It never ceases to mystify me how many folks who have little to do with the PR measurement industry are willing to present their commentary on the subject as gospel. In a recent Bull Dog Reporter piece the author points to clip scoring models ( a rudimentary form of content analysis) as the answer to advertising equivalency and impressions woes. I congratulate the author for tackling the topic. However it worries me that some folks are quick to position recent ‘developments’ in methodology (which may indeed be well intentioned, supported, marketed, positioned, targeted and an improvement for its intended audience so congrats to those involved) as being methodologically new when content analysis, as a scientifically rigorous research method, has been around since the early days of mass communication. It has a long, rich history of academic use and has, in recent decades, been seconded commercially with some success and can present a deeper richer picture of an organization’s changing media profile overtime. A magic number can only measure and illuminate so much. Context is everything. However, as the common warning goes, don’t try this at home, having been on both the client and now supplier side I can say without bias that, where measurement is concerned, simple do-it-yourself models are wonderful to a point; beyond which: you’d be well-advised not to do you own dental work.
What the article and the comments that respond to it overlook is the fine thought leadership work that comes out of organizations such as the Institute for Public Relations Research‘s measurement commission and the Association for Media Evaluation Companies. (Transparency alert: personally I a big booster of both IPR and AMEC and my employer is a member of AMEC)