News monitoring tools
 · 12 min read · May 13, 2024

Best News Monitoring Tools for 2024: Feature & Pricing Guide

Kamila Hanson

Public relations specialists face ongoing challenges to maintain visibility and media oversight. Thankfully, gone are the days when you need to manually track every mention. Instead, you can use a comprehensive news monitoring tool so that you never miss an opportunity again.

Such a tool can automate the tracking of brand mentions across diverse media outlets, from online outlets to broadcast, TV, print, and social media. This not only saves time but also ensures comprehensive and accurate analysis, along with the capability to quickly detect (and respond!) to potential crises.

All the benefits of news tracking tools allow for a more strategic approach to managing a brand's media presence, optimizing PR efforts, and showing off your success.

Best news monitoring tools for 2024

Choosing the right news monitoring tool can be daunting.

Here's a comparison of some of the top news monitoring software, focusing on features, pricing, and overall effectiveness. A list ideal for freelancers, agencies, and in-house PR teams:

  1. Prowly
  2. Brandwatch
  3. Brand24
  4. Meltwater
  5. Hootsuite
  6. Sprout Social
  7. Critical Mention
  8. Talkwalker
  9. Awario 
  10. Google Alerts

News monitoring tool pricing comparison

We’ve conducted a thorough price comparison for news tracking and additional features designed specifically for those who work in PR.

PricingAll in one PR toolNews monitoringMedia databasePress release creatorPR CRM
ProwlyFrom $258/moYesYesYesYesYes
Brand24From $79/moNoYesYesNoYes
HootsuiteFrom $99/moNoYesNoNoNo
Sprout SocialFrom $199/moNoYesNoNoNo
Critical MentionUnknownNoYesYesNoYes
AwarioFrom $49/moNoYesNoNoNo
Google AlertsFreeNoYesNoNoNo

With this chart, you’ll be able to assess whether or not it would be beneficial to get just a platform that has select features, or one that is a comprehensive powerhouse that covers all the bases.

News monitoring tool #1: Prowly

Prowly is a public relations management tool for growth focused professionals who want to enhance their organic visibility and storytelling.

In addition to an array of features, it has a powerful media monitoring feature designed to collect mentions in real-time, gather important data and transform it into visual dashboards that make it easy to analyze, spot trends, and draft concrete strategies.

With Prowly, you can make informed decisions, adjust your strategy in real time and identify opportunities, ensuring your brand maintains a proactive edge and stays ahead of the competition. Through the news monitoring tool, you can engage in relevant discussions and shape conversations to perfectly align with your goals.

Create a search query

Setting it up should be a straightforward process and, with Prowly's easy to use interface, building the right query isn't an issue.

You can monitor things like your own brand, competitor brands, people, backlinks, and, of course, relevant keywords.

The possibilities are limitless. Let's say you want to create a query to look for a very specific, niche topic. You can search for journalists using relevant keywords and filter them by country, language, and so much more. It all depends on what you're searching for and what your strategy is.

Here are a few examples of how you might want to structure your query:

  • If you're monitoring a brand, you can see how popular it is and what the sentiment around it is, along with where the brand was mentioned.
  • For competitors, you can benchmark your coverage and compare it to theirs with metrics such as share of voice.
  • If you're looking for a particular person, you can search for people from top management, subject experts, and even new hires.
  • Since digital PR is an important part of our work, you can track backlinks and see how many outlets have mentioned your URL in their articles.
  • And finally, for keywords, the world is your oyster. You can track keywords and phrases, try a Boolean search, and so much more.

Select relevant media sources

Selecting appropriate media sources is essential for effective news monitoring. By carefully tailoring your tracking queries, you ensure that the results are highly relevant and aligned with your specific needs.

Precision in this process helps filter out irrelevant content and focuses attention on data that truly matters, such as specific industry publications or mentions from particular geographic areas.

Great news media monitoring tools will have capabilities to monitor news from sources such as outlets, blogs, discussion forums, and the entire social media landscape.

