Holistic #prmeasurement

Holistic PR measurement is the phrase we use to describe media evaluation ‘in the round’:

  1. what message are you conveying about your organisation via your ‘owned media’ and ‘paid media’,
  2. what are others saying about you – ‘earned media’,
  3. how is this all being amplified by others – ‘shared media’.

Our friends at The Communication Dividend have built an amazing online dashboard which enables you to look at your company’s media profile ‘in the round’ and we are helping them to spread the word over this side of the world (TCD was ‘born’ in Australia, under the sage guidance of Deb Camden).

Find out more about The Communication Dividend here


Experienced Media Analysts in the news

We spend our days finding, sorting and analysing media coverage for our clients. Sometimes we get a mention or two online ourselves.

Below you will find some links to recent media coverage featuring our team.

Steph Bridgeman continues her work in Further Education governance, having joined the Nelson and Colne College Board of Corporation, since it was recently merged with Accrington and Rossendale College.  She was featured in FE News‘ Movers and Shakers column in March 2019.

Our marketing audit for the College was shortlisted in the 2019 AMEC Awards for “Best measurement in the public and not-for-profit sectors”, alongside our consultancy work with Diageo. We were very pleased when Diageo picked up two golds and a platinum award (grand prix, best of the entries among non measurement / media intelligence agencies).

We enjoyed sharing in Manchester’s success at the 2019 AMEC awards, Steph managed to squeeze into the right of the photo in this piece from BDaily.

We took part in a Twitter chat during AMEC’s measurement month in November 2018, thanks to P Plus Measurement for the write up.

Our clean / dirty data tips for neat and tidy PR measurement coding continue to be picked up by media titles such as business2community.com, having first appeared on Coverage Book’s blog.

In summer 2018, Steph Bridgeman explained the values needed to drive success in PR measurement in this IABC podcast.

Click here to download a free eBook via Coverage Book on PR measurement.

Ever thought about social search to supplement your media monitoring efforts? We explain why here on Coverage Book’s blog.

Having trouble setting KPIs? Here are some tips from us picked up by Charitycomms.org.uk

PR measurement services for freelancers

If you are a PR freelancer your favourite topic might not be measurement. We forgive you.  But maybe you need to buy in a bit of measurement and evaluation expertise from time to time. If so, here are some of the services we offer:


PR measurement for freelancers

AMEC Young Leaders Event for Measurement Month (#AMECmm)

On September 6th, at Ketchum’s offices in London, AMEC’s Young Leaders Group and the PRCA Best Practice Committee held and inspiring event called “The New Normal: how a multiplicity of research and measurement methods can be your guide in today’s disruptive communications world.”

Moderated by Ben Levine (AMEC Board Director & Ketchum) and Orla Graham at Cision, we heard from Barnaby Barron at Cision, Rob Agnew at Vitreous World and Erin Salisbury from Ketchum.  Here is what they covered:

Barnaby spoke first, and started his speech by referring to the ‘New Normal’ saying, ‘it is never normal’!  Barnaby took inspiration from his university days studying physics at Cardiff University, particularly the concept of chaos theory.  In chaos theory, small effects can have huge consequences. Barnaby used this analogy to link to media evaluation, explaining that a company’s reputation is part of a complicated system with different variables, making it hard to predict future patterns.  The new normal in terms of news distribution, Barnaby reminded us, is the fact that people are increasingly shunning news sites per se as a first port of call for news, and that they are having their news agenda curated via a social feed.

He showed information from the Edelman Trust Barometer, explaining that while time and again, social media is considered to be the least trusted source of news, we are increasingly using our social feed as a method of receiving news. There is therefore a paradox in terms of what we say we do and what we do.

Trust in social media

Barnaby also commented on the fact that the vast majority of media evaluation programmes are backward looking, focusing on news and social media content which been published. He called for more forward looking and iterative evaluation, to inform future strategy.

Next up, we heard from Rob Agnew from Vitreous World, who approached the topic of the ‘New Normal’ from a primary research standpoint.  In his opening remarks, Rob focused on the flaws of primary research methods, hidden within these flaws some of the research secrets and insights can be found.

Harness the flaws

The ’Old Normal’ of market research, online surveys, face to face interviews and telephone polling all have their flaws.  New techniques such as ‘life logging’ will still have inherent flaws, it is the bringing together of the best bits of these various techniques where the magic can happen.  A multi-methodological approach can lead to the most exciting data sets.

Rob then spoke about the availability of data – and the importance of comparing survey data with client data sets.  Mirroring the earlier comments made by Barnaby in relation to the Edelman Trust Barometer, Rob commented on the difference in what people think they do and what they say they do.

Rob went on to explore the flaws in political polling, particularly the past few (poorly predicted) election results.  The ‘New Normal’ in terms of political polling is that people are increasingly changing their mind as late as the day of an election.  This is why social media, not subject to the same mainstream news blackout on UK polling days, had such an impact on the recent UK general election.

Rob went on to explain that social media has meant that people are more willing to give away their data, and that this data is providing ever more useful insights.  We are increasingly more comfortable with (or simply surrendering to!) the data collected almost without our knowledge by apps such as Apple Health.

