On June 24, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization legal case effectively reversed Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey (1992). The decision to overturn the two landmark cases – which had established and affirmed a constitutional right to an abortion, respectively – now leaves it up to each state to regulate abortion access with the ability to go as far as banning it entirely.

As states react to the ruling – some with increased restrictions on abortion access and others with expansions to access – so does the corporate sector.

Companies Must Take a Stance

The issue of abortion rights is a divisive topic that many companies may prefer to leave to the public sector. But research shows that Americans want companies and their executives to take a stance on political issues, and the abortion debate is no exception.

The stakes are high, too. Not only will corporate responses have implications for companies’ reputations, but they will also impact employer brand as more employees, particularly Gen Z workers, will turn to employers for additional benefits to compensate for restrictive social policies.

Developing an Abortion Rights Communications Strategy

This means that your communications approach to abortion rights will likely become a significant factor in shaping your reputation going forward. And, while your company’s executives or board members may determine its position on abortion rights, the delivery is up to you.

So, how do you develop messaging on a sensitive social topic like abortion rights in a way that resonates with your audience?

How Social Media Analytics Can Illuminate the Conversation

While opinion polls are an excellent resource for gauging public sentiment on social topics like abortion, they often don’t capture the nuances of the broader discussions that can guide your messaging.

That’s where social media comes in.

Because social media platforms host a significant portion of the ongoing public discourse surrounding abortion rights, it contains a depth of data that goes far beyond the polls. Not only can social media analytics identify what people care about most at any given moment, but it can also uncover the subtleties of the discussion, highlighting how you can frame your messaging to cut through the noise.  

At PublicRelay, we used social media sampling to analyze a random sample of 2,143 tweets (from a total of nearly 70k) from June 20 to July 3, 2022, containing keywords related to abortion and the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.*

With this method, we tracked the Twitter conversation around abortion rights to gain an insight into audience perspectives and the messages that resonate.

Here’s what we found:

The Abortion Rights Twitter Conversation Reflects National Public Opinion

The abortion rights conversation exploded on Twitter immediately following the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and it’s a discussion that’s likely to continue.

Our Twitter sampling results closely align with the results of a May 2022 Gallop poll, with 57% of tweets opposed to overturning Roe and 37% in favor of the Court’s ruling.

Interestingly, pro-abortion rights messages have an outsized social reach. Tweets against overturning Roe reached an audience 5x the size of those in favor of overturning Roe. In other words, anti-abortion rights tweets have a much smaller following than pro-abortion rights messages.

How Abortion Fits into Healthcare is a Leading Message

On both sides of the debate, messages about whether abortion constitutes healthcare captivate a significant share of the Twitter audience.

social media analytics

The “abortion is not healthcare” message accounts for nearly a quarter of the anti-abortion rights Twitter audience. Meanwhile, “abortion is healthcare” is the second leading pro-abortion rights message – behind “overturning Roe restricts bodily autonomy” – and received significant Twitter audience reach.

The Focus on Company Actions is Likely to Grow

In the immediate aftermath of the ruling, most of the Twitter conversation focuses on the overturning of Roe itself. Though companies’ responses to the decision appear in only 2% of tweets, that is likely to change as more state laws take effect and corporate responses materialize. Ultimately, the public expects companies to react, and we anticipate the Twitter conversation to reflect that.

So far, company actions mentioned in abortion tweets include travel support for abortion care, data privacy related to abortion services, corporate support of politicians on either side of the abortion rights debate, and company statements.

Using Social Media Analytics to Improve Communications

Let’s examine how social media sampling insights can fill the gaps when refining your abortion rights messaging.

For instance, Morning Consult polling data indicates that U.S. consumers want brands to support abortion access. Its July 2022 survey results found that most respondents “favored companies’ declaring a pro-choice position: Nearly half (49%) said they support when companies make a statement in opposition to the decision, compared with 29% in support of a statement that endorses the ruling.”

This information may help a brand decide to vocalize its pro-abortion rights stance. But what’s the best way to do it?

Consider our finding that “abortion is healthcare” messages resonate with the pro-abortion rights Twitter audience, paired with evidence that more workers expect employers to offer health insurance covering contraception and family planning services. Messaging that highlights how the company intends to include support for abortion access as a part of its employee healthcare benefits will align with a prominent thread of the abortion rights conversation while bolstering the company’s employer brand.

Building a Strategy for Sensitive Social Topics

Companies will face increasing pressure to respond to the overturning of Roe v. Wade and other sensitive social issues. And, because of its implications for reputation, communications around these topics are best not left to trial-and-error.

