Continued from page 1
WHAT PRIORITY DID THE MEDIA GIVE YOUR NEWS? In newspapers, for instance, most readers look at pictures, captions, headlines and other "display" copy. They tend to read first few paragraphs of a story rather than whole story. They tend to spend more time with front page than other sections. Consequently, your story has more impact if it has more prominence or if it comes with a picture. It has much less impact if it is buried. Similarly, if your organization's name is in lead of a story, coverage is more valuable than if you are mentioned at end of a story. Comprehensive content analysis will assess impact you carry with story.
WHERE ARE YOUR MESSAGES BEING SEEN? Although content analysis can't tell your who read your article, it can tell you media outlet-by- media outlet which audiences were exposed to your message.
Not only does content analysis assist you in objectively assessing your campaigns, it can also highlight other communications issues that need to be addressed. Organizations that are sensitive to developing issues – nascent stories that are gathering steam and will need to be dealt with in future – find that continual analysis of their news coverage helps them manage, defuse or deflect problems before they become problems. Alternatively, content analysis helps organizations identify new opportunities that they would not otherwise see.
Of course, there is a cost to doing comprehensive content analysis. Depending on volume of news items, it may cost $2,000 to $5,000 per month. But organizations that make content analysis an integral part of their communications strategy report that they can, based on hard evidence, make decisions about and refinements to campaigns that yield a high return on that investment.
Clive Camm is VP at Verus Public Relations (http://www.verus.com) and provides the only comprehensive content analysis service in western Canada. A specialist in campaign evaluations, he has a special summer PR package to introduce organizations to the promotional power of the media and the Internet.