and tone of the coverage as a whole.  We could then tell our clients if the media was reporting what they wanted them to report, and whether they were doing it in a positive way.  Very important for assessing the effectiveness of press releases, and brand reputation.

I have noticed that my smaller clients don’t do an awful lot with their media, but it is actually very straightforward to take a methodical approach to media analysis in-house and consequently get some useful stats that can be used for evidence-based decision-making and reporting to funders.

All you need to do it is set up a simple spreadsheet based on your KPIs, fill it in based on the media cuttings that you have, and Bob’s your uncle.

Still sound onerous?  Naaah!  Here’s how to do it.

To start you off, you probably want to know:

  • Number of media mentions (including press, radio, TV, web, and blogs)
  • % media mentions correctly mentioning your organisation’s name (and/or the name of your event or venue)
  • % media mentions correctly mentioning your funders
  • % positive slant (based on subjective judgement of whether the tone of the article was positive, neutral or negative)

So, your spreadsheet would look something like this:

Spread1

Maybe you have other bits and pieces that you or your funders aim to see in your media articles, or that you would like to quantify or record.  Did they include a logo, or a photo, or a mention of an aligned festival?  International mentions.  Reviews.  Useful quotes.  Great!  Add them in too.  Whatever you need to know goes along the top.

Then all you need to do is:

  • Collect your media mentions ongoing, and put them all together in one place.
  • Number them.
  • Read each one carefully, and fill in the spreadsheet accordingly.

It now looks like this:

Spread2

When you’re done, add all the columns up and there’s your stats:

  • 6 media mentions (3 press, 2 broadcast, 1 web)
  • 100% media mentions correctly attributed MyTheatre
  • 67% media mentions correctly attributed MyFestival
  • 33% media mentions correctly attributed MyFunder
  • 67% positive slant

Now you have a quick and effective way to tell your Board and your funders how you are being represented in the media, and you can see what you need to focus on or improve to influence future press releases.

And if you are feeling ambitious you could cut your analysis by month or year, or before/after a change or event, to see if there are patterns in the coverage.  You could make a graph!

Graph

It doesn’t need to be a huge job, and the bulk of the time is spent in the reading.  You could make the task less arduous by doing the reading as the articles come in (rather than in one huge blob), or it might be a fun job for a new-start or an intern as it has the added benefit of familiarising them with your organisation.

Alternatively, if you can’t take this on yourself or if you’d like a shiny independent report about your media I’d be happy to provide it!  Drop me a line.

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