As a communicator, you can build a strategy that uses data to direct your messaging and navigate even the most heated social topics.

At PublicRelay, we use human-augmented technology to analyze conversations surrounding broad social topics for concepts, sentiment, and trends to shed light on the complex social issues that impact your brand. Click here to learn more!

*The number of sampled tweets was stratified to be proportional to the raw volume of tweets each day, and retweets were excluded from the sample. The analyzed sample is representative of the overall Twitter conversation related to abortion and Roe during the two-week period with 95% confidence, given a 2% margin of error. Learn more about how we use social media sampling to extract statistically significant insights from Twitter data.

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In the ever-evolving world of communications strategies and campaigns, connecting with your audience through social media is now more vital than ever. Because social media offers channels for engagement that traditional media coverage cannot, it’s essential for your PR team to analyze social content to understand the stories and topics that are reaching and resonating with your audience.

But first, you must identify and learn from the individuals on social media who drive the conversations that matter most to your industry.

What is a Social Media Influencer?

A social media influencer is an individual who has established a following on social media based on their reputation of expertise or knowledge in a certain subject. Their content often generates significant engagement (such as views, likes, and shares) when they post to their social channels. And, as Forbes explains, they are people with large followings that can leverage their audiences to promote different products or services. Influencers can range from those specializing in niche topics, like gardening, to individuals with broader appeal, like popular celebrities or public figures.

Why are Social Media Influencers Important to Your PR Strategy?

Social media influencers are important to your PR strategy because they have established themselves as credible sources on topics relevant to your industry with your target audience. Tracking what they are talking about can clue your communications team in on better ways to reach your consumers and create campaigns that will resonate with them. They can also showcase which topics generate the most engagement and provide a blueprint for the types of messaging that draw the best response from your target demographic.

Ways to Identify the Right Social Media Influencers

Finding the right social media influencers takes a bit of craft; unfortunately, there’s no magic list you can simply search (yet)! A large part of condensing your search begins with defining your target audience as well as your communications goals. In other words, who are you reaching out to and why?

Here are three things to consider when identifying your industry influencers:

Shared Target Audiences

Start by clearly defining your target demographic. This requires knowing more about the who in “who is using my product or service.” Major target audiences are often broken down by demographics, including age, gender, race, political affiliation, spending ability, and geographic location. Creating detailed buyer personas for your consumers will also help you to better understand your audience. Once you know your target audience, it will be significantly easier to find the appropriate influencer who has successfully tapped into that same audience. For example, if you sell athletic wear, your top influencers will be vastly different if your target consumers are teenage girls as opposed to middle-aged men, etc.

Relevant Activity

Next, you must find the “movers and shakers” that are garnering traction in your field. A great way is to track hashtags, keywords, and key topics that relate to your brand on Twitter.

Compile a list of the keywords and topics relevant to your industry, as well as key messages important to your brand, like Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, etc. The most valuable influencers are those who have not only engaged your audience on industry-specific content, but also on the broader social issues that your brand is concerned with.

You can also use Google Analytics to isolate the top posts (i.e., those generating the most engagement) within the conversations happening on social media about topics relevant to your field.

Social Media Reach and Engagement

When evaluating the influencers responsible for your industry’s top social content, you must consider the following:

First, how many followers do they have? Their follower count indicates the potential reach of each post.

Second, what is their average number of retweets per post? Along with follower count, the degree of engagement they regularly generate is important when considering their pull. Further, retweets indicate that their follower base is active and that they are posting content worth engaging with. Determining a user’s engagement based on this metric requires a full analysis of their published content, so it’s best to have a team doing this work for maximum efficiency.

Finally, what kind of influencers are they? If they aren’t a celebrity, their bio will often tell you what kind of content they post and provide links to their other social accounts. Keep in mind that, while a celebrity may have a larger following, a micro-influencer that specializes in your field will likely reach more people interested in your product or service.

Measuring Influencer Activity

Once you’ve identified the right influencers for your industry, measuring their activity can provide invaluable insights to inform your PR strategy.

In addition to analyzing their posts with the most engagement, the keywords and topics they use are also worth tracking. For instance, if increasing your ESG messaging is one of your team’s priorities, look at how your industry influencers have approached the topic.

By analyzing the top social content, you can learn which aspects of ESG, like sustainability or social justice, your audience reacts to most. And, with sentiment analysis, the tone of the conversations around these subjects reveals the direction and strength of your audience’s views on topics central to your industry.

