The Numbers Game – My History with Media Measurement

I have about 25 minutes before I head to an industry conference, and I wanted to share my thoughts on why I’m going. Since I began here just over five months ago (my how time flies), I’ve learned many a lesson on public relations, interoffice politics and how I am perceived. One of the biggest areas of growth has been in media monitoring: the measurement, tracking and reporting of earned media coverage.

Getting into communications, this was not where I pictured I’d spend much of my time, though honestly I wasn’t sure what to expect from a career in media relations once I graduated. As nearly any practitioner will tell you, the numbers game is the ultimate goal. Whether you’re with an agency, internal relations or corporate communication, your ultimate goal is to share specific messages with specific audiences at specific times. And to be able to report on it. Starting out at the Dallas CVB, part of my responsibilities was to scan for references of Dallas tourism in a stack of magazines that never seemed to go below three feet high. Page after page, eyes traveling back and forth. I often sighed and wondered why the task was given to me and couldn’t I be doing something “sexier?” Of course, hindsight being 20/20, this was foundation for learning about that industry staple: precious lines of editorial coverage espousing your company line. I was better prepared for the quest at my next job, and technology met me there in the form of online databases. There are many to choose from: Vocus, BurrellesLuce, Meltwater, Cision. The list goes on. As part of a department that went from five to two in the span of less than two years, that drive to find all references and build those relationships was so much more important. And now, in my current role, I’m it when it comes to media measurement system expertise (though I’m using the world “expertise” quite lightly).

I’ve had some challenges with the current system we use here but through perseverance, blood, sweat and (few) tears we’ve come out on the side of almost understanding it all. I’m excited that my job empowers – and that’s the perfect word – me to take my knowledge to the next level. The Vocus conference will be a great opportunity to connect with those who play the same game as I – the numbers game.

I know they say this generation is “lost” in terms of starting a career and finding a place to experience development but I’m feeling like I’ve found a spot in the sun to grow.