The best media monitoring tools on the market are enticing and well worth the hype. What PR professional wouldn’t want to follow the pulse of their brand’s story? Knowing well in advance that a story is trending positive or negative is invaluable intel. It allows you to build upon a wave of support and act quickly to avert a communications crisis.
It should be made clear that the term “media monitoring” is an overarching umbrella that includes a few sub-categories. Media monitoring solutions track general industry news that’s important to you and your clients. Brand monitoring tools track the specific mentions of your brand. Social media tracking services monitor conversations about your brand on social platforms and analyze them for trending reactions and customer feedback.
Most PR monitoring tools available on the market will cover all of these types of monitoring in one comprehensive service.
The good news is that there are many media monitoring solutions and media tracking services available. The bad news is that there are many media monitoring solutions and media tracking services available. No doubt: with so many choices, it can be overwhelming to decide which one is best.
To make it a bit easier to choose the best PR listening tool for your needs, below you’ll find the pros and cons of some of the top media monitoring contenders.
- Best media monitoring tools for PR professionals
Please note that some companies don’t publish their pricing and require you to contact them for custom quotes. Therefore, listed prices are estimated from the best data available at the time of writing. Here’s more on media monitoring costs, in case you’re interested.
You can learn all about using social monitoring for PR from The Complete Social Media Listening Guide for Public Relations.
Best media monitoring tools for PR professionals
Prowly: From $258 a month
Prowly doesn’t only support PR professionals in media monitoring, but also in finding the right media contacts and organizing them in a PR CRM, creating aesthetically pleasing press releases, and managing email pitches, just to name a few.
While the largest media monitoring solutions require an expensive annual commitment, Prowly offers a similar PR automation experience with budget-friendly monthly subscriptions, a free 7-day trial, and dedicated training. Pricing plans are transparent and available on the company’s website, so there’s no need to connect with a sales team to get started right away.
Although backed by Semrush and almost a decade of experience in the PR automation software market behind it, Prowly is new to the media monitoring service sector, so user reviews are hard to find.
And if you’re looking for the best social media listening tools, here’s another guide on these tools.
Cision: From $7,200 a year (estimate)
Cision is deeply established in the industry and offers a full suite of PR automation software. Its media monitoring and PR listening tools allow you to track online, broadcast, print, social, and podcast mentions of your company and its competitors.
Cision can reportedly monitor an impressive amount of media contacts. In fact, some PR agencies report tracking 1500 of them!
User reviews consistently name Cision the most difficult PR software to use. Although a powerful tool, its functionality can be overwhelming.
Their social listening tool has search limits based on your pricing plan, so PRs using Cision recommend confirming your limit when you receive your quote. That way, you can actively avoid hitting your search max quicker than you’d like.
Some users also recommend setting up Google Alerts to capture mentions that the software sometimes misses. Pricing is on the higher end of all options, and there’s no free trial, free dedicated training, or free set-up.
Muck Rack: From $10,000 per year (estimate)
Well-known Muck Rack offers media tracking services for client and competitor news across social, blogs, online news, radio, TV, and traditional media. Automated alerts bring updates directly to your inbox.
You can easily follow your favorite journalists and their social media activity and create robust coverage reports about who has shared your link.
Reviewers report that media contact accuracy is very good, something that’s worth a lot in the PR industry.
Reviewers share that its mention monitoring tool is sensitive to outside issues, like when older news articles are republished with new dates. These technical glitches in data can be frustrating and time-consuming to correct.
Reporting is not flexible as many would like: the inability to delete unwanted fields may interfere with the desired look of client reports. While this mention monitoring tool is dynamic, it can take time to learn.
Meltwater: From $8,000 a year (estimate)
Meltwater has over 20 years of experience in media intelligence and provides media monitoring across online news, print, broadcast, and consumer review sites. The company claims to capture the most content and conversations in the industry.
It monitors over 300,000 online news sources and 300 million blogs.