Observing how your shared audience responds to topics relevant to your brand can guide your messaging campaigns. Influencers are successful not only because of their reputations, but because they have tailored their content and methods to reach their audience. Thus, emulating their activity can help you appeal to that same audience.

Utilizing Influencer Insights

In communications, pinpointing the right influencers means that you can tap into the people leading conversations in your industry and use that information to cultivate a more effective strategy for reaching your audience.

PublicRelay’s hybrid approach to media analytics pairs advanced technology with human analysis to help you to identify your top social media influencers and draw insights that can prime your communications strategy for success.

Click here to learn more!

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Social media analytics that make sense of the conversations happening across social platforms is an essential tool of modern PR. Tracking discussions about specific products, campaigns, and companies using social media analytics tools can provide PR teams with valuable insights into their company’s and competitors’ reputations. However, broader social topics, like ESG, have become increasingly important to stakeholders and are a significant factor in business success.

Communications teams must keep a finger on the pulse of the broad social issues, like sustainability, that impact their industries and align with their target audience’s values. With 500 million tweets sent per day, social media has presented an opportunity for companies by providing an open-source of audience perspectives and attitudes on every topic imaginable, with updates every second.

On the flip side, digesting the sheer amount of social data available while extracting reliable insights is easier said than done. That’s where sampling comes in.

What is sampling in social media analytics?

Sampling in social media analytics is the process of collecting a subset of social media coverage of a specific topic for analysis to infer what the general population is saying about it. Rather than collecting and analyzing every mention, sampling reduces the amount of data to a manageable volume while maintaining the integrity and accuracy of the findings.

For example, let’s say your team wants to know what aspects of ESG people care about most to refine an upcoming campaign. Social media sampling will gather selections of social coverage mentioning ESG topics using a sampling method that accounts for variation across the larger population. That sample of social content will then be analyzed and yield insights that can be applied to the total population.

Why is sampling in social media analytics important?

Sampling in social media analytics is important because it enables communications teams to distill massive amounts of data on a broad topic spanning social media into actionable insights relevant to your industry.

As broader social topics, including ESG and CSR, become more significant facets of companies’ reputations, understanding public discourse and sentiment surrounding these themes is equally as important as tracking your company mentions to managing your brand.

While standard automated social media monitoring tools can track your and your competitors’ social presences, they aren’t designed to accurately analyze mentions of concepts or complex topics. Human analysis, on the other hand, can more accurately capture this kind of content but struggles with the volume of data across social platforms. However, sampling is a statistically validated method for extracting insights from enormous data sets, like the one made available by social media.

How does social media sampling work?

Essentially, sampling is the process of taking and analyzing small (representative) samples of a dataset to draw conclusions about the total population without having to analyze each data point.

Social media sampling uses a statistical method often used in accounting that arranges large quantities of data into groups based on similarities, then draws subsets of data from each group reflective of the general population. The subset of data is then cleaned and analyzed to generate insights that can be extrapolated to larger populations.

How can you apply insights from social media sampling to your communications strategy?

Social values and priorities can change from one viral Tweet to the next. Understanding the topics and subtopics receiving the most positive coverage and engagement across social media in near-real time can guide your campaigns and help you to capitalize on opportunities to promote your key messages at exactly the right moment.

Here are a few considerations for making the most of social media sampling:

Determine the topics that are relevant to your industry

Consider your range of stakeholders and their priorities. Generally, sampling for social media analysis is best applied to broad topics related to corporate reputation (e.g., CSR, workplace environment, etc.) or timely social issues (e.g., ESG, DEI, gender equity, data protection, sustainability, etc.).

Each of your stakeholder groups will have differing and, at times, competing interests. Outlining the issues relevant to your industry stakeholders (e.g., consumers may care about sustainability and data protection, while employees value compensation and DEI, and local communities are concerned with CSR) will help you define the topics you’ll benefit from tracking.

Measure subtopics

Analyzing the right subtopics will provide your team with a more nuanced understanding of the conversations surrounding each tracked topic and enable you to finely-tune your messaging.

For instance, when measuring social media discussions around workplace environment, breaking coverage down according to subtopics can tell you whether people currently care most about DEI, compensation, or gender pay equity.

Develop a responsive strategy

Communications guided by insights from sampling social media require a PR team prepared to react quickly to changing social values and adjust messaging accordingly.

The insights made available by sampling social media can highlight what people care about most, when they are talking about it, and how to best frame your campaigns surrounding each topic and subtopic to resonate with your audience.

