You have to listen to learn.
If you want to evolve as a communicator, you need to actively listen to what’s going on around you. Only by listening will you know how you should change your behavior to take advantage.
And monitoring, at its core, is just a fancy word for listening.
When it comes to media relations – which, we admit, is at the center of a healthy PR debate right now – there are three ways monitoring can help you.
Monitoring can help before a campaign
Look before you leap.
Wanna make a splash with your next campaign? Wouldn’t it make sense to figure out who’s covering you, who’s writing about your industry, who’s talking about your competitors, and know exactly what they’re saying?
You wouldn’t jump into a conversation at a party without first knowing what it’s about. Same goes for your PR and comms efforts. You need to know who’s saying what about whom before you throw in your two cents.
When you monitor, you learn which journalists and influencers you should target. If you find one who writes extensively on your competitors, you can reach out and show them what you do differently. If you find one who is not fully on your side, you can reach out to them and change their mind; in turn, they’ll change the minds of their readers.
Monitoring can help, because only when you know the conversation can you contribute to it effectively.
Monitoring can help with outreach
So you’ve listened to the conversation, and you’ve learned which journalists and influencers are worth targeting. Now you need a database to find and connect with them.
Monitoring can help with your outreach too.
When choosing a database, you’ll want one that has a few built-in bonbons. For example: the best databases allow you to monitor the social activity of the influencers you’re targeting from right within the platform, showing you their most recent posts so you can further gauge a) whether or not they’re the right ones to connect with, and b) if they’re, at that moment, still writing about your topic or industry.
Furthermore, social is where journalists often show a little personality. If they tweet a picture of their cockatoo, maybe ask them about it when you reach out. Journalists are people, and people like to discuss their passions. Just remember that they’re often on deadline, so maybe just ask about the bird, and move on. If nothing else, doing so will help you stand out, which is the first and biggest hurdle when it comes to media relations.
Monitoring can help with follow-up too. Get a database that not only tracks open rates, but shows you who opened your emails, when, and on what links they clicked. This is gold. Imagine how much easier your follow-up will be when you know which parts of your pitch intrigued them the most.
Monitoring can help during a campaign
This one’s a bit obvious, right? You don’t need me to tell you that unless you monitor the media – be it traditional or social – you’ll have a whale of a time figuring out if your outreach is working.
Good monitoring tools provide coverage reports that fill you in on details like outlet, journalist, media type, and circulation, so you’ll know just how far your message is reaching. And by benchmarking your results, you can easily see how your strategy is paying off. But true media monitoring doesn’t need to stop at those metrics. In fact, it shouldn’t.
Where media monitoring can help most is when you dive into your data to understand the reasons behind it. This doesn’t need to be scary. Good media monitoring firms can help set up systems like media quality scores that are designed to show you not just the quantity of your coverage, but the quality.
It’s no longer enough for PR pros to crow about vanity metrics like AVEs; it’s time to prove your impact on the bottom line.
Media monitoring can help.