A SWOT analysis is an analytical and qualitative tool used in businesses and organizations to assess the possible benefits and drawbacks of marketing strategies, business ventures and long- and short-term strategic plans of organizations. A SWOT analysis has many applications in addition to these. A SWOT analysis takes its name from the four core areas ir examines: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
The strengths component of a SWOT analysis looks at the internal workings of an organization in terms of positive attributes and assets. For example, some media outlets may cite their online presence, high online and print advertisement rates, an experienced and passionate writing staff, a large contact database and a sustainable financial operating model.
The weaknesses part of a SWOT analysis looks at the internal components of an organization in terms of flaws and limitations. For example, some media outlets may cite an ill-defined or biased brand, weak newspaper sales, high staff turnover, high overhead, expensive legacy costs or outdated publishing software and equipment.
The opportunities part of a SWOT analysis looks at the external atmosphere of an organization, i.e., local and distant factors that lead to growth or further development. In this section, the media outlet would identify those opportunities for improvement. For example, media outlets may cite a large market, unused office space, upcoming training seminars, an increased amount of local or national news, a growing economy, a fragmented cable news market, less competitors or high barriers for entering the media industry.
The threats part of a SWOT analysis also looks at the external atmosphere of an organization in terms of local and distant factors that could possibly cause a decline or harm to the organization. In this section, the media outlet identifies those threats that could harm its growth or the status quo. For example, media outlets may cite an increase in the amount of free content, rapidly changing technology and distribution methods, decreased public interest in news, an increase in the cost of production or an increase in the number of media outlets.
Constructing a SWOT Analysis
With the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats identified, making a chart displaying this information is the next step. The chart should be 2-by-2 foot in size with the strengths placed in the top left corner, weaknesses in the top right corner, opportunities in the bottom left corner and threats in the bottom right corner.