By having a strategy primed to adapt to abruptly changing views on significant topics, your team can take advantage of the nuanced understanding of social media discourse enabled by sampling.

Inform Your Communications Using Sampling in Social Media Analytics

Effective communications require a nuanced understanding of more than your company’s reputation. Tracking the social topics that span social media platforms can change how you deliver your key messages by capitalizing on the trends and nuances of the conversations surrounding them.

Though social media analytics tools that rely exclusively on technology can’t extract reliable insights on broad social topics, employing a statistically proven sampling method supported by human analysis can.

Not to mention, analyzing text for concepts, sentiment, and linguistic devices (like irony, sarcasm, and slang), often used in social media conversations, requires a human understanding that technology alone can’t match.

At PublicRelay, we apply our human-augmented AI method of media measurement to sampling social media content. By combining advanced technology with human intelligence, our team analyzes each social media topic according to the subtopics, sentiment, and concepts relevant to your industry and company. Click here to amplify your social media analysis using sampling now!

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In today’s competitive marketplace, brand awareness matters more for companies than ever before. Social media platforms not only provide a means to boost your brand, but they also generate data that, when used correctly, can steer your PR campaigns towards success.

What is Brand Awareness?

Brand awareness is the level of consumer familiarity with a particular brand’s products, services, or image. Familiarity is what motivates consumers to choose Coca-Cola over other soft drinks. It is the economic moat that wards off competition and ensures customers remain loyal. This is the first stage of the marketing funnel and the key to promoting new products, establishing loyalties, and reviving old brands.

When developing branding campaigns, companies must consider their values, reputation, and the levels of engagement their key messages receive on social platforms. Beyond engagement, brand boosts are about establishing positive relations between a company and its target audience.

Why is Brand Awareness Important?

Brand awareness is important because consumers rely on research and social proof to inform their purchasing decisions. In his TED talk, “The Post-Crisis Consumer,” John Gerzerma labels this phenomenon the “rise of the mindful consumer.” With an abundance of information at their fingertips, consumers can now sift through online reviews and compare influencer testimonials on social media before every purchase. In fact, 67% of the consumer journey now occurs digitally.

For this reason, companies need to use social media channels to build brand awareness positively influence their target audience’s consumer journey in their favor.

Social Media Metrics to Measure Brand Awareness

PR professionals’ branding strategies are most effective when informed by reliable data. Social media provides companies with access to a wealth of information on consumer engagement with and awareness of new campaigns, and influencer pick-up of key messages. With approximately 501 million tweets sent per day, companies are confronted with both a goldmine and a headache when it comes to analyzing the available data. MGP head of digital Eamonn Carey explains, “you can almost get data overload: the challenge is picking out the metrics that matter[…] The smarter brands are taking a step back from the tsunami of data.” 

Amid such large quantities of data, PublicRelay has witnessed an explosion of AI-based tools that help track the key metrics used to measure brand awareness. These metrics can be broken down into four standardized categories:

Exposure and Potential Reach

Exposure and potential reach, which tell the possible number of unique viewers a post may have, are the first data points to consider when attempting to improve your brand recognition across social media platforms.

However, exposure and potential reach should be utilized as baseline metrics as they do not provide enough insight on their own to help steer a PR strategy. For instance, a post could have high impressions, but also receive low or negative engagement. Using exposure and potential reach in conjunction with other metrics, such as engagement, will help you glean more insight from the data at hand.


Put simply, engagement is the number of users who interact with a campaign and the degree of that interaction over time. Extrapolating engagement can be done in multiple ways. Often, data analytics tools will create a metric that is a combination of likes, retweets, comments, and shares.

High levels of positive engagement often indicate a healthy relationship with your target audience and a successful branding campaign. However, these metrics also need to be understood within their context. For instance, a post may receive a high number of likes and shares but relatively few comments, indicating that the topic doesn’t stimulate discussion. On the other hand, the motivations for sharing or retweeting your company’s coverage may be negative. For this reason, engagement metrics are just one part of a wide range of data points that need to be taken into consideration.


Measuring impact on social media refers to the overall changes in consumer behavior and sentiment towards your brand as the result of your PR campaigns. Often companies will compare their initial rates of engagement and exposure to those during and after a campaign. In this case, social media analytics can provide a useful benchmark to inform your next steps.

Further, social media platforms are data treasure troves when it comes to evaluating your brand awareness relative to your rivals. A key goal for any awareness strategy should be about establishing your brand as the central player among competitors.  


