As a PR professional you must show your client that you are doing a good job. One way to justify your existence is to measure the results generated by your press releases, TV placements, and Internet articles. What is the best way to monitor and measure these hits. Yes you could do this yourself and all of the papers that you have sent a press release, use "Google Alerts", and watch check the TV news each night to see what aired, or was published. A better and more effective and efficient way do do this is to hire a media monitoring company to do this for you. Lets break each portion of the media down and examine exactly what can be measured.
In print specifically referring to daily and weekly newspapers, and monthly magazines, you can measure the article count, the circulation, the frequency, and the media value. To measure the count is easy enough, clipping services read All of the papers in a specific coverage area, and search for articles that mention your topics, then send them to you either hard copy or convert them digitally. Then, you must have all of the information about each publisher ready and available when you have an article printed. Next you must know whether that paper is a daily, weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly paper or magazine and tally that. Then count the circulation of each of those articles. Press Clipping Services gather this information regularly through media buyers, and get the national rate from each publication that they read. The circulation can often be found online, but may not always be up to date. Most modern clipping services use sophisticated bar coding and tracking systems for counting and measuring clippings count, circulation, and frequency. The hardest portion of this measurement is the Media Value. To calculate the media value for an individual article you mus know the rate and the length in column inches of the article. if you multiply that you get the Media Value. Clipping Services usually have a running tally of clippings and add them to a spread sheet, then at the end of the time period, a count if performed and a report is generated.
Television News is similar to Print media in the fact that you can calculate media value, and obtain audience ratings through companies like Nielsen's. Media Monitoring services record the closed captions of each newscast and run queries in a database against those entries. Generated is a report that includes Audience ratings. Next is the 30 second ad value, which is used to calculate the real media value and thereby create the Publicity value too. The calculated media value takes into account the length of the video news clip and multiplies it times the 30 second ad rate generating a value which equals the advertising equivalency value. To get the Publicity value that A.E.V. is multiplied times the PRSA multiplier of x3, x5, or x7 depending upon the placement within the newscast. Some more advanced systems allow you to even assign a Tone (positive, negative or neutral) and Prominence (mention, feature, or focus)to each story. The raw data from these reports can be used in a variety of ways to display your effectiveness in diverting or spinning a story in the right direction.
There are a few aspects of internet news that will determine whether or not you wish to count them. Blogs for instance, is that counted as real journalism or not? You must consider the source, but you must keep in mind that a blog journalistic or not must still be counted and does have some influence, therefore you need to measure that. Google Alerts can do this, but it only crawls sites once a day at best. Media monitoring service have bots that crawl specific media outlets websites such as newspapers, magazines, tv stations, radio stations, aggregators, and online only, and blogs. The major goal of this is to count these stories. Using a media monitoring service to do this is the most effective way to do so since they have the search expertise and resources to pool all of the data into one aggregated searchable reportable source. Adding additional values to Internet stories is difficult. You can do a word count and count the "in-links" or pages that link back to that page or article. Anything other than that would require additional information from websites like Alexa.com or Google analytics.
Now that you have measured all of this data taking it and reporting it back to you boss, the board of directors, or the public affairs committee, is the next step. You will need to generate reports that back up the facts, and report to show that you have sent press releases to X number of sources and Y number of sources picked up the story, showing the total number of stories, audience/circulation, media value, and column inches/runtime/wordcount. A good media campaign should have a goal, and these measured results help to prove that goal was met.