What is a media monitoring report and how to create one?

8.28.19 / 7 min read

Even when following best practices, media monitoring can leave you sifting through a lot of raw data. Producing a media monitoring report can help you sort the wheat from the chaff. By targeting the influx of raw data and narrowing down what you monitor, data can be easily transformed into bespoke reports.

Report use-cases vary (more on that below). But it is undeniable that being able to introduce metrics to your reporting can help bring greater clarity to the business. That’s why many PR professionals are, or want to become, report-creating gurus.

Being able to take a mess of data and turn it into a professional, insightful, and useful report for clients and C-suite alike is a powerful tool. Read on to find out exactly what constitutes a media monitoring report. And more importantly, how to create one that will supercharge your PR.

Set goals for your media report

Alongside common-place end of month, end of quarter and end of year industry reports, there’s a wide variety of other media monitoring reports that can be delivered. Campaign, competitor, industry, and even crisis reports are useful reports to build. Tracking metrics associated with these forms of reporting is a great tool for the savvy PR, advertising or marketing professional.

Like in any industry, general and ongoing reports help you manage your goals and achieve your KPIs. This in turn will provide you with a broader understanding of areas of improvement. In addition to, helping you drill down into the pros and cons of your strategy. If you’re not generating general reports, you need to start! Implementing a monthly, quarterly, and yearly reporting process is paramount to success. As they are vital to understanding your position and authority in the industry you operate in.

Campaign reports

Campaign reports are designed to exhibit the effectiveness of a campaign. They break down what worked and what didn’t, media coverage and sentiment, and improvements for future campaigns. When planning or building a business case for your next campaign, having reports to draw insights from make the process seamless.

Competitor and industry reports

Competitor and industry reports help you understand your competition’s activities and the trajectory of the industry. This competitive intelligence allows you to plan ahead. Assuring that you won’t be left behind by giving you a helping hand in establishing your reputation. And ultimately cementing you as a brand that knows where the industry is going and isn’t afraid to lead the way.

Crisis reports

Hopefully you won’t have needed an intimate understanding of this type of report. But despite a lack of exposure to crisis in its various forms, you need to be capable of building one if a crisis situation arises.

Crisis reports show why a PR crisis occurred, provide analysis of how it was handled, and help you identify your mistakes. They answer the difficult questions. What could we have done better? How could the crisis have been averted? Answering these questions will reveal vulnerabilities that could lead to future PR crises.

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Consider your audience

Excited to start reporting? Great! But first, you need to consider who is going to receive your report. The recipient of the report will change the format and metrics. What do they need to know? Do they need to know the intricacies of your PR efforts? Or, are they looking for a snapshot the competitive landscape? An exec briefing?

Reports delivered to the C-suite or a client are an entirely different matter. But different audiences have different requirements, needs, and interests. Some might only be interested in hard data, whereas others might appreciate vanity metrics like attribution, industry influencer interaction, and notable followers on social.

Consider formatting and the ideal way of presenting information in your report. Are you using graphs and charts or is it primarily text? What is the most valuable aspect of the report for your audience? And how can you prove the value of the PR work that you have been doing? These questions can be answered by understanding what your audience, and the business by extension, wants and needs.

Define the metrics you want to monitor and measure

To make the most out of any reporting system you have in place, you need to start from the very beginning. A very good place to start. (Sound of Music anyone?) In this case, unlike the von Trapps learning how to sing, PR professionals need to define what metrics they want to monitor and measure. These can then be built out into different reports for the various audiences that have a stake in the functionality of the PR team.

Media coverage and mentions

The first, and most important, metrics to monitor and measure over time are media coverage and mentions. They are the most fundamental metrics to monitor for PR professionals, as the overarching narrative of the volume over time is useful for senior colleagues and the C-suite. In addition, detailed reports of individual pieces of coverage, their sentiment, and the businesses prominence within them, is the bread and butter of a PR professional building intricate reports to track their success.

Image of media coverage over time

Google’s number of articles and their reach over the last 30 days.

Geographical and regional influence

Another important metric to monitor and measure for reporting purposes is your geographical and regional influence. Whether you’re a national or international business, it’s useful to know where your key messages are penetrating. This data can be included in PR reports as written comments added to develop a narrative, or attached as PNGs showing data visualisations of the information.

The Signal AI platform conducts analysis of your media coverage. This is then provided in downloadable graphs, pie charts, and heat maps, displaying useful metrics such as number of articles by media type and media coverage by source location.

Heat map showing media coverage by source location

Google’s articles by source location over the last 30 days.

Share of Voice (SOV)

Other metrics that are easy to add to a PR report if access to a media monitoring tool, include the calculation of your market Share of Voice (SOV). Manually calculate SOV with a simple equation (your mentions/competitors mentions x 100 = SOV). It shows how much space you are taking up in the industry or sector when compared to your competitors.

Best calculated by setting up separate searches for each of your competitors in a media monitoring platform. This data can then be downloaded in csv format and formed into comparison graphs to show competitor SOV. This is an extremely helpful metric to include in a report, either as a numerical or visual aid in benchmarking success.

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Find a media intelligence tool

To measure these metrics and become the best PR reporting-guru in the industry you need to find a media intelligence tool. And you need to find one that works for you, with the largest, global media database. This is absolutely necessary to be able to accurately measure and report on metrics such as Share of Voice (SOV).

In addition to a superior content database, any media intelligence tool you employ to build reports needs to be easy-to-use and set up. You need access to a tool that allows the exporting and downloading data in csv, reports into PDF, and data visualisation graphics as PNGs. In other words, flexibility is key.

Having the most accurate data and the flexibility to download information to calculate bespoke metrics will skyrocket your reporting success.

Design your media monitoring report

Another important step to consider in the process of building a PR report is the design as presentation is important.

So when you’re building a report of media coverage and mentions, flexibility is again key. You need a PR tool that allows you to brand reports, include or exclude article details, add comments to build a narrative, and attach images, document and graphics. Customisation is critical.

Beyond this, there should be a content strategy in place for reports. Tailor the content of each report for its intended audience. But that they should be specifically and precisely designed accordingly.

Heads of PR and comms require detailed information, displayed efficiently in order to further the PR strategy. Whereas the C-suite will need a visually engaging report that builds an overview of the businesses’ PR and competitive landscape.

Therefore, it is necessary to have a tool to instantly send reports to multiple emails and attach data visualisations of insights. Any PR tool you invest in should have these functionalities as a minimum.

Why are reports important?

If you haven’t figured it out yet, media monitoring reports are important. But why you ask?

They are a valuable part of a businesses’ PR and media intelligence strategy. It allows you to benchmark your successes and your failures, analyse your PR strengths and weaknesses. Ongoing tracking and reports are essential for the team to improve your PR strategy.

But they also enable you to communicate your efforts, successes and value to the C-suite and the wider business as a whole. So when all’s said and done, what’s stopping you from optimising your PR strategy with media monitoring reports? Platforms like Signal AI provide you with the tools to gather accurate information and present it efficiently and effectively to every level of your organisation.