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Posted on 06.27.2019

More Than Hits: How to Measure Media Relations Success

If your organization is investing in media relations, how are you measuring its success? What are you evaluating other than the number of media hits per quarter or year?

Without identifying Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) on the front end, it’s difficult to know where to focus your media relations efforts and then evaluate the results. As legendary management guru Peter Drucker said, “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” That’s why every organization – whether working with an external public relations partner or an internal communications team – should set media relations KPIs at the start of an engagement or campaign.

How do you do it? The first step is pinpointing the “why” behind your media relations efforts. When you can articulate exactly what you want to achieve through media relations – whether it’s increasing brand loyalty, driving patient volumes or supporting physician recruitment – you can set KPIs to measure whether your efforts are successful and then shape your media relations strategy so you are targeting the right audience with the right messages.

Because every organization’s business and goals are different, KPIs will vary from company to company and even project to project. Click here to download a one-page summary of the top KPIs Lovell tracks for its health care media relations clients. Below are the first three, to give you a peek at our recommendations.

  • Mentions: The most basic measure, mentions show you the gross number of placements over time and can be used (in conjunction with other KPIs) to show the effectiveness of media relations efforts over time. We track mentions through a combination of automated media monitoring tools and the supporting search efforts of our thought leadership team.
  • Share of voice: For organizations facing competition for patients, customers or recruits, it can be critical to maintain a higher profile in key media than other businesses in that industry or market. For example, if your hospital is trying to grow its pediatrics program, is it getting frequent media exposure in the right outlets compared to the children’s hospital across town? Starting with a baseline measurement of share of voice (SOV), we continually track and work to increase media coverage – in quantity and value – compared to your competition. In some cases that means adjusting for tone, keywords, significance and other factors.
  • Message/key word penetration: How often are your key messages or terms appearing in a story? If you’re working to promote a particular service line or proprietary asset, or to associate your brand with a particular concept or idea, tracking message/keyword penetration will help illustrate your progress. For instance, if you want your organization to be known as a technology leader you may want to track how often terms like innovation, technology, or automation are included in your coverage.

The measurement of KPIs should be part of any good media relations strategy. It helps prove the value of a company’s investment and shows how a company compares to its competitors and the direct impact media relations has on business goals. Click the link above to download our one-pager on media relations KPIs (it does not include advertising value equivalency!) or drop us a note at lovcom@lovell.com to talk about your media relations goals.

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