Additionally, you can broaden the scope of your analysis by setting up separate queries for different types of media sources. For example, you might have one query for mentions in online publications and another for social media interactions, and then compare the results.

This strategy allows you to form a more nuanced understanding, revealing trends and patterns that might be missed when data is collected without real aim. Such an approach not only sharpens the focus of your monitoring efforts but also enhances the quality of the insights you gather.

Pick the metrics you want to track

If you're looking for news monitoring software, knowing that they can provide you with the most industry-relevant metrics is super important. Such tailored metrics ensure that you're not just collecting empty data, but gathering information that's actually useful to both the people who work in public relations and those who might have a little trouble understanding their importance.

How can you prove your work to clients or stakeholders, if these numbers or the way they're shown don't mean much to them? Yes, you can teach them and show them what's valuable and what isn't, but most of the time it's in human nature to think, "These graphs are either going up, which is good, or going down, which is bad."

What you need is not only great metrics, such as domain reach, mention reach, share of voice, domain authority scores, and many more, but also the flexibility to include custom widgets that will contain information relevant to your campaign - such as the number of attendees at a conference, the number of PR packages sent, and so on.

Set up email notification alerts

Even if you have an amazing tracking system, news can happen at any time of the day. Things such as notification alerts are invaluable tools that streamline the process of staying updated on brand mentions across various media.

The thing is, a lot of notification systems can be intrusive and downright annoying. With Prowly you can set up the frequency in a way that best suits your work style. 

You can receive a daily digest with a summary of new mentions, including the total number, their sentiment, and any mentions with backlinks. Or you can set up a weekly or even monthly digest with the same information, along with top mentions so you can easily see the most powerful coverage you've received without the need to skim through everything at a glance.

Well, what if I want to receive alerts and know when something bad is happening so I can react quickly? No worries, that's possible as well. There are several different types of alerts you can set up with Prowly so you can get the most out of the news monitoring tool:

  • New mentions - you'll receive immediate alerts for every new mention found. What's great is that you can customize it with filters to only get notifications that are critically relevant to you.
  • Negative sentiment - ever find yourself in the midst of a campaign going left quite quickly? This type of alert is meant to inform you about negative mentions ASAP so that you can quickly respond and avoid a potential crisis.
  • Unusual spike alert - if it's not negative, then you've probably gone viral. And what's the worst that can happen, other than your client knowing about it before you do? There's an alert for that too!
  • Top tier publication - you'll get a real-time alert about receiving a mention from a publication like The New York Times, The Economist, and more. While Prowly assigns tiers to outlets automatically, you can always override them and choose which ones are the most important for you.

Analyze monitoring results

Having all the data is great, but what's going on with the analysis? It's easy to gather all the information you can get ahold of, but turning it into actionable insights can be more difficult without knowing how to visualize it in the first place.

Prowly's easy-to-read dashboards can help you spot trends, see increases and decreases in mentions, track reach, backlinks and anything else industry-related you'd like to keep track of.

You can use predefined dashboards or set up your own with your choice of charts.

News monitoring tool #2: Brandwatch

Main features: Keyword monitoring, sentiment analysis, context analysis

Pricing: Not publicly disclosed, you have to contact their sales team

This company is a major player in the news tracking scene, primarily used to analyze online presence through extensive social media monitoring. It uses AI to provide deep insights from the data it collects. It also includes features such as other types of media monitoring, research into consumers, crisis management tools and more. Their capabilities are intended for larger companies.

Pros: Advanced media intelligence capabilities

Cons: Might not be suitable for smaller companies

News monitoring tool #3: Brand24

Main features: Social media monitoring, sentiment analysis

Pricing: Starts at $79/mo

Brand24 is a social listening platform that collects and analyzes mentions from websites, blogs, online media, press releases, news sites, discussion boards, social media platforms, podcasts, newsletters and video platforms. They also have Slack integration and other features to help you manage your brand's presence.