He wrapped up by reiterating that one data source nowadays is never enough – it is the blending of multiple data sources and an understanding of the strengths, weaknesses and flaws, of each data set which can lead to the most compelling client insights.

Erin approached the topic by introducing the audience to some typical questions which clients ask ahead of a measurement programme.  She then reiterated what many of us in the measurement industry know so well, every campaign / audience / country is different and requires different research and evaluation techniques.  That’s why a tailored approach to measurement is paramount.

Client questions

Erin then explained (I concur) that you should not always have blind faith in the technology solutions available to us. We should not always take the data which we receive from vendors at face value.  With enquiring minds, we should dig deep into our data sets, to ensure the validity of the source data, before we can draw meaningful insights from it.

Erin went on to urge peers and clients to trust our advice. We must never be timid to tell clients when things go wrong. Clients are funny creatures though, they say the love test and learn iterative research techniques, but in reality, they do find it hard to accept when things don’t go as planned with their marketing campaigns.

Finally, Ern urged us all to trust in our skills. And as a profession we need to take it upon ourselves to innovate in this space.

There followed a lively Q&A session, led by an initial question from AMEC Chairman Richard Bagnall.  Points discussed included how the AMEC framework is used in practice, barriers to getting client (eg sales, outcomes) data, challenging budgets, the limits of automation in data analysis and the importance of human enrichment of the data.  Security of client data, encryption and GDPR were also discussed, mainly in the context of market research data. Charities were revealed to be among the most nimble and resourceful in accessing and sharing client data to help demonstrate outcomes.

The event proved to be very inspiring – not just to see the talent coming through the ranks of the measurement, evaluation and research agencies, but to see the exciting possibilities opening up to the profession through the use of technology, and ultimately through the use of multiple data sources to make the insights we can offer to our clients more meaningful and actionable.





Coverage, coverage everywhere and not a moment to think*

* The title of this blog post is inspired by “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge


This is a story about change. Or perhaps it is about progress. On second thoughts I think the opposite is happening.

Media analysts are suffering from the 24-hour news cycle.  They have ’virtually’ been data puked on. There. I’ve said it.

I’ll outline some of the practical effects of change and progress in the media analysis industry over nearly 20 years on the people at the coal-face of production.

First, a history lesson. When I started working at Metrica in 1999, our clients’ hard copy coverage would arrive in sacks via the postman.  If the postman arrived with two sacks we knew we had a busy day coming.  The work level was visible.  Sometimes the number of sacks was an early indicator of a reputational client crisis emerging – no early warning signal spikes on a dashboard for us back in the 20th century!  We knew about it the morning after.


Our media analysts would pop into the office once or twice a week, pick up their hard copy cuttings, take them home (from whence they carried out content analysis) and their deadline for the work might be ‘end of the month’ or ‘two weeks’ time’.

The coverage they received was nearly always about the client. These were the days pre-automation at the media monitoring agencies, when the production rooms at Durrants and Romeike & Curtis were thick with the smell of news print and scissors were an occupational hazard.  I’d say these were the glory days, the pace was sedate, our team members’ time was productive.

Fast forward to 2017. We live in a 24-hour news cycle, with content being spewed out not just by journalists – the whole world is at it!  This has been a great opportunity for media analysts – an exponential increase in the volume of content to read and analyse.

But with it comes 21st century challenges.  The analyst no longer pops in to the office to pick up their coverage. Fewer chances to catch up and connect with them over a cup of tea – instead we communicate with each other virtually on Skype calls.  Our workload is measured in megabytes or file attachments rather than sacks of post.  The deadline is always ‘as soon as possible’ which typically means ‘tomorrow’ or ‘Monday morning’ if today happens to be a Friday!  Client crises inevitably happen over public holidays or the day before a week’s annual leave (actually, nothing changes there, the ‘law of sod’ is perpetual!).

I’m not complaining, it is a sign of progress. Computers now do the stuff they are good at, leaving the humans to do the stuff they are good at. Metadata (date, headline, source, journalist) is often pre-populated on our databases, giving us more time to analyse the content within the media. We increasingly do the interesting stuff like message identification and spotting emerging opportunities and threats.  Think how many forests have been saved now that we work in paperless offices. My double / triple /quadruple screen set up does block out the sun a bit from my window though.

Multiple screens

The biggest challenge is wading through the treacle.  As a data nerd I collect oodles of data about my freelance media analysis team.  The starkest trend is the amount of waffle and nonsense which needs to be filtered out. 2016 was particularly bad – over a third of the content we received was not relevant to our client briefs and had to be filtered out. That’s a third of my team’s time not really doing content analysis.  I don’t call that progress.

Irrel coverage over time

How has your working day changed since you started working in media analysis? Do you share my challenges? Have you developed ways to work smarter? Let’s share them amongst the AMEC Young Leaders Group**.  Thanks for reading.




** Steph is a member of the Young Leaders Group at the International Association of Measurement & Evaluation of Communication (AMEC), whose focus is to provide networking and knowledge share opportunities to rising stars in the media evaluation and analysis sector.  Come and join our LinkedIn group.