Linking Media Coverage to Business Outcomes

November 15, 2006 at 9:50 pm 4 comments

Can we show a link between media coverage and desired business outcomes? A new study (pdf) from the US-based Institute for Public Relations has some interesting case studies that in several instances illustrate corresponding trends between increased media coverage and a desired business outcome occurring.

For example, they speak of a campaign on the importance of mammograms with the desired business outcome being an increase in the number of relevant medical procedures undertaken. Looking at the number of articles published on the issue and comparing it to the number of medical procedures, a correlation seems to exist. This can be seen in the above graph which shows in blue the number of press articles on the issues and in red the number of medical procedures undertaken (over 2 years in the US).

The authors of the study readily admit that they are making a jump in assuming “cause and effect” but what they are looking for is a “preponderance of evidence” that supports a correlation between media coverage and business outcomes.

What I find interesting is the jump from an output measure (clips) to a business outcome. Further, that they were able to find communication campaigns where a clear link was made between communication objectives and business objectives – as often there is a large gap between these two elements.

Read the full study “Exploring the Link Between Volume of Media Coverage and Business Outcomes”(pdf) By Angela Jeffrey, APR, Dr. David Michaelson, and Dr. Don W. Stacks


Entry filed under: Campaign evaluation, Communication evaluation, Media analysis & monitoring, PR evaluation, Research & Studies.

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Michael Blowers  |  November 22, 2006 at 11:56 am

    Interesting study and one which goes along way to supporting Macnamaras Output/Outtake/Outcome paradigm. What I am not so sure about is the idea of using automated systems to spot favourability and key messages within media content. I really don’t believe this is an accurate solution in the foreseeable future.

  • 2. Glenn  |  November 23, 2006 at 9:18 am

    Thanks for the comment. Admittedly, I have not looked enough into automated systems to see how they spot favourability and key messages – I imagine the software is quite sophisticated but can it replace a human analysis? That’s the question.


  • 3. David Phillips  |  November 29, 2006 at 7:07 pm

    Of course this study is years out of date. I published a similar one in the early 1990’s in ‘Evaluating Press Coverage’.

    The issue is which is comes first sucess or coverage.

    The long term studies I did showed that media coverage (in those days) led the charge.

    It does take PR people a long time to catch on!

  • 4. Glenn  |  December 2, 2006 at 5:03 pm

    Thanks for that feedback David, I wonder if your study is available online?



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