5 ways your competitors are using media monitoring

by | Apr 27, 2018 | Crisis Communications, Media Monitoring, Media Relations

We’ve been in the media monitoring game for a long time, and over the years we’ve seen many creative and effective ways organizations and PR agencies leverage media monitoring. Here are some of the most tried and true ways that organizations, including  your competitors, are using media monitoring  to win the coverage war.  

If you want to learn more about media monitoring in general, take a look at our exhaustive page on the subject, Media Monitoring: The Ultimate Guide.

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1. PR crisis management

During a crisis, responding quickly is critical to protecting your brand reputation. And with crisis containment becoming even harder, as millions of users on social media can very quickly take an incident viral (just look at United Airlines), it’s necessary these days to be on top of the conversation from the get-go.

Consistently monitoring both social and traditional media coverage before a crisis hits, as well as during and after, is the least you can and should do. Here are three ways your competitors are using media monitoring to aid in crisis management:

  • Crisis planning: Using media monitoring and analysis to study past crises, whether your own or those of competitors or other similar organizations, can provide valuable insight into the tactics that worked – and those that didn’t – in minimizing any lasting damage. Though each crisis is unique, and details can’t be predicted in advance, proactively developing a crisis management plan will help keep heads cool and response times quick.
  • Crisis detection: Detecting a developing crisis early can enable PR professionals to get in front of it before it boils over, or at the very least, lessen the blow. By setting up media monitoring alerts, organizations can also be tipped off about the main influencers discussing the topic and gather intel to craft their response to the situation.
  • Crisis aftermath: Continuing to monitor media coverage during and after a crisis will enable the organization to see when the attention has died down, and if audiences are beginning to speak more positively about the brand. It also provides great information for the post-mortem on the crisis – was the general consensus that the organization responded well to the crisis? Was there anything they should do differently next time?

 Read more on crisis management in 8 crucial lessons in crisis communication.

2. Competitor monitoring

Yes, one of the ways your competitors are using media monitoring is to monitor you. Keeping tabs on your competitors is just as important as keeping track of your own coverage. It’s a mirror: the insights gleaned from competitive media monitoring can provide you with strategies for your own PR tactics. Some of the benefits of monitoring competitors include:

  • Understanding PR tactics: Learn what’s working for them and what’s not when it comes to PR campaigns. You’ll also pick up on if there are certain journalists that cover your competitors frequently.
  • Anticipating changes: By following competitor news coverage you’ll keep tabs on new acquisitions, product developments, and more to help you better predict the major changes ahead in the competitive landscape. As they say, knowledge is power.
  • Mitigating operational risk: Learn what’s gotten your competitors into hot water and avoid the same mistakes across all areas of your business.
  • Gaining knowledge on HR practices: Media monitoring can also help you dive into how your competitors acquire and manage their talent.

Learn more about competitive media monitoring in More than just PR: a holistic approach to media monitoring.

3. Industry monitoring

Tracking your industry or market news can be an imposing task – it can seem that there are just too many key players and factors to consider. But it’s worth it, and Agility PR Solutions makes it wonderfully easy. The truth is that keeping tabs on everyone, from competitors, to partners, vendors, regulatory bodies, political influencers, to your own customers, can reveal so much about the current industry landscape and where it’s headed.

Although media monitoring is of utmost importance to PR and marketing professionals, when it comes to industry monitoring, every department can gain insights from the information. Below are a few of our favorite reasons to monitor your industry (yes, we said “favorite”; we love this stuff):

  • Find journalists: Use media monitoring to identify the journalists with the most clout in the industry, those who seem to love or hate you, and the up-and-coming ones who are always accepting good pitches.
  • Identify opportunities and threats: Staying on top of your external environment will help you keep up to date with the latest emerging trends that could positively or negatively affect you, or your client’s, organization.
  • Learn the latest lingo: Be sure you’re informed of the latest conversations and terms getting buzz in your industry. You do not want to be out of touch.

Read more on gaining industry insights in Using media monitoring and analysis to disrupt your industry.

4. Media relations

Landing media coverage today takes more planning and personalization than ever before.

PR professionals need to be tuned into what’s going on around them to create stories that grab attention. By listening acutely to your media landscape, you can fine tune the stages of your media relations process to achieve your media relations (and business) goals.

Media monitoring can give brands the edge they need to get noticed by journalists and outlets in the following ways:

  • Pre-campaign research: You wouldn’t jump into a conversation at a cocktail party without first knowing what it’s about. Same goes for your PR and comms efforts. Media monitoring tools help you pinpoint the key journalists and influencers covering a topic, and let you in on what’s being said in the conversation across all media types, including the lingo and main talking points. Do this before you dive in.
  • Effective outreach: Social media is where journalists often show a little personality. You can use tidbits you pick up from their social profiles to strike up a conversation when reaching out — as long as you keep it professional. An effective media contact database will monitor your outreach to journalists as well, so you know who opened and clicked on specific links in emails. This can be used to tailor your follow-up so you can focus on those most interested in your story. No more reaching out to people who haven’t even read your pitch, let alone shown interest by clicking on links you included.
  • Campaign measurement: Unless you monitor media coverage, you’ll have a hard time knowing when your story has been picked up. Media coverage reports will fill you in on the details of your earned coverage, including outlets, journalists, media type, and circulation. And by benchmarking your results, you can begin to see what’s working and what’s not, so you can fine-tune your future pitches.

Read more on how monitoring can result in better media coverage in Media monitoring can help.

5. Image monitoring

Visual communication is taking over the online world.

WebDAM predicts that at some point this year, it will account for a whopping 84 percent of all digital communication.

And that makes sense too! People process images 60,000 times faster than we do text – in this fast-paced world where nobody has any time for anything, making your message easy to absorb is pretty much the whole battle.

For PR people, the problem with online visual media has been that monitoring it hasn’t been possible. But that’s no longer true.

Our AI-powered image search allows you to track images associated with your organization to see how compelling, shareable, and on-brand your earned media really is.

And now you can unearth otherwise hidden coverage. When your logo or other brand images appear in online news, you’ll be able to see them, even when there’s no mention in the text. With image monitoring, the ability to track and maintain your visual brand integrity has never been greater.

Images grab attention, convey emotion, and encourage sharing, and they’re taking over how we communicate online. Your competitors are already monitoring their images — what are you going to do about it?


This post was originally published on April 13, 2017, under the title “3 ways your competitors are using media monitoring”. Then we added a fourth way and published that version on October 24, 2017. Well, it turns out they’re now using media monitoring a fifth way!

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Marcus Kaulback
Marcus is a content creator and marketer with a focus on branding and communications.

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