In every campaign, influencers are vital to swaying opinions and increasing awareness. Strategists must understand industry influencers’ topical interests and the degree of engagement they can generate.

The appropriate metrics can reveal the extent to which influencers promoted your key messages and help your team to identify the major influencers in the industry. Ultimately, boosting your brand recognition is about intelligent engagement. Find the right influencers and you can reach the audiences that truly matter.

Ensuring Accurate Assessment and Intelligent Engagement

PR teams that engage with this standardized model lay a strong analytical foundation upon which to develop their brand awareness strategies. As Neil Kleiner, former head of social media at Golin argues, “exposure, engagement, impact, [and] advocacy are important, and there are demographic elements to it as well: it’s about reaching 10,000 of the right people, not ten million.” 

Indeed, PR strategists should be looking for intelligent engagement when improving their brands and that means going beyond base-level metrics that are supplied by AI. Although AI is useful for processing large amounts of data, it encounters issues with accuracy and meaning when it comes to nuance and developing insights that matter, and especially when gauging sentiment. 

How is Sentiment Analysis Used for Brand Management?

Sentiment analysis is crucial to brand management when staging a brand awareness campaign. Applying sentiment to the four-baseline metrics is the final element in a PR strategist’s information armory. Receiving high volumes of mentions, retweets, and influencer traction are all signs of growth. However, without an awareness of the sentiment of social engagement, your campaign assessment may be deceptive. 

Sentiment refers to the tone or emotion attached to social media posts or engagement. With the rise of Artificial Intelligence, many products are appearing on the market that offer sentiment analysis with unlimited data pools.

While the tone of your coverage is important, sentiment also extends to social media coverage of your company values and reputational drivers. However, AI cannot accurately identify reputational drivers and value systems that human analysts can. By understanding the kinds of reputational drivers and values that have emerged during a campaign combined with tone, PR strategists can understand how their brand awareness strategies are having a real-time impact. Applying sentiment to the four-baseline metrics through a synthesis of human intelligence and AI tools allows PR teams to pinpoint the positives and negatives of their campaigns to increase brand awareness. 

Using Social Media Analytics the Right Way

When measuring boosts in brand awareness using social media analytics, employing a variety of baseline metrics paired with accurate sentiment analysis will yield the most reliable results.

At PublicRelay, we utilize the four-baseline metrics for a holistic approach that compliments AI systems with purposeful, human-generated insights. Our human-AI hybrid approach focuses on intelligent engagement, whereby we filter out the noise and pinpoint the most valuable insights to help you increase your brand awareness. Click here to learn more.

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Sentiment analysis is a term that most PR practitioners and communications professionals have heard of, and perhaps even a tool they use as a part of their strategy. However, many industry pros struggle to fully understand the concept and what it can do for them when implemented effectively.

The applications of sentiment analysis are wide-ranging and impactful. For instance, Brandwatch asserts that “shifts in sentiment on social media have been shown to correlate with shifts in the stock market.” British political magazine New Statesman even used the process to determine that President Joe Biden’s recent 2021 inaugural address was “the angriest ever,” based on key linguistic choices.

What is Sentiment Analysis? 

Sentiment analysis is the process of identifying the tone or emotion attached to a communication. It can also be referred to as “opinion mining” or Emotion AI. Examples of the types of communication that can be analyzed for tone are nonverbal, like facial expressions and body language, and linguistic.

Analyzing the sentiment of linguistic forms of communication starts with examining a sample of text, which is then assigned a value based on the perceived attitude or tone of the communicator. Usually, the values are coded as positive, neutral, or negative so the data can be easily sorted and later visualized and studied for trends.

Why is Sentiment Analysis Important?

Sentiment analysis is important because it can provide you with a better understanding of your earned media coverage and help you reach your messaging goals. The analysis is part of an integral feedback loop that allows communicators to gauge the success of their communications tactics and identify opportunities for improvement.

Measuring the volume of media coverage by topic can only tell you so much. Without knowing the tone of that coverage, teams can’t determine whether their campaign is a success or a failure. For example, if your company experiences a spike in mentions related to product quality, how can you appropriately respond without first knowing whether that coverage is positive or a potential PR crisis, all of which comes down to sentiment?

Lexalytics explains that sentiment analysis can help companies to gauge “public opinion, conduct nuanced market research, monitor brand and product reputation, and understand customer experiences.” Once you have identified your strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities, you and your team can take advantage of all the practice has to offer.

