23rd July 2019
Signal Editors

What is media monitoring and why is it important?

Media monitoring is the act of tracking topics across print, online, and broadcast media output.

In PR and Comms it is important to measure the success of your campaigns, deal with a crisis quickly, and listen out for negative publicity. All of this can be achieved by effective media monitoring.

Prior to media monitoring tools, PR juniors would have to manually track topics across medias. This was a lengthy process. It involved purchasing newspapers, listening to the radio, and watching TV broadcasts, looking for coverage of a specific campaign, client or company. After that media mentions were physically cut out of the newspapers and stuck into a clippings-book. Alternatively, mentions were manually transcribed from a broadcast.

The process of manual media monitoring and measuring the impact of their PR efforts was slow and often inaccurate. Luckily for the PR industry, there have been leaps and bounds made in the way people consume information and how that information is published – from digital news platforms to social media.

This has lead to easier methods of media tracking. Leading to an increased level of automation and efficiency in the clippings, or media monitoring, process.

Most companies will have a digital media monitoring process in place. These range from complicated Boolean searches and Google alerts, Hootsuite dashboard alerts and manual digital trawling, to media intelligence tools and platforms.

What can media monitoring help you with?

For public relations and communications professionals, media monitoring tools are a worthwhile expense. They save valuable time and energy that can be directed towards more important and creative tasks.

Media monitoring is vital when running a tight ship because it optimises your daily workflow and allows you to avoid lengthy manual processes.

So, what should you be looking for in a media monitoring tool?

Save time with automation

Whether you’re an in-house PR or are part of an agency, time is important. And ultimately, time is money. So why are time-consuming and complicated Boolean strings or slow next-day result media monitoring services still the status quo?

With constant advancements in technology, it is now possible to automate media monitoring. And there are media monitoring tools available that can deliver the information you want as quickly as possible. This can be done with a built-in alert system, allowing you to augment your media monitoring efforts.

Provide actionable insights

You not only want to monitor the media coverage you are receiving, you should also be looking for insights into the coverage. Insight is key, as it provides an opportunity to improve your PR and prove value in a measurable way for reports.

Some media monitoring tools provide graphs that show the number of articles over a specific time period, sentiment analysis of individual articles or general coverage, and maps displaying the geographical origins of coverage.

Having a media monitoring tool that provides data insights will save time and unnecessary data entry.

Real-time media intelligence

In today’s digital 24-hour news cycle, the window of time in which media coverage is relevant is closing. Something that happened last night, delivered at 9am this morning, is old news. If you are in the midst of a crisis, media coverage isn’t useful the next day and the situation has likely already spread out of your control.

There are media monitoring tools that offer real-time alerts. These allow you to be at the front of the pack and get the information you need for in-moment marketing opportunities or to dash a crisis before it starts.

Cross-platform monitoring

The public consumes media differently than they did even a decade ago. Sixty-eight per cent of US adults say that they get their news from social media rather than via traditional means, such as print or radio. Keeping an eye on the daily headlines just doesn’t cut it anymore.

This means you need to be able to monitor as many different sources of media as possible, across media platforms. These include social media, blogs, online news, and broadcast.

When looking for a media monitoring tool, you need to find a tool that has the right media sources available. If there are specific publications you need to monitor that aren’t available, you can often request for sources to be added. But if not, then you can look elsewhere for a tool that fits your requirements.

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Why is it important to monitor your business?

If you want to ensure long-term brand success and wish to become a household name or big player in your industry, you need to keep track of what’s happening around you. No man is an island and the same can be said about a brand. Savvy media monitoring can help you get ahead of a crisis or keep an eye on your competition.

Here are some of the many ways that intelligent media monitoring can help your company flourish.

Manage your brand reputation

A brand’s most vital resource is its reputation and good media monitoring helps you protect it.

Media monitoring enables you to stay on top of threats to your brand’s reputation. It can help you to develop your reputation further by keeping you on top of what’s being said about your brand and who’s saying it.

Data and sentiment insights into the media coverage you are receiving will also provide a simple overview of how your brand is perceived.

Monitor your competitors

Markets are more competitive than ever. The 2019 state of competitive intelligence survey shows that 87% of businesses think that their market has become more competitive in the last three years. Another 49% said it has become much more competitive.

Effective media monitoring can help you track your competitor’s press releases, product launches, corporate events, and media coverage. Allowing you to make more informed decisions as to how and where you compete.

Be in the know with crisis management

It takes years to build a good reputation for a brand, but it only takes moments to destroy it. So, it is imperative to react quickly and be proactive in your recovery when faced with a crisis.

Real-time media monitoring allows you to keep ahead of the press and manage public relations without any nasty surprises. As a result, you might be able to prevent a potential crisis or craft the perfect response to get out of it unscathed.

Draw insights and measure campaign effectiveness

Proving the value of your work isn’t easy. In the public relations and communications industry it can be difficult to measure how effective your campaign was.

With media monitoring, you can monitor your campaign and provide measurable data to prove value. This will foster a greater understanding of the positive impact and success of campaigns.

Track success and sentiment

Sentiment is an important metric when optimising your PR, as it allows you to see the direct and measurable results of your campaign on brand perception. Moreover, it enables you to feel the pulse of the public.

It is vital to have access to, or receive, up-to-the-minute information if you are tracking success. Real-time alerts are a fantastic resource to give you moment by moment feedback on your efforts.

Timely knowledge facilitates a continuous learning process, enabling you to develop and optimise your PR and comms output.

Find new business opportunities

It doesn’t matter if you’re an established brand or a newcomer looking to make your mark. Media monitoring is an invaluable tool if you are scoping out new business opportunities. Tracking other industries will allow you to spot a gap in the market and be aware of potential competitors.

You can conduct research into industry influencers and thought-leaders, as they can be utilised to push your product.

If you find new publications and companies to partner with, you can strike while the iron is hot. Smart media monitoring can help you find new avenues for your brand.

Understanding trends and your customers

By being able to follow trends in the media in real-time you can better inform your campaigns, content, and social media. This will ensure that you’re always at the forefront of the biggest trend or the most recent breaking news.

Social media monitoring can help you understand what really engages your customers, informing you in how to up your click-through rate (CTR) on your social pages. Keeping an eye on viral trends will also facilitate smart in-moment marketing opportunities and quick responses to what’s happening in the world around you.

Advancements in media monitoring tools 

AI is revolutionising media monitoring, and the PR and Comms industry at large. As the tech is constantly improving, it will replace lengthy Boolean strings and sub-optimal long tail results. It’s safe to say there’s more innovation yet to come.

Machine learning powered tools provide a faster, more user-friendly service. They function as an advanced alternative to Google alerts and complicated Boolean driven services.

There are AI media monitoring tools on the market that have unlimited search capability, lightning-fast load times, real-time alerts, and comprehensive media coverage. With the multitude of benefits for your brand, media monitoring is not only helpful, it’s necessary.