Its brand monitoring tool tracks selected keywords and aggregates all matching content. Its social listening tool can monitor Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit, Twitch, Pinterest, TikTok, blogs, message boards, and discussion forums.
Some reviewers report inconsistent social media tracking and scheduling, especially around Facebook and Instagram. Social media dashboards from other companies may be needed to cover these gaps in monitoring.
There is no free trial or free training. The need to make an annual commitment instead of a monthly one can be a big drawback to freelancers and smaller PR agencies.
Agility PR Solutions: From $350 a month
When you distribute a press release with Agility PR, detailed monitoring on press release pick-up is supported. For those seeking a more involved, customized service, media monitoring, and PR measurement assistance are available through their team of media analysts.
The product can generate useful pre-built reports for coverage, the share of voice, and media types.
Pricing is not available without speaking directly with a salesperson. Features mentioned above appear to be sold as individual products versus a one-stop solution.
There is no free trial available to test the media monitoring solution, and several reviews report media contact data has gaps.
Nexis Newsdesk: From $10,000 per year
Nexis Newsdesk falls under the renowned Lexis Nexis umbrella, so article access is impressive (think millions). The product allows you to set up media monitoring and social listening across a robust range of media sources. Choose your industry news curation and automate your daily emails. Set up brand and competitor media alerts.
The software includes pre-built analysis charts and data visualizations that help you uncover trends in both traditional press and social media.
It’s the most expensive option reviewed, so it’s cost-prohibitive for smaller agencies. The website does not allow you to see pricing upfront. Instead, it requires you to contact their sales team for a custom quote.
While reviewers seem happy with the user interface, they admit that there is a long learning curve for new team members and that data visualizations require an experienced analytics background for proper interpretation.
Mention: From $99 a month
Mention is reportedly easy to set up with a friendly user interface. Its lower cost is favorable for small PR agencies and freelancers. The software can be integrated with Slack, which is great for teams working on that platform. Plus, the ability to exclude keywords helps refine and organize search results.
Reviewers report needing to weed through the mentions to narrow in on desired results. The product often picks up “spam” mentions, and companies with a common name may find search results are too broad. Some mentions do not come in at real-time like other products.
Brandwatch: From $800 a month
UK-based Brandwatch allows you to set up keyword queries that monitor industry topics, company mentions, purchase intent, and share of voice.
Users report that product development is ongoing, so they consistently benefit from added features and improvements. Dashboards are helpful and provide in-depth analysis, graphs and visuals are customizable, and a library of training videos ensures you’re getting the most out of the software.
The tool is sophisticated but not necessarily intuitive, so it requires dedicated training and time to get comfortable with it. Users report a longer onboarding timeframe than other media monitoring solutions. Search queries and rules can be difficult to set up.
Brand24: From $49 a month
Brand24 is a media monitoring tool used for various purposes, including tracking brand mentions online, measuring the results of your PR campaigns, analyzing the target audience, and gathering insights to improve PR strategy.
The biggest advantage of this tool is that it can categorize your brand/product mentions into positive, neutral, or negative sentiment which will help you in analyzing your online reputation. Additionally, it lets you download nicely designed, professional PDF or Excel reports anytime you need to showcase the value of your work.
Brand24 is a powerful tool for tracking social media conversations and identifying key influencers, but it does have some limitations. It doesn’t monitor traditional media sources like print magazines, which means you may miss some mentions of your brand in those channels.
Ready to add a media monitoring service to your agency’s toolkit? With excellent options out there to choose from, it’s just a matter of determining which one is best for you and your team.
If you’re in doubt, here are the features to consider when looking at media monitoring solutions:
- The number of clients and keywords you’ll need to monitor
- The total number of channels you’ll want to monitor – do you need coverage for media outlets only, or also social media?
- The number of users
- Your agency reporting needs – will the service’s standard ones work, or will you require the ability to build custom reports?
- The free trial – are you able to test the media monitoring tool out before making any commitment?
When you’re ready, take the chosen media monitoring tools for a spin or contact their sales teams if there’s no free trial available. Best of luck!
Cover photo by Luke Southern