Using AI for Sentiment Analysis

When analyzing text, computers deploy natural language processing and machine learning techniques to attach sentiment to words, phrases, topics, and themes. When an analysis program runs on an article it breaks the text down into these units. The program then identifies components that have been assigned sentiment in the program’s sentiment library (which stores the system’s human-coded values) – or the library entries they are closest to – and assigns a score to each unit. Finally, the system combines the individual scores to generate a multi-layered analysis score that represents the whole article.

As smooth as this process sounds, there are many areas where problems can arise along the way.

The Accuracy of AI Sentiment Analysis

Because AI uses natural language processing and machine learning to automate the process, it’s a useful tool for freeing up your team’s valuable time. However, fully automating your sentiment analysis can compromise its accuracy.

According to the Institute for Public Relations, no method of sentiment analysis will ever be 100% accurate. However, they argue that relying solely on a tech tool to measure sentiment “can be like flipping a coin, or only 50% accurate, since these platforms often struggle to measure more nuanced posts or are unable to filter and interpret the information through the lens of a company or brand.” Similarly, 5WPR estimates that sentiment algorithms are only about 60 percent accurate.

Linguistic Challenges for AI

Toptal has identified four major pitfalls of AI sentiment analysis: irony and sarcasm, negations, word ambiguity, and multipolarity. Some of these pitfalls can be addressed with approaches like machine learning algorithms or deep learning, but no solution is guaranteed to be fully effective.

Sarcasm is an especially deep pitfall, and its prevalence in consumer-generated content, like social media posts, makes it even more important in many sentiment analysis projects. Even humans struggle to comprehend sarcasm sometimes, so it’s no surprise that computers are often tricked by false-positive statements like, “I love the way [company’s] customer service team put me on hold for two hours.” Research shows that numerical sarcasm like in this statement is especially challenging for AI to comprehend due to its effect on a statement’s polarity.

As a media analyst, I often see articles that dive into complex subjects in detail. The more detailed the article, however, the higher the chances that an AI program will be tripped up by common traps like negatory statements, ambiguity surrounding entities, or articles that discuss both the pros and cons of one idea.

These issues demonstrate some of the imperfections of using AI, which can drastically change the narrative of your media analysis and your subsequent tactical decisions.

Adding a human element to your approach can be the solution to avoiding these major data hazards.

Using Humans to Detect Sentiment 

Although using an AI program can help save time, its imperfections can lead to inaccurate results that can impact your communications strategy. Because of these shortcomings, it is essential to include a human perspective to analyze the more linguistically complex elements of your media coverage.

While computers need to be trained to detect subtle context clues, humans have been ‘programmed’ to find them throughout their entire socialized lives, which makes identifying common language tools like irony and negations quite simple. Using human analysts to identify these common contexts and AI to automate the basic tasks that save time can be beneficial for PR professionals as they work to improve the accuracy of their sentiment analysis insights.

The Value of a Hybrid Approach

Both AI and human analyst approaches to sentiment analysis have benefits: AI programs save time with automation, and humans decipher context and increase accuracy. Ultimately, utilizing a combined approach can offer the best of both worlds.

At PublicRelay, our human-AI hybrid approach to media monitoring makes conceptual insights possible. To learn more about using PublicRelay for accurate sentiment analysis, contact us here.

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Every communicator knows when a big story is published, every minute matters. Yet many earned media articles leave little impact – while a few pieces drive the entire conversation. But what if you could know in advance which stories will catch fire?

With PublicRelay’s Predictive Alerts, you can. This feature gives your team an email alert that a particular story is likely to take off over social media – hours before it actually does. You and your team gain valuable time with which to craft the perfect response or engage key advocates to amplify the coverage.

The Details

Predictive Alerts uses industry-leading AI to predict whether an article will go viral on social media. If an article is likely to be widely shared, we deliver an email alert straight to your inbox. This gives you time to craft the appropriate media strategy.

The alert operates within a set of search terms defined by you and your analyst, depending on the topic of interest. The scope is completely up to you – search terms are not limited to tracked themes and brand drivers. Your team can keep an eye on important company announcements, key influencers, or monitor major articles on industry topics more broadly.

Strategic Value

Social sharing is a crucial gauge on which topics, outlets, authors, and stories garner the most attention. Knowing about these news hits in advance, your team can:

  • Enhance positive news by engaging company advocates and employees to share the story.
  • Get ahead of negative coverage with a clear, compelling media response.
  • Calm worried executives by demonstrating a disagreeable piece is unlikely to receive much attention.
  • Keep track of what’s generating real buzz for competitors or peer companies.

