Components of an integrated PR program: Media monitoring

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media monitoring

By Linda Forrest

In today’s instalment of my series about the various components of an integrated PR program, I will shed some light on the reasons for media monitoring as well as different approaches and tools.

What is media monitoring? Just that – scanning media coverage for specific keywords and issues and presenting them to clients in the format that will best meet their needs. A more in-depth monitoring of the media is called content analysis, a topic that Francis will explore in detail in a future post.

How is media monitoring done? What tools are needed? At inmedia, we subscribe to a broad range of tools and have others at the ready, should specific requirements dictate a need for audio or video copies of coverage. In the main, we monitor print coverage ourselves through tools such as eWatch, Factiva, and Infomart. Should we require broadcast clippings, we use a company called Cision to provide us with copies of the footage. The print monitoring tools to which we subscribe cost a considerable amount. By having your agency do your media monitoring for you, the cost can be amortized over the entire client base that is utilizing the service, allowing clients the benefits of the tools without covering the entire cost. Consumer-grade, user-friendly search engines like Google News do allow for the search of a subset of the media, but do not cover the broad range of domestic and international or subscription-based publications like the tools that I mentioned earlier.

Why do media monitoring? The media are covering key issues that impact your business. If your company hopes to stay abreast of critical issues, competitor activities and its own image in the marketplace, media monitoring can help provide insight into these issues. By keeping up-to-date on current coverage in your space, opportunities can present themselves for your company to get involved in the dialog in the media. We can easily see if the company executives’ expert opinions differ from those of the author, or if there’s a valuable perspective to share, or perhaps an angle not covered in the original story. These timely opportunities are impossible to predict and present good chances for your company to get covered in target media and position your team as experts.

What keywords should we be using in our monitoring efforts? Obviously, the effectiveness of media monitoring can extend well beyond a simple search for your company’s name. At the outset of an ongoing program, if it is determined that media monitoring will be a component of your program, you and your team should work together to develop objectives for your media monitoring in terms of what you’re hoping to achieve. Do you want to be kept up to date on issues in your marketplace? What about regulations that impact your company or its customers? Perhaps you want to ensure that you are aware of competitor news as it happens. Once the goals have been determined, a list of relevant keywords can be programmed into these tools and then reports issued to your agency as coverage occurs, or at set intervals (for example, the start of every work day.)

How are media hits reported to the client? This really depends on the needs of the client and the resources available. Typically, we find that a biweekly report that covers the topics and issues specific to that client meets our clients’ needs, with important breaking news forwarded on an as-it-happens basis. This is variable, based on the client’s needs. With more intensive programs with extensive resources and where there’s a need for instant access to information, we have generated daily reports. At the other end of the spectrum, some of our clients do not have a specific requirement for media monitoring and therefore we only report coverage of our clients, as needed. Make sure to discuss with your agency what works best for you and will meet your requirements.

Late last year, Jill gave some tips on media monitoring in one of her posts. For more specific information than I’ve given here today, reference her tips for maximizing the value of your media monitoring efforts.

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