An article in the current issue of PRInfluences explains the PR measurement buzz words “Share of Discussion.”
According to the article, Share of Discussion measures the quantity and quality of an organization’s unpaid media coverage in comparison to that of its competitors, in a single metric figure that could be directly and scientifically linked with hard business outcomes like sales and customer preference. It is easily provided to management, easily understood, and could be tracked over time.
By comparing media coverage against competitors, a company will be able to situate itself in the industry and the broader market., providing valuable information to management decision makers.
Using the Share of Discussion metric, PR practitioners can concretely demonstrate that their efforts in gaining media exposure add value to the organization’s business bottom line and are not just a cost. This can help them compete with other departments for a good share of the budget and, possibly, a seat in the board.
The quality of media coverage is measured in various ways, depending on the specific organization’s objectives. Among the factors considered are: the article’s tone - whether positive, negative or neutral, the prominence of the organization in the article and of the article in the publication, the type of publication, the visibility of the brand in the graphics or headline and the spokespeople quoted.
The effect of Share of Discussion on sales can be measured by calculating the Share of Discussion figure over 2 years in weekly, monthly or quarterly periods and correlating this with business outcome data such as sales figures for the same periods.
Although Share of Discussion does not measure PR efforts directed at channels other than media, the article points out that media coverage is a good reflection of public opinion. Share of Discussion is, therefore, a good indicator of media relations, corporate reputation and brand awareness.
Quite a handy tool, if you ask me.