Basic Components of a Qualitative Measurement Program

Listed below are the qualitative metrics most commonly used to determine the potential impact of an organization’s media coverage.  
Editorial tone: Enables you to determine the favorability (positive, neutral, or negative sentiment) of a media mention of your organization. 

Marketing power: Identifies whether a story contained certain elements of persuasion that are known to influence   purchasing, donating, voting and similar decisions of key audiences. This analysis tool examines a story for inclusion of the following: 
•    Attributes—Did a story describe benefits, or explain a mission or function?
•    Differentiation—Did a story make distinctions among competitors? 
•    Endorsement—Did a story convey support of an organization, product, or issue?
•    Call to Action—Did a story contain information, such as a telephone number or a Web address, that is likely to prompt a reader, viewer or listener to contact an organization for more details?

Prominence: A story’s value is affected not just by the content of your organization’s mention, but also by the context in which the mention is delivered. The prominence option can prove especially valuable when comparing your organization’s media coverage with that of its competitors.
•    Position of a print story in a publication (front page/magazine cover, or other).
•    Exclusivity (whether a particular organization was the only one mentioned).
•    Location of the initial mention (headline, first paragraph, or other).
•    Length of the mention specific to your organization, product or issue.
•    Inclusion of photos or other graphics and their appearance (in color or black and white).

Spokespersons: By analyzing for spokespersons cited in a story, you can discern whether your organization’s designated representatives effectively convey its point of view.

Story type: Analysis of story type is a valuable tool for evaluating the media’s receptivity—and the public’s exposure—to your organization’s point of view.

Strategic messages: Tracking strategic messages provide solid intelligence on the media’s depiction of matters that your organization considers vital to its interests or objectives. This metric measures the extent to which the media coverage communicates the themes your organization has developed to define a brand or some other distinctive characteristic.

This is an excerpt from the upcoming PR News Measurement Guidebook. It was written by Johna Burke, vice president at BurrellesLuce. To find out more information about the guidebook and check for updates for ordering, go to

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