Pros: Easy to use, great for collaboration

Cons: No print monitoring, sometimes data analysis takes time

News monitoring tool #4: Meltwater

Main features: Media intelligence, social listening, influencer management

Pricing: Not publicly disclosed, you have to contact their sales team

This platform is predominantly used by PR specialists to manage their day to day activities. Aside from other features, they also have media monitoring, where you can track a wide net of different sources, such as news, online articles, broadcast, and more. They also give enterprise clients custom solutions and are focused on larger companies.

Pros: Broad spectrum of sources to monitor

Cons: Steep learning curve, can be quite expensive

News monitoring tool #5: Hootsuite

Main features: Social listening, social media analytics, publishing and scheduling posts

Pricing: Starts at $99/mo

In terms of a news monitoring tool, Hootsuite only offers social media listening and does not collect mentions from outlets or online publications. Still, it's a great tool for any PR specialist who predominantly works in social media and is interested in a platform that curates content, schedules and publishes posts, and manages teams.

→Pros: Great for managing dozens of accounts and posting directly to social media

Cons: Constant changes, sometimes software isn't responsive

News monitoring tool #6: Sprout Social

Main features: Robust social media listening

Pricing: Starts at $199/mo

This platform offers a comprehensive solution designed to track and manage interactions across social media networks, including Instagram, Facebook, X, and TikTok. They consolidate it into a streamlined interface, which makes it quicker to find a mention you want. There's an "inbox" where mentions are aggregated in real-time, which makes it great for social media managers and those who work between social listening and PR. Unfortunately, this solution doesn't provide news media monitoring when it comes to outlets.

→Pros: Easy to use, great at scheduling posts and reporting statistics

Cons: High pricing, limitations on mentions

News monitoring tool #7: Critical Mention

Main features: Broadcast monitoring, online news tracking, social media monitoring

Pricing: Not publicly disclosed, you have to contact their sales team

Critical Mention is a cloud-based platform that offers comprehensive media monitoring, where you can analyze mentions and create reports with custom templates, graphs and charts. That way, users can visualize their progress and make it easy to show off their work to stakeholders and clients.

Pros: User-friendly, good for showing work efforts

Cons: No other filters than language and sentiment during query creation

News monitoring tool #8: Talkwalker

Main features: Social analytics, social media monitoring and listening 

Pricing: Not publicly disclosed, you have to contact their sales team

This platform positions itself as a social listening tool known for its extensive social media analytics capabilities. It serves a wide range of organizations, from small businesses to large enterprises. They can monitor content in almost real-time across online media, social media, print, TV, and radio. They also support 187 languages.

Pros: Good for social media listening, nice visual dashboards

Cons: Can be expensive, steep learning curve

News monitoring tool #9: Awario

Main features: Monitoring mentions from social media platforms

Pricing: Starts at $49/mo

Awario offers an entire array of tools and is great for staying informed about social discussions surrounding your business, as well as gaining essential insights into your industry. They claim their tool has the ability to track conversations in any language, from any location.

Pros: Easy to set up

Cons: Lacks key features, search can bring up unwanted results

News monitoring tool #10: Google Alerts

Main features: Free keyword monitoring

Pricing: Free

As one of the few free news monitoring tools, Google Alerts is an all-around news monitoring tool for people who might not have the budget to purchase a paid tool. It's super simple to use and can give a basic overview of the media landscape. However, reviews say it's a headache to use mainly due to inaccurate results, loads of spam, and a lack of customer care.

Pros: Easy to set up

Cons: Lacks key features, search can bring up unwanted results

💡 Read more about the best Google Alerts’ alternatives

How to do news monitoring?

To sum it up, you're as good as the progress you can show. This goes for any industry, to be quite honest, and numbers are worth their weight in gold. With a powerful news monitoring tool, you'll be able to manage how your brand is seen, track mentions automatically, and stay on top of the landscape by searching for opportunities and trends.

Thankfully, inaccurate data due to tracking mentions manually isn't a factor anymore. Yes, there are news monitoring services that are better than others, however, there are plenty of guides like this one so you can choose the best one for you.

Prowly's capabilities range from tracking mentions across different outlets and social media to measuring their success and showing a real PR ROI so that you can showcase your work more easily.