Stop Counting Coverage and Start Counting Quality

For many people, any coverage is good coverage. But is this really true? Can we measure the effectiveness of a traditional PR campaign simply by the number of clippings? Here in China, there is a long-standing practice of providing journalists some money, innocently called a “transportation fee”, so that they will attend a briefing or press conference. The result is often non-relevant, non-influential publications attending the briefing simply to collect some pocket money. The client, in this case, is measuring the effectiveness of the briefing by the amount of people there to watch, regardless of each journalist’s reach or industry. This way of thinking is not only exclusive to China, however, but any place people are trying to launch a PR campaign, since higher numbers always look better in reports.


Not all media equal, however. Some publications and journalists reach tens of thousands, maybe millions, of people, while others have an audience that is measured in significantly more modest numbers. At EASTWEST Public Relations, we realize  this fact and use it as our number one weapon to combat the practice of paying journalists and to convince clients that counting heads (or clippings) isn’t an effective form of measurement. Certainly a journalist from an obscure regional trade publication is not on equal ground as someone from an Reuters or Bloomberg in terms of reach. That is why we don’t guarantee coverage by simply inviting any journalist looking for some pocket cash. What we do guarantee is that we will target the journalists that matter, the ones who are relevant to the news being announced and have the reach to effectively carry on that message.


In order to make this guarantee, we simply do our homework and find out everything we can about each journalist, then screen them for suitability. By researching circulation numbers, past and present articles, and the target audience, we are able to narrow down the list to only journalists who would be interested in the story and who will attend because the news is very relevant to their audience. We even conduct a media audit by calling the journalists to ascertain interest. What the client is given, are journalists who will be passionate about this subject and have the audience that will listen, both in terms of numbers and in terms of interest. Passion cannot be bought. The result is quality coverage and maximum visibility.


All of this information can be easily found on online. In the age of the Internet, there simply are no excuses for doing this research. Publications list their circulation numbers online often along with statistics of their target audience. Articles written by journalists can also be found online, often even for print publications, giving you a glimpse of the journalist’s writing interests. It is even worth looking to see if the journalist has an online presence, as many journalists are influential in both traditional and new media, with many having their own blog or group page. So, with all the tools at our disposal, there is simply no reason why you cannot do your homework, unless, of course, your dog ate it.


To find out more on how to launch an effective briefing or interview, contact us at

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