Does your organization have a media monitoring program in place? If your company or non-profit regularly seeks media attention, it should have a set of procedures in place to monitor and evaluate media coverage. A media monitoring program aims to meet the following objectives:
1. To track relationships between your organization and individual media outlets/reporters.
2. To monitor mention of your organization, its programs and/or staff in order to evaluate brand strength, positioning and the need to correct erroneous information in the public sphere.
3. To evaluate trends in media reporting in order to identify information gaps and to guide what kind of information to release to media.
4. To aid in the evaluation of the effectiveness of your organization’s public relations campaigns
There are a number of tools available to assist with media monitoring including paid monitoring services, which can be a significant investment, as well as subscribing to Google Alerts (no cost) to track items posted on the Web. The advantage of a paid subscription to a media monitoring service is that it will track exactly what you’re looking for and will provide you with clippings/video of everything that’s being published/broadcast.
Media monitoring also fits into the evaluation process of any pubic relations campaigns your organization undertakes. One of the reasonably priced tools available to assist you in this area is the Media Relations Rating Points system. This tool allows you to set specific goals for your campaign and then provides you with a way to equate a value to all of those goals. Without this kind of measurement, it’s difficult to say if your campaign was successful or not.
What I want to discuss in more detail here is a no-cost, easy to use system to keep track of your media coverage. If you’re just tossing newspaper clippings into a file folder somewhere, I suggest you think about taking a new approach. You need a media log.
What’s a media log?
It’s is a simple log/recording of all media requests coming into the organization. It is best created in an Excel document so that you can search and sort info easily.
Why have it?
A media log assists you in evaluating the contacts/relationships you have with specific media outlets and reporters.
It can help to identify concerns with particular outlets/reporters so that you can plan to address them (e.g. always misquoted, description of organization incorrect, inappropriate language to explain issue etc.). Committing this info to a spreadsheet ensures the information is available organization-wide—not just in the memories of individual staff members.
It will also assist with evaluating public awareness campaigns by keeping track of the coverage generated by media releases.
What to include
Consider including the following columns (note- this is set up for a national organization):
Quality of Coverage (low, med., high)
How to use it
• Make sure you fill info out on each media call. If the person assigned to do this is not available to take the call, whoever does needs to relay the necessary information to him/her. Consider placing the log on a shared drive so others have access to it at all times.
• Before passing a media call onto your organization’s spokesperson, search the log for reporter/outlet and review past coverage.
• If there has been a concern with coverage in the past, pass along this information to the spokesperson. This information can inform him/her about how to approach an interview. Being able to acknowledge the reporter’s previous coverage can also help with relationship building.
• Use it in combination with media monitoring service information to evaluate trends, gaps etc. You should do this monthly, creating a brief summary report of data.
Once a media log is set up, it’s relatively easy to administer. It’s a great no-cost tool.
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