African-American novelist, playwright, poet, and social critic James Baldwin put it best: “Know from whence you came. If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go.”
That sage advice is at the heart of why every organization benefits from a Media Audit. Never heard of a Media Audit? You are clearly not alone, because despite its enormous value and incredible insight for business and communications objectives, most companies don’t use them.
What is a Media Audit?
A Media Audit is a survey – a deep dive into how a company and its competitors communicate, either internally and/or externally. A Media Audit looks at industry positioning, competitive media messaging, the effectiveness of that messaging by sampling over a specific period of time comparable media reach and coverage achieved, and subjectively analyzes PR/communication strengths and weaknesses.
A Media Audit is all about a look back to where you have you been, what have you said, what digital footprint, if any, you have created, including baggage you’ve left behind. And it is all about benchmarking: Where are you and your competitors today? What is your share of voice? Are the right messages resonating? Are you winning in the right markets or are your competitors? Benchmarking with a Media Audit helps you measure – and justify – new PR/communication efforts and strategies.
What are the benefits of a Media Audit?
The purpose of an Audit is to assist in a constant honing of key messages, to identify competitive differentiators and adjust PR/communication strategies based on effectiveness, or lack thereof. Again, it’s the best way to get the metrics to measure success – and helps guide success as if you continue to Audit at key intervals, you can use this information to course correct.
So why don’t more firms do Media Audits?
Media Audits can sometimes show that the Emperor has no Clothes. In other words, it can expose weakness in PR/communication programs and strengthens in our competitors that some firms would rather not have their management see. In other cases, firms believe they already know what the findings will show – in nearly every case they do not – so they think they are saving money when in they end, they will end up likely wasting much more than they will ever save by not doing an audit.
Those who do not do Media Audits are losing sight of the point of a Media Audit: it is to help, not to hinder, a PR/communications plan, and just as Baldwin suggests, knowing where you came from really is the key to having a better future.
What does the process look like?
WAV Group Communications specializes in Media Audits and we perform these either on a project basis or include this as part of a program we conduct for a client. Our consultants have conducted dozens of audits for some of the biggest brands in real estate and finance, auditing both internal and external PR/communication programs, all highly confidential with the data never shared externally that would identify any company.
The vast majority of our Media Audits are done remotely and do not require onsite visits, but do require digital access to a vast array of past communications materials a company has developed. We work hand-in-step with a firm’s leadership to set the timeline, scope of work and a budget that meets the needs, customized to each audit and the needs of each client.
Media Audit deliverables
At the end of the Media Audit, a firm and its designated executives are taken through a complete review of the findings. WAV Group has a highly sophisticated media platform that allows us deep insight into media coverage and competitive messaging, giving us the ability to create “word clouds” so companies can visually see the key messages that are resonating with the media for them and their competitors.
This is a fully interactive presentation and review with complete metrics provided in addition to a detailed presentation deck with the findings.
If you are interested in a Media Audit for your firm, send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s talk about how we might be able to help.