The Importance of Conducting Media Audits in the Built Environment

For any business looking to scale up its PR and media relations function, it’s essential to first understand your current positioning. Most often, this involves taking a comprehensive look at your external presence and brand reputation to determine how to move forward.

Essentially, a thorough media audit enables businesses to discover who is saying what about them and how often, as well as where and who to. These findings are vital because they help ascertain what work needs undertaking and where time will be best spent to ensure targets can be set and plans implemented.

The most effective PR strategies are built into integrated communications and support wider marketing initiatives. However, all should follow a similar pattern, which begins with a media audit. It’s an essential step in the process that cannot be overestimated. Here’s why:

  1. Reviews your current positioning

As mentioned above, the only way to move forward with PR and media relations is to know your current standpoint and try to build upon this. The purpose of a strong PR plan is to improve brand visibility and reputation, which needs to be measured and reviewed over time. 

Without that initial audit, it’s somewhat of a stab in the dark. How will you build upon your existing foundations to determine improvements and measure success if you haven’t done the legwork to determine what those foundations are in the first place? 

Key questions and considerations in this initial step are:

  • Coverage volumes – How often are you speaking to external audiences? The more regularly you engage with the media, the greater chance you have of controlling external narratives around your business.
  • Coverage drivers – What is the topic of conversation within the media? Are you driving the conversation or are they? Remember a good PR strategy must work proactively, rather than just reactively.
  • Brand sentiment – Is the majority of what is being written about the company externally, regardless of the channel, positive? If not, why not? 
  • Key audiences – Where there is a conversation around your business, who is the audience? Is it national, regional or trade audiences? Are there any audiences you are not hitting at all and really should be? 
  1. Analyses competitor’s successes

Generally speaking, conducting a competitor audit is a foundational tactic to better understand what your competitors are doing and the threat they may pose to you. It offers insights into who they are, their strategy, and what your brand may be missing out on. 

Building a competitor analysis into your media audit is much the same, allowing you to determine who is doing external communications well. Most often, it’s those companies that regularly engage with the media, obtaining lots of press coverage with positive sentiment, who are at the forefront of stakeholders’ minds as a result. 

When dissecting your findings, watch out for what is not being said by your competition as this could be an opportunity for you to bring a new message to the market. And where you can’t beat your competitors, you should be joining them. Many journalists and reporters have lists of trusted sources that they’ll return to for expert commentary. It’s so important to engage with the media regularly to make sure you are on these lists because many of your competitors will be.

  1. Assesses the wider media landscape

This brings us nicely to our final point of the audit; finding the right media opportunities for you. Once a business has developed an understanding of its current position and considered its competitors closely, the final step is to review the media landscape as a whole. 

This step comes with an abundance of benefits, but perhaps the most obvious reason for doing it is to assess where opportunities lie to help form wider PR plans. For example, if a developer works primarily in the North West, but is never featured in the local and regional press, here lies an opportunity to build this into a media relations strategy.

Similarly, if you’re a contractor who is pushing an ESG agenda and only works with sustainable construction methods, you should be discussing the importance of meeting decarbonisation targets with your built environment peers. The trade press provides a perfect place to do this.

Finally, assessing the media landscape allows you to consider your target audiences and tailor external communications to this. Media publications share information on their audiences, so whether you’re looking to get in front of investors, housing associations, contractors, tenants, lettings agents, other stakeholders or someone else entirely, this part of the audit will discover where best to target them. 

For more information or to express your interest in receiving a free media audit from the PR team at REMM, please email info@realestatemarketingmedia.co.uk