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How To Measure & Analyse Media Coverage

Wesley Mathew

Jan 12, 2024

Computer programming pioneer Grace Hopper once said:

One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions.

Who wouldn't want a thousand expert opinions? With so much energy going into the smooth running of your daily operation, thoughtful and accurate insight and reflection often feel like a nice-to-have rather than a pressing need.

But, if you can't measure your media coverage performance how can you grow or repair any holes in your strategy?

Table of contents

Analysing Media Coverage: We’ve Come A Long Way

Just as an accurate measurement helps you to grow and progress, the industry is constantly working to grow the selection and efficiency of the measurements of media coverage available to you.

Traditionally, Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE) was used to measure the amount of space a piece of content occupied, compared with the cost of an equivalent paid advertisement which was a common way to analyse media coverage.

While this may have been the best way to demonstrate value in the past, it doesn't have the same efficacy today. This is partly due to the differences between PR and advertising today, as Claire O'Sullivan, Director of Client Services at Metrica, points out: "Advertising agencies do not report their success or failure in terms of PR equivalence".

AVE also fails to account for the tone of media coverage, who has seen the coverage, or the digital impact of that coverage in the world of social media. Traditional advertising is also no longer the focus for many brands, who instead focus on influencer marketing, paid social advertising, or web-based pay-per-click style ads.

Despite this, a UK study showed that 35% of agencies still use it. For many, AVE is useful as the only form of measurement that attributes a monetary value for content. However, due to the restrictions mentioned above, this must be used in conjunction with newer, more digital-focused methods of measurement to give a fuller picture.

Meltwater has got you covered. The age of digital media has brought with it advanced media monitoring tools to help bridge the gap and more effectively measure and analyse your media coverage, campaign successes, gaps, and ROI.

Learn more about media monitoring in our extensive social listening guide.

Need to create a media monitoring analysis report? This guide will support you.

What Should be Included in Your Media Coverage Report?

Your job is to put together a media coverage report? Then you should cover the following topics:

Media Coverage Item #1: Monitoring Website Traffic

As the saying goes, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” This holds true when deciding to measure the amount of traffic you generate for your site, especially in the context of your media coverage.

The Meltwater platform uses a Google Analytics plugin to give you more detailed information on your users and their behaviour. Find which news articles converted to the most traffic, or which social post resulted in more visits, demonstrating your ROI and contribution to getting your brand out there. Interested in getting a free tour of our platform? Simply fill out the and we will be in touch.

Media Coverage Item #2: Content Reach

Reach looks at an article’s (or any other type of content) potential viewership by looking at monthly unique visitors to the publisher. Publishers of physical content, such as monthly magazines, know exactly how large their audience reach is, based on subscription information.

Some online media has subscription content behind a paywall, and the reach can be analysed in a similar way to print. However, the majority of published articles or press releases are usually free. By tracking the reach of your content, you get to know the various traffic sources of each campaign.

You can also determine the referral sites, that is, how your audience ended up on your website. Additionally, mobile use is increasing, making it more important than ever to analyse which devices users are accessing content from, in order to tailor your campaign and strategy.

Tip: Take a look at the most popular US magazines, the largest US newspapers, and the state of print media in South Africa.

Media Coverage Item #3: Share of Voice

Measuring your share of voice helps you to understand how much of the conversation around a certain topic your brand commands. You can also calculate the value of your audience’s brand perception and see where you stand against your competitors.

These conversations can be tracked in real-time using media monitoring tools, as well as using our retrospective data. By comparing your metrics over time, you can determine which areas need more attention. Another plus? This data gives you a competitive edge over industry rivals.

A 3D rendering of a megaphone laying on its side. A megaphone is used to disseminate a message to a large number of people and is often associated with public relations professionals, as they are trying to spread a message about their client's products or news to media outlets. That's why this image is being used as the header image for a blog on the 10 of the Best PR Campaigns of 2021

Media Coverage Item #4: Tracking Brand and Industry Mentions

Monitoring your brand’s mentions is an integral part of your organisation’s social listening strategy. Users are constantly conversing on the subjects of your brand, competitors, and topics related to your industry.

Monitoring is necessary because one small tweet can make or break your reputation. You can keep up to date with the conversation and follow key stakeholders, product names, and industry news.

Tip: Learn more about brand reputation measurement.

Media Coverage Item #5: Sentiment Analysis

Sentiment analysis or opinion mining helps to discover the sentiment of social media posts and editorial news media, that is, whether the commentary is positive, negative, or neutral. Tracking this information helps inform you of the tone of the article or post, with regards to the brand or topic under analysis.

Get to understand your industry through tracking the media coverage of your brand. Once you have this information you can do something about it before it becomes a potential crisis. Ultimately, you can use it to redesign your business strategy by playing to your strengths and addressing your weaknesses in the eyes of consumers.

Media Coverage Item #6: Audience Insights

Engagement is a necessary metric to track because it helps to analyse how your audience relates to your content and how much of their attention you've managed to capture. Understand if your audience stays engaged or, even better, responds to what you’ve put out there.

Social media platforms each have their own metrics, including likes, views, and votes. Start by figuring out what insights you want to discover about your audience and have a goal in mind before considering different types of impressions.

Tip: Read about 'The Importance of Social Media Metrics - Definitions and Calculations'

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Getting The Most Out Of Media Coverage

Media coverage is one of your greatest weapons in terms of winning the credibility battle and gaining additional reach for your wins. But it also opens your brand to potential negative coverage. Media monitoring allows you to be on the pulse.

Pitching the right content to the right publications is also integral for a successful media strategy. By targeting the most relevant journalists, you can pitch ideas that are creative, insightful, or thought-provoking and reap the rewards of a targeted approach (rather than throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping some of it sticks).

In order to identify wins and spot bad press, you'll need a media monitoring tool that picks up on where you're mentioned.

One Meltwater customer story of maximised media coverage involves HASSELL, an international design leader. Before approaching Meltwater, they needed to track and collect media coverage as they struggled to effectively monitor media metrics and were strategising in the dark.

They managed to streamline workflows and measure the impact of PR activity in their organisation. They gained insights that could be easily shared with stakeholders, while saving valuable time.

If you would also like to maximise your media coverage or find effective ways of measuring it, then contact Meltwater to access our arsenal of media monitoring tools by filling out the form below. You can also view our free, on-demand webinar on maximising media coverage for a more in-depth analysis of how to go about it.