Earned Media in the Social Age

Social media has become a cornerstone of the brand landscape. In a surprising twist, however, this shift to social has only increased the importance of viral earned media. Only half of consumers say they trust paid advertisements – but 92% trust earned media. This trust, coupled with the fact that a majority of social sharing is generated by only a few earned articles, makes identifying viral earned media paramount to staying ahead in brand awareness. Predictive Alerts are the best way to glimpse into your media future – what will you do with the extra time?

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In a digital day and age where crisis can strike a brand in a moment’s notice and spiral into a viral nightmare, command centers or crisis “war rooms” have increased in popularity in recent years. But these insight centers shouldn’t just be reserved for issue management. Whether a command center takes the shape of a multi-screen nerve center or a single screen view for a desktop or mobile device, a central hub of media analysis can provide communicators a 360-degree view of their brand. Consistent access to data about the brand’s traditional and social coverage, industry and competitor news, and spokespeople can help avoid crises in addition to managing them.

Successful Command Centers Help Communicators Track Their Entire Competitive Landscape and How Their Brand Measures Up Against It

So what types of data should you pull into your command center? The following types of metrics will ensure your brand has an ongoing 360-degree view of your brand health and campaign success.

SOV for Brand and Reputational Drivers

Does your company want to be known as a thought leader? A diverse employer? An innovative company? To achieve such goals, your team needs to track metrics about how your communication efforts are translating to these business objectives. Being able to quickly spot where your brand is excelling or struggling from a reputational perspective helps your PR team best evaluate where to allocate resources.

Competitor and Peer Coverage

This intelligence gives you a read of your market or industry in multiple ways. Messaging and media relations are two of the most actionable areas for using this analysis. Who is writing about you and/or your competitors? Which messages are pulling through for each of you? How are they writing (tone) about your brands or industry? Furthermore, insights from competitive intelligence can be shared with other business divisions like Product Development and Marketing.

Influencer Engagement

Whether your brand engages with authors, outlets, or third-party influencers like pundits or academics or celebrities, you want to see your relationships pay off with positive coverage. You can visualize your progress in a command center dashboard and always be in the know.

Traditional Media Trending

A trending score tells you how your traditional media coverage is performing (or not) on social media channels. Consistently analyzing this data over time may reveal patterns that will help you leverage each channel for maximum impact. Do your CSR stories tend to perform better on Facebook? Do stories featuring your CEO spark sharing on LinkedIn? Do certain authors inspire retweets on Twitter? Understanding these data points will also help you spot anomalies quickly so you dive into why they are happening.

Messages and Campaigns

Lastly, to understand your brand and the impact of your strategies you need to know whether or not your campaigns and their messages are pulling through in your earned media. Tracking which messages are resonating the most with your target demographics, allows you to better allocate resources to areas where your messaging needs amplification or a revamp.

Incorporating these five key metrics into a live communications command center, will help your brand’s PR function consistently make better, smarter and faster decisions. Learn more about PublicRelay’s Communications Insights Center Here.

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Today’s modern communications teams are responsible for protecting more than a company’s reputation, they are tasked with communicating their brand position on key issues, influencing target audiences, and even working with the public affairs department to track policy issues and lobby for its interests. To do the job well, professionals need a method of understanding the media landscape and gauging whether key corporate messages around legislative issues are pulling through.

Yet, many busy communicators find issue tracking to be such a daunting task that it is a nonstarter. This is because it is difficult to fully track complex, policy issues that are not summarized by a simple keyword search like: online data security, online content responsibility or immigration reform. Media monitoring tools simply can’t handle such complex topics.

Breakdown the Issues and Find Coverage with Human-Assisted AI Topic Analysis

The key to understanding highly complex coverage is to break it down into topics and subtopics that matter to your business and your stakeholders. For instance, if you work for a major bank and want to track the topic of Regulation, begin by breaking it down into subtopics like:

  • Access to capital
  • Suspicious activity reporting
  • Trump administration regulatory reform
  • Compliance reporting
  • Financial crimes

Public affairs and public relations teams need to harness human-assisted AI to quickly cull through the slew of media content collected and focus on the coverage that matters to their key stakeholders.

Once they do that, they can start analyzing coverage against subtopics to see which are getting the most positive and negative coverage. Determining the frequency of earned coverage, its tonality, the amount of social sharing this coverage receives, and on which social channels, helps pinpoint where you need to focus your efforts. When done right, it will also show you what to do next. For instance, if one or more of your key messages around certain topics are very successful but others are lagging, you could reallocate resources and budget to others that need more attention.

