Why Media Monitoring Tools Should Be Part of Your PR Strategy

Do you know what is being said about your brand? If you’re not regularly conducting media monitoring, you’re missing an opportunity to manage the way your brand is perceived. Media monitoring (the process of reading, watching, and listening to news, then identifying and analyzing content that contains specific keywords or topics relevant to you) is a key component of any comprehensive PR strategy. In order to both understand and shape your brand perception, you need to be a part of those conversations where they’re happening. That’s where media monitoring comes into play.

Organizations use media monitoring tools to identify mentions of their work, brands, and executives in the news. They’re able to find out if news outlets and customers sing the praises of their services or complain about them. Simply put, media monitoring is listening to what your customers and potential customers have to say. With the breadth of information gained, you can use their words to better hone your PR strategy.

Media monitoring allows you to:

  • Stay up-to-date on the latest news. By spanning national, local, and trade media, your tracking efforts will capture media trends and monitor online conversations. With media monitoring, you are able to identify top news outlets and reporters, and determine how to best engage with them.
  • Improve customer support. A contact form on your website will no longer suffice when addressing customer issues. If someone rants about your brand on Twitter, their followers also see the complaint, and how you respond. These online interactions impact how those followers — and your own — view your brand.
  • Collect feedback. Using media and social media monitoring, you can learn the good, bad, and ugly of your brand and its perceptions. The feedback is invaluable — it can be leveraged to improve your offerings and serve as testimonials for use in your marketing efforts.
  • Engage industry influencers. Do you know who’s talking about products or services similar to yours? With media monitoring tools, you can determine digital influencers. Monitoring the conversations they’re having about your industry will help you to tailor marketing messages to them, whether it’s sending an email introduction, offering samples, or serving targeted ads.

Selecting the Right Media Monitoring Tools

Sure, you can do a manual search, combing the internet for mentions of your brand or competitors, but it will be a colossal time-suck. Media monitoring tools help simplify the process of tracking conversations. There are hundreds of options available depending on where and how you want to listen. Here are three of the tools we use at Environics:

  1. Sprout Social — Grab a 30-day trial and decide if a plan starting at $59/month is right for you. Sprout Social allows you to monitor Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn for mentions of profiles, keywords and hashtags of your choice.
  2. Hootsuite — Test the waters with a free version which allows you to monitor three social network streams. Upgrade to a premium plan for the opportunity to listen to conversations happening beyond social media (on blogs, forums and news sites).
  3. Agility — Ready to commit? Agility can be pricey, but aside from identifying influential outlets and contacts, it allows you to target and monitor the media, distribute news, and measure results.

The concept seems simple, but in an industry where media coverage is a major performance indicator of brand health, and bad press can depress sales and reputation tremendously, tracking and analyzing the news can be daunting. Knowing how to utilize media monitoring tools effectively is an incredibly beneficial value-add. Whether it’s signing up for industry-specific newsletters, setting up Google alerts, or leveraging a paid media monitoring tool, there are many ways your business can track the news. Regardless of the method, the main objective is the same — ensure that the media relations coverage is relevant, timely, and accurate.

Media monitoring can be an enormous amount of work, especially in the setting-up stage. But honor your investment. Remember, being able to make informed decisions allows you to shape your communications strategies for continued organizational growth.

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