Media Mentions Guide: How to Track Media Mentions Effectively

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A media mention is using a brand name or keyword you’re tracking. It can occur in various mediums, such as print newspapers, online news websites, magazines, and blog posts.

Just like the other key PR measurements we’ve covered, media mentions must be consistently and accurately monitored to ensure the quality and effectiveness of PR work.

Catch up on PR Episodes 2024, where we explored how to measure the impact of your efforts while avoiding the pitfalls of outdated and inefficient metrics.

 Let’s explore media mentions and how to tackle them in your daily PR workflow best.

If you’re looking for a tool to track your media mentions, try Prowly’s Media Monitoring with the 7-day free trial. Start tracking media mentions immediately and see if the tool fits your needs.

What is a media mention?

A media mention on the best days in PR feels like kicking a field goal. It’s a major score! On the most challenging days, negative press mentions can throw a wrench into your best-laid plans and pivot your PR campaign into a new direction. 

The definition of “media mentions” can also depend on a PR campaign’s goals. For a specific campaign or client, the definition may also include mentions on social media and in online discussion forums.

PR professionals track media mentions for the brands they represent and their competitors. They also track keywords related to the brand’s industry to determine the most discussed topics at the moment.

Tracking media mentions is a frequent and regular task for PR. It is often done daily to find breaking news online.

How to track media mentions

Tracking media mentions is one of a PR professional’s most important tasks. It’s one PR task that will never get skipped because it’s so closely linked to measuring the value of your work.

PR professionals use one of three methods to track mentions:

  • Manual searches
  • Google Alerts
  • Media monitoring tools

→ The Manual search

The first tracking method is manual searches. This is when a PR professional searches for brand names and keywords in multiple search engines to find mentions. Yes, we’re talking about entering a list of keywords one by one into Google and looking through pages of results.

📛 Since media mentions tracking is usually a daily task, you can quickly see how much time this can take away from a busy PR pro’s schedule! Even if this work is delegated to a junior team member, there is a substantial cost involved with the necessary labor hours.

→ Google Alerts

The second method is using Google Alerts, which is often tempting because it’s a free service that’s simple to set up. However, we’ve already written about how limited its results can be.

📛 Many mentions get missed, and the alerts aren’t always timely. Essentially, it’s not reliable enough to trust with this important task.

After trying both methods, most PR professionals decide to track brand mentions most easily, using media monitoring tools.

→ Media Monitoring Tools

Media monitoring tools and brand monitoring tools do all the heavy lifting for you, automatically tracking media mentions and sending you alerts based on your custom filters. They’re reliable, provide data in a user-friendly manner, and may even generate your monthly PR reports.

💡 To choose the best media monitoring tool, read our guide, “The Best Media Monitoring Tools for PR Professionals,” where we compare the top tools, their prices, and functionality.

If you don’t feel like comparing media mention tools, Prowly’s media monitoring is free for 7 days, so you can see if it’s a match for you.

Why are media mentions important?

So why is so much time and energy invested in tracking media mentions?

Investing time and energy in tracking media mentions because media mentions increase brand awareness, a critical function of PR for a brand’s sales funnel.

They do this by:

  • Showing that a brand is relevant.
  • Introducing potential customers to the brand’s product or service.
  • Connecting with brand loyalists so they remain raving fans.
  • Sharing a brand’s campaign message across different mediums.
  • Pointing out potential issues to the PR team (when a mention’s meaning is negative).

Most importantly, media mentions are how PR professionals show the value of their work. They are measurable outcomes to dedicated campaign efforts.

In monthly PR reports, media mentions are also highlighted and assessed for individual value. They are typically what a PR’s client or supervisor views as “results” at the end of a PR campaign.

This is exactly why a PR professional wants to catch all media mentions and identify the particular value of each one.

Example of a PR report in Prowly

How to never miss a media mention

With so much at stake, it’s no wonder PR professionals turn to automated PR software like Prowly to get solid media monitoring coverage and build impressive PR reports that “wow” their clients.

For example, in Prowly’s PR software with media monitoring, you simply set:

  • brand names
  • spokesperson names 
  • keywords
  • authors you want to track

The Media monitoring tool finds and tracks media mentions in online news websites, blogs, and discussion groups like Reddit.

You can even set up a search on backlinks to the website link you’re distributing as part of your campaign.

Not only can Prowly’s media monitoring tool find international mentions, but it can also find mentions before Google has even indexed them, so you can see them earlier than a manual Google search would provide. 

You can use filters to determine exactly what you want to see so your results reflect what’s most important to you. For example, limit your search to media mentions from a selected country, language, or desired source type.

Media Monitoring tool by Prowly

Then, set up email alerts based on what you want to see and when. Think about how much time you’ll save daily, arriving to work with the most recent media mentions waiting in your inbox.

But that’s only the start. The software then gives your mentions meaning and value, providing additional data on each mention, such as sentiment, domain authority, and estimated reach.

A helpful and easy-to-read dashboard presents a data summary, allowing you to spend more time strategizing rather than on research and charting.

Of course, you can track more PR metrics that matter in Media Monitoring – such as Share of Voice and AVE’s alternatives.

Media monitoring tool by Prowly

Finally, PR reports can be automatically generated at the month’s or campaign’s end! You can customize the reports to your liking, too. Add timeline charts that present online clippings over a time period, and choose a data presentation that correlates specific business outcomes with your PR work.

If you want to explore the use of press clippings for better monitoring and reporting, check out this Practical Guide to Mastering PR Clippings.

PR Reports by Prowly

PR automation software turns recurring tasks that feel like a chore into a valuable dashboard where campaign results can be analyzed and reported quickly. 

Getting to results-driven data faster also provides extra time to pivot a campaign that’s not working or double down on one that’s quickly gaining traction.

Getting started with Media Mention Monitoring

PR pros approach media mention monitoring in three ways: manual research, Google Alerts, or news monitoring tools

All can provide data to analyze and report, but only one approach provides real-time, thorough data with details like sentiment, reach, and media outlet importance. 

If you’re ready to try a media monitoring tool (with added PR reporting!), we’re here to help you get started as soon as possible.