Find Media and Third-Party Influencers to Target

By analyzing media intelligence over time, you will start understanding key figures in your industry like authors, outlets, and third-party influencers. Topical media analysis will make your team more effective and efficient at reaching the right authors to amplify your message. This is where you answer questions like, “who is writing negative articles about banks needing more compliance regulation and are also gaining traction on social media?” or “are there new authors covering the importance of growing rural access to capital?”

These answers will not only help your team keep an accurate pulse on policy issues but inform communications strategy around media relations. Use insights to tailor a media outreach strategy that gets results.

When companies can hyper focus on the coverage that matters most, they can also zoom in on identifying powerful third-party influencers. Third-party influencers such as political organizations, regulatory groups, industry experts and NGO’s have significant clout in their fields and gathering data on the way they shape media coverage is a growing trend for communications professionals.

Through analysis of the significant third-party influencers hidden in the context of their coverage, companies can restructure their key messaging to better address concerns of third-party groups and/or further ally themselves with those who have similar views.

Move the Needle on Policy Goals

Tracking policy issues over time and whether your key corporate messages around these topics are resonating with third-party and media influencers allows you to demonstrate to your executives that your team is moving the needle on key legislative goals. This way, your team can show that it is helping shape policy favorable for your company and all its stakeholders. Helping to ultimately prevent or pass legislation that affects your organization by influencing public opinion is just one way communicators can have a direct impact on the bottom line.

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With the rise of artificial intelligence and ensuing hype, many companies in the media intelligence industry and beyond began touting their use of AI. But the story often stops there without further explanation.

Communicators don’t have to be data scientists, but it is worth asking your media intelligence provider how they employ AI. In the world of textual media analytics, there are best practices as in any other industry. If your provider is not following them, it could have serious consequences for the accuracy of your communications data.

Media Analytics Best Practices

Use Ongoing Supervised Machine Learning

Cultural conversation changes quickly. The meaning and connotation of words are situational and evolve over time. This is why several studies have found artificial intelligence employed in the media analytics space must be supervised. One study from communications experts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Georgia found, “the combination of computational processing power with human intelligence ensures high levels of reliability and validity for the analysis of latent content.” Another from researchers at the University of California at Berkeley and Northwestern University found that unsupervised machine learning, “does not perform well in picking up themes that may be buried within discussions of different topics” and therefore missed several mentions of the topic they were tracking of economic inequality. The concept of inequality, whether in the economy or in the workplace, might very well be something a communicator would want to track – and certainly other nebulous concepts like it.

Computers can improve at processing language, but they need to be told what’s right and wrong. A computer cannot tell when the use of sarcasm in an article contradicts the normal sentiment of a word it has already learned to label positive, so it will continue incorrectly analyzing your content until it is corrected.

That’s why media intelligence providers cannot take a “set it and forget it” approach to AI. A constant feedback loop is required to educate the computer in the nuances of language. If the data set remains static, it will make your analysis inaccurate and irrelevant.

Target Analysis Specifically to Your Company and Your Perspective

The most accurate communications analysis comes from ongoing supervised machine learning targeted specifically to your business. Every organization has different goals, challenges, and perspectives on the world. Two companies can read the same news article or social post and analyze it completely differently based on their point of view. A solar energy company and electric utility company would categorize and tone the same article about energy regulation very differently. If you use the same data set across clients, you run into the same problem again in that the computer will continue analyzing content as it originally learned, not accounting for the context of what a specific organization cares about.

At PublicRelay, we perform client specific media analysis leveraging ongoing supervised machine learning to ensure that our clients are getting the most accurate data possible. This accurate, contextual analysis tailored to their business goals enables them to not only understand what they’ve done, but yields insights that tell them what to do next.

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A leading financial insurance company wanted to revamp its media measurement strategy. The new CCO tasked with implementing the improvement wanted to move their strategy beyond the manual media monitoring that the communications team had been employing. The team decided to adopt a human-assisted artificial intelligence solution that yields fully analyzed, accurate results in near real-time. The communications team can now spend less time worrying about collecting and organizing all the coverage data and instead focus on macro-level strategy. Company-wide goals like being known as a socially responsible organization are now attainable with all the new insights available. The communications team also has access to intelligence on their competitors, so the company knows how well it stacks up against the rest of the field.

Click here to learn more about the benefits provided to this financial insurance company with the help of their new human-assisted AI solution: Creating a Media Measurement Strategy Tied to Business Goals.

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