You Need the Chicken and the Egg: Quelling Illusions of Content Analysis

Media content analysis is a popular approach for evaluating PR performance. Key indicators include volume and reach, presence of intended messages and coverage sentiment. It can help communicators prove value and improve PR performance.

For example, a technology company applied media content analysis, which helped it find increased efficiencies and cost savings. The result was that instead of pitching 3,000 media outlets, this company concentrated on roughly 500 targets that mattered most. There was no loss of media coverage.

A trio of factors is involved in media content analysis:

Speed: Content and automated analytics are delivered in real-time
Accuracy: Captures relevant content only and understands nuance, 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 includes a dilemma for communicators: should we use machines or humans?

Machines and humans provide advantages and disadvantages, of course. With real-time-automated, or machines, we sacrifice  accuracy and  human insight  in exchange for speed.

On the other hand, accurate human-coded content analysis sacrifices speed in favor of increased precision and human insight.

Conventional wisdom says we must choose humans or machines. Like so much conventional wisdom, it’s wrong.


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