We run the biggest digital public relations firm in the world, and we hear a lot about how public relations, like most professions, can be highly subjective.
Sure, there are certain guidelines and tips that are given to help understand how to select or respond to media, but we have found the best way to respond and provide value to the public is to have a good understanding of how to actually evaluate the media PRs are earning for their clients.
Read on for Promo Panda's official recommendations when it comes to evaluating media coverage of all different types.
Your organization may have a set of standard or guidelines to evaluate media coverage. But when evaluating media coverage, it is important to understand the basis for the organizations’ stated criteria, as well as the media outlets’ criteria.
Review the media outlets’ criteria, and see how you can meet or exceed the standards. If you are prepared and you are able to make the media outlets’ standards match your standards, you can effectively make your case.
One of the best ways to evaluate media coverage is by its source. Does the media outlet have a recognized viewpoint, or is it a professional writer who will provide you with opinionated, or bias, content? Be sure that you find out the perspective and bias of the media outlet.
Is the media outlet a source that is credible or appropriate to your organization’s organization and goals? If the media outlet is not appropriate, you need to decide whether to engage it or not.
To be sure you are not entering into a battle of facts with an outlet, be prepared to provide citations to support your arguments. In fact, in our experience, we find that the more citations you provide, the better.
It’s important to understand the tone of the piece to assess whether or not it is meaningful and the organization’s. One of the best ways to evaluate a piece is to ask yourself, “What is the tone of the article?” and “Is it clear the story is objective?”
Too many times, we have been the recipient of so-called fair, objective and unbiased journalism. But just as importantly, we have found that those same pieces are often wildly misrepresentative. Make sure you know how the piece will be received and adjust your responses accordingly.
Be sure to evaluate the piece based on the organization’s messaging. Is the article positively portraying your organization and is it effectively communicating your message? Does the piece provide analysis of your industry and business?
Also, make sure that the article does not reflect a large concern or concern for you, such as the impact of an organization’s actions, practices or policies.
In fact, you want to challenge a story that is not well-researched, so that the piece is an example of well-researched journalism.
Take a minute and read through the story and see if it’s accurate. Read for accuracy. Once you read the story, consider what, if anything, you would have included or omitted. Consider whether you would have changed anything, and if so, how?
Consider the grammar and punctuation in the story, and determine if it is consistent with standards for accurate journalism.
If an organization is going to respond to media coverage, it is critical that the organization be able to defend its position, and not just respond to the pieces, but create or improve on the organization’s message.
Try to respond to each specific claim made in the article. Don’t just issue an uninformed or inaccurate blanket response.
Similar to the previous tip, it is important to make sure that the article is relevant and connected to the organization.
Are you providing solutions to a problem or adding to the discussion of the issues? Is the piece appearing in the media outlet’s monthly publication, or is it appearing in another media outlet or publication that the organization should reach?
Check the outlet’s home page. Does it match up with your goals and mission?
Take time to try to determine if the piece is directly relatable to your organization and its mission and to your staff. In the best-case scenario, you can validate your organization’s position through a reply to the article. In the worst-case scenario, you will have to keep up the fight. But the work will be worth it.
Over the past decade, you may have learned something about media relations and communications from TV, newspapers, magazines, blogs, magazines and even radio.
While the traditional outlets are still important, today’s audiences have the power to find information in a multitude of ways. If you don’t continue to stay abreast of trends in media and keep your fingers on the pulse of your industry, you may find yourself left behind.
But the time to prepare is now.