Media monitoring is not just nice to have—these days, it is a necessity. You need to know who’s talking, and what they’re saying about your, or your client’s, brand. It’s not the only advantage, though. The importance of media monitoring goes far beyond keeping an eye on online discussions.
Here’s what is media monitoring, why is media monitoring important, and what are the advantages of media monitoring—in one simple guide for PR professionals.
- What is media monitoring: definition
- Why is media monitoring important?
- Advantages of media monitoring tools
- How to start looking for relevant media mentions
What is media monitoring: definition
Media monitoring encompasses the processes, techniques, and tools you can use to monitor what is being said about your brand, industry, competitors, and topics of interest to your business.
PR professionals used to review magazines and newspapers looking for mentions of the organization. They would clip the articles and paste them into clip books or folders. Long gone are the days when you needed to subscribe to them all and review page after page of every publication.
In our digital world, monitoring the media goes beyond typical press clipping, and includes online, broadcast, and social media. Effective media monitoring may mean the difference between suffering from critical tweets and media slamming and containing the problem before it turns into a disaster.
Types of media monitoring
There are slight differences between media, brand, and backlinks monitoring, as well as social listening. Depending on your needs, you might be interested in different media monitoring types (and dedicated tools):
- Media monitoring revolves around scanning public information on print or digital media to find out what’s being said about specific topics that are critical for you and your PR strategy
- Brand monitoring is about tracking different channels and platforms to identify where (and in what context) your brand is mentioned
- Social listening involves monitoring social networks and analyzing the data collected. It usually has features like sentiment analysis, which enables you to understand the emotions behind specific mentions
- Backlinks monitoring, on the other hand, is about tracking and managing your website backlinks
PR professionals and communications agencies like yourself leverage all types of media monitoring for their brands and clients. Among other things, PR media monitoring makes it possible to track earned media coverage and the success of PR campaigns, establish a baseline of media behavior, and detect early negative comments and mentions to avoid PR crises.
It is also important to highlight that there is a difference between social media monitoring and listening. We cover all the variations in this article. And in case you’re looking for the best tools, we have prepared two lists with software systems for social listening and monitoring..
Why is media monitoring important?
Half of the world’s population is active on news sites and social media these days, and more and more businesses are subject to online reviews.
PR media monitoring is essential because, without it, you cannot control your brand, or your client’s, reputation. You should be able to track how your brand is faring in online publications and social media. You can also measure the effectiveness of your communication strategy with these tools and practices. Media monitoring tools allow you to track the reactions to your campaign and measure its effectiveness.
Regardless of the size of your audience, tracking mentions can be an uphill battle—and practically impossible—without software tools.
Advantages of media monitoring tools
Prevent a public relations crisis
Depending on what you are exactly monitoring, you can catch an impending crisis from comments, articles, blog posts, and even reviews people have posted right in time to draft a powerful strategy to diminish bad sentiment.
Get complete coverage of the media 24/7
The internet works 24/7 and the media can be talking about your business on various channels at any time. Media monitoring tools can help you find mentions of your brand without having to hire a specialist who works around the clock.
Track mentions in overlooked channels
Are you sure you’re tracking your campaigns on the right channels? Sometimes your brand will get mentioned in a channel you overlooked before and didn’t think of targeting. Monitoring automation enables you to track mentions and keywords when a discussion about your brand takes place.
Get alerts for mentions that matter to you
Have you been waiting for that one specific media outlet to publish something about your desired mention? Effective monitoring tools can notify you the moment it goes online without the need to monitor it at all times.
Collect data to spot trends or outliers
Putting all statistics together can be difficult if you don’t have the right media monitoring tools. Once you have gathered that information, you can see which strategies are working best and which ones should be adjusted.
Before you start, determine your media monitoring needs. Review which channels your audience is on and define the outcome you want to achieve with media monitoring, for example:
- Avoid PR crises: Looking for negative comments and discussions across the web and keep them from escalating
- Track media mentions: Measuring the results of your PR campaigns
- Understand your audience: Monitoring online discussions to gain a better understanding of your audience and identifying influencers
Once you set clear goals and objectives, think about what you need to monitor to achieve those goals. These may include: brand mentions, competitors, partners, vendors, and stakeholders that can affect your reputation, or other relevant keywords.
When choosing which channels to track, include the obvious channels as well as others that may be relevant to your PR activity. The exact mix will depend on your business needs, but here is a quick list:
- News/online news: You can use a press clipping service for print media that will send a daily report to your desktop. Online news monitoring services generate reports from thousands of online news sources.
- Social media: Social media monitoring services and tools include several features like real-time tracking and sentiment analysis tools.
- Broadcast: These stations are monitored through closed caption video feeds. Automated services monitor the closed captions and generate a text file of relevant stories.
Once you’re done with the basics, here’s how to do media monitoring →
Many organizations use different monitoring services for different types of media. This is why, once you have defined your media monitoring needs, it’s time to choose your ideal service provider.
Your options include free and paid PR monitoring software. Free or low-cost applications (such as Google Alerts or Yahoo News) are generic in their approach and simply note news that mentions your business. Paid tools have various degrees of sophistication, registering multiple keywords and providing basic analysis. Premium services and software offer alerts and in-depth analysis and reporting in real-time.
Most services are subscription-based and provide a media monitoring summary or media monitoring analysis report. The fees can be monthly or annual. Some services charge an extra fee per clip. Here’s how much media monitoring actually costs →
Media monitoring tools can give you a competitive advantage by providing the information you need in real-time. The process should be continuous to ensure you’re not missing out on an opportunity to spot or secure media coverage, avoid potential PR crises, and get to know your audience better.
Once you have the importance and advantages of media monitoring clear, go ahead and choose the right media monitoring software for your needs.
Cover photo by Daniel Thomas