Five Ways to Get Great ROI in Media Relations Research

While media relations is only one form of PR, the following Q & A can provides guidance for getting the best ROI in media relations research.

â–¶ Do you provide content for the media analysis or do I?  An “all-in-one” solution is convenient and may be cost-effective, but if the content is not included, be sure to factor that incremental cost into your budget.  There should be no surcharges or hidden fees when using an all-in-one solution.

â–¶ Is your firm’s offering based on computerized coding or human coding?  Computerized coding relies on artificial intelligence software to divine the meaning of a news story. Humans may be slower but we tend to be more accurate in recognizing the underlying meaning of complex issues, nuance and sarcasm.  Computerized coding systems may be consistent but less precise, and they usually require significantly more time in establishing and adjusting the criteria by which the media are analyzed.

â–¶ How do you check for quality and consistency?  Accuracy is a critical element in any research program.  With so much data to be uncovered, entered and produced, each media analysis program may have hundreds of thousands of quality elements (accurate circulation, accurate message analysis, accurate reporting—even simple tasks like spelling need to be checked). 

â–¶ How much time is required to set up the program?  Initial program setup requires a thorough examination of objectives, strategies and measures of success.  A simple program can be set up same day while more sophisticated programs may take longer.   This is an important factor to consider when choosing a media measurement partner generally and an automated or human-based coding solution in particular.

â–¶ How much time is required to adjust my media analysis program when message or media changes are required?  Your media relations programs change at “the speed of business,” which is to say moment by moment. Your media measurement program must be just as flexible and responsive. 

As in any serious pre-purchase process, ask about the firm’s cost-basis, experience in media measurement and expertise in your industry; then, request—and check—references. 

These questions and answers were written by Mark Weiner, CEO of PRIME Research North America. He can be reached at

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