Sustainability (and such)

Media Analysis

This is a media analysis guide.  In marketing, this would be part of a “competitive landscape” to identify and understand what other industry leaders are (or aren’t) doing in terms of traditional and social media.

Why communication experts conduct media analyses:  It’s vital to know how competitors and similar clients use media if you’re going to write effectively.  For many courses, student teams — tconduct a media analysis of  how other school centers/small businesses use media to create an online presence in traditional and social media.  Here’s a general overview of the process:

For BSU COMM 312 Students, Fall 2014:

First, go to the course Moodle page to see which media you’ll study for our client. Next, use the “media analysis template” to create a document.  Note your beginning date  and end date By the way, you may remember from Research Methods that’s it important to bind your study’s date if you’re comparing media because it would skew results one study about (for instance) election coverage to end  November 1 and yet another study goes through December 1 after the election, you know?  

Next,  take another look at the client’s web pages and how they use public relations tools, such as newsletters, videos, and social media.  Note your client’s voice. Know what each platform/deliverable looks like so you can analyze which are used by your client and other schools. See the WRITING FOR PR MEDIA ANALYSIS TEMPLATE for exactly what to look for in terms of social media and traditional media, although you may have to add more categories depending on your study.  Click here for a quick idea of how a company uses media in sustainability: MEDIA ANALYSIS sample – PATAGONIA.

Now look deeper at the website of your client; specifically, is there a media center and other pages that emphasis press releases, videos, etc. Using the template as a starting point, fill out what you can now in terms of names and links.  This is a baseline of information that you will compare  later in the course. Is the PR/marketing effort located in one spot or throughout the site?  (Some groups might use other names for the department or center, so note the proper name with the hyperlink.)

Next, look at exactly HOW your client uses traditional media, using LexisNexus and Google as described in the media analysis template.  Note:  If you don’t get a valuable yield from your first search, expand it by clicking more boxes or use different search terms.  Some people may find using the word “public relations” or “strategic messaging” with your client will be more valuable than “news” in studying traditional media, while Twitter feeds use # (hashtags) to group conversations around topics.  Find all the messages sent out during the time of your study by your client.

Finally, at the end of your study, draft a conclusion of your media analysis. The strength of your research would convince a client to believe your recommendations  for improved communication.  How many stories/informational pieces did you pull up?  What are the themes of your client messages?  List some of the most common key words and messages.  Topics to include, among others:

Is the PR/marketing effort located in one spot or throughout the website?   (Goes to how strategic writing efforts support each other, whether information is siloed, etc.)

Based on your analysis of social and traditional media, what messages are pushed out by the client and which are sent out by separate departments? (Is there a common voice or does each group operate independently with its own narrative?)

Exactly how do other similar clients use social media?  Traditional media?  Compare that to your client:  Based on your studies, what would you recommend for your client, keeping in mind our unique audiences?  If these are goals, how should they go about achieving those goals?

After looking at the types of media used by your client, use the “objectives and public relations media model” (at the end of this post) to include in a conclusion about media strategies and why you think they choose these strategies.  Proofread your study to make sure you’ve summarized the differences between social and traditional media use by each client, and how your client does or could follow those trends.  (Note:  You MUST have studied your clients’ website and media analysis results before you can complete this…that’s why this conclusion isn’t due until near the end of the semester.)

Objectives and public relations media model  — to use in your media analysis conclusion after all research is collected!  Where, exactly do the clients fall in terms of strategic writing strategies?

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