Content analysis

You need the chicken and the egg: quelling the illusions of content analysis

Media content analysis is a popular approach to evaluating public relations performance. Key metrics include volume and reach, presence of intended messages, and sentiment of coverage. It can help communicators prove their worth and improve public relations performance.

For example, a technology company applied media content analysis, which helped it increase efficiency and reduce costs. The result was that instead of launching 3,000 media, this company focused on around 500 targets that mattered the most. There was no loss of media coverage.

A trio of factors are involved in analyzing media content:


Speed: content and automated analytics are delivered in real time
Accuracy: captures only relevant content and understands nuances, sarcasm and other figures of speech that technology finds difficult
Insights: someone familiar with your organization studies and interprets the content, providing context and understanding

A dilemma
As with other forms of measurement, media content analysis poses a dilemma for communicators: should we use machines or humans?

Machines and humans have advantages and disadvantages, of course. With real-time automation or machines, we sacrifice human precision and insight in exchange for speed.

On the other hand, accurate analysis of human-coded content sacrifices speed for increased accuracy and human insight.

Conventional wisdom says we have to choose humans or machines. Like so much conventional wisdom, this is wrong.

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