• Evaluate results
In order to justify the effort put into the generation of media publicity, it is advisable to monitor the coverage obtained. The most basic measure is the quantitative result – i.e. minutes of programme time or the number of ‘column cms’ achieved. More difficult is a qualitative assessment of the resulting impact. This becomes increasingly problematic when operating at a transnational level.
For example, a full-page story in a local newspaper will be seen by a few thousand people residing in the area, whereas a brief news item in the Financial Times or Le Monde is likely to be noted by influential businessmen far and wide. And an item on a BBC World Service science programme may be heard round the world. So, how can you calculate their relative value?
Estimating the level of success will always involve a considerable degree of subjectivity. Nevertheless, there are various steps you can take to establish a basis for judgement:
- Collect press clippings/transcriptions
Ask for feedback from colleagues and partners. During project meetings and informal contacts, ask them to forward any media coverage they discover in their day-to-day reading and viewing. To retain their interest, circulate radio and TV transcriptions or recordings and collated pages of press clippings that they can incorporate into their own files.
- Subscribe to a commercial service
Commercial services are available to supply copies of broadcasts or Internet downloads of press cuttings categorised according to country, subject and specific company or product name. Their cost escalates in proportion to the number of search parameters that are specified, and may become prohibitive on an international scale. However, when the partners are major corporations whose interests coincide with those of a particular project, it may be possible to access records that have been gathered for corporate purposes.