(This post is an excerpt from an earlier Measurement Standard post "The State of Measurement Standards January 2013: It’s a Bridge, it’s a Bridge!" It is provided here to provide a quick way for readers to find standards on how to calculate tone or sentiment. See the earlier post for more background, detail, and standards.)
The Coalition has released two standards-setting papers for the PR industry. The first, “Proposed Interim Standards for Metrics in Traditional Media Analysis," by Marianne Eisenmann, offers recommendations for how to calculate some of the most commonly debated data points in traditional media analysis.
The paper proposes standard definitions for assessing the quality of media coverage including visuals, placement, prominence, message penetration, and spokesperson effectiveness. And it reiterates that AVEs should not be used as a measure of media.
How to Calculate Tone or Sentiment
For what or whom you want to determine sentiment? You may be looking to understand tone regarding an industry or sector, or sentiment around a specific product or service, individual, or organization. A single article could mention all of these, therefore it is necessary to define specifically what element(s) you are targeting for sentiment.
Define from whose perspective you are judging the sentiment. It could be the point of view of the general public, or of a specific stakeholder group such as investors, physicians, teachers, parents, etc.
Whatever process is defined and applied, it must be used consistently throughout any analysis.
Sentiment coding options:
- Positive An item leaves the reader more likely to support, recommend, and/or work or do business with the brand.
- Neutral An item contains no sentiment at all, just reports the facts. If the news is negative, an article can be neutral if it just reports the facts, without any editorial commentary. In an unfavorable environment, neutral may be the best you can achieve. Base your coding on whether or not the clip makes people more or less likely to do business with your organization.
- Negative An item leaves the reader less likely to support, and/work or do business with the brand.
- Balanced An item includes both positive and negative sentiment, and therefore the resulting overall tone and perception of the reader is balanced.
Please note: We encourage you to comment on these developing standards. However, we suggest you go to the IPR site and read the entire paper first, then post your comment there.