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DIY: A media monitoring audit

by | Mar 17, 2016 | Marketing, PR Tools, Public Relations

When it comes to the tools your business uses to expand and grow, it’s important to routinely perform an audit to ensure they’re still meeting both your current, and future, needs.

Media monitoring and analysis software is no different.

Agility PR Solutions wants to make this process easier. Though media monitoring and analysis providers can vary in product offerings and additions, this auditing guide is designed to make sure you’re getting the most out of your program investment.

But first you need to ask yourself: Why?

You can’t establish whether or not your current provider meets the needs of your organization if you’re not even sure why you’re monitoring in the first place.

banner ad for media monitoring kit

Are you investing time, money and resources into media monitoring and analysis software for any (or all) of the following objectives?

  • Tracking media for company or brand mentions and earned media efforts;
  • Finding and analyzing trends in your business’s coverage;
  • Uncovering which publications and journalists are most influential in your industry;
  • Tracking mentions of, and sentiment towards, your executive team or suppliers;
  • Identifying issues affecting your business, and key influencers on these issues;
  • Monitoring how your target audience speaks of or reacts towards your brand;
  • Ensuring your spokespeople are properly quoted;
  • Demonstrating your department’s ROI to stakeholders and C-Suite;
  • Mitigating potential damage to your business’s reputation.

If you’re not using any of the above strategies, have you considered why? You should always establish more than one objective when implementing a media monitoring and analysis program, to ensure the best return on your investment. Remember: You can always use media monitoring to enhance other areas of your business, too.

Which sources are you currently monitoring?

Are you monitoring the right ones?

How do you know? You may be wasting valuable time, money and resources if you’re not getting the results you need from your media monitoring platform. You’ll know that you’re monitoring the right sources if you’re consistently receiving relevant results that provide enough media intel to devise actionable growth and communications strategies for your business.

How much time do you spend filtering out irrelevant results?

If you’re spending more than 30 minutes a day monitoring, you should consider outsourcing your media monitoring to a third-party provider. Not only will they save you valuable time and effort that you can put towards other aspects of your business, but you can officially eliminate filtering articles from your to-do list. For good.

Do you need to log in to several platforms to collect all the coverage you need?

Wouldn’t it be simpler if all of your coverage was integrated into one platform? Consider switching to a provider that will aggregate all of your subscriptions into one, centralized system. For example, Agility PR Solutions can aggregate content from a variety of different providers. Ask us how.

How are you selecting the blogs or social networking platforms you’re monitoring?

tweet deck screencap

Where does your target demographic “hang out”?

Have you done your due diligence and research to determine which blogs are most appealing to your target demographic? Are they socializing through traditional social medias like Facebook and Twitter? When auditing your media monitoring platform, always make sure you’re monitoring the proper channels or you won’t receive a good return on your investment.

Are you capturing all your national or regional coverage?

If so, which type of coverage has been the most effective for your business?

Are there new geographic areas you should focus on?

Whether your business is more focused on regional or national coverage depends on your media monitoring and analysis objectives. If you want to establish your business as a thought leader, monitoring for coverage in national publications might be the way to go. If you’re looking to determine which markets are conversing about your brand the most, it might be more critical to monitor regional publications.

You might also consider the size of your business when monitoring your media. Are you a large company? Or one with a more local appeal? Refer to your target audience and objectives when deciding whether to focus on new geographic areas with your monitoring.

Are you seeing the results your business needs to implement actionable strategies?

Is your current provider’s library of coverage large enough to span your company’s needs? If you’re not getting the results that you need to implement actionable strategies, it may be time to purchase additional subscriptions or shop around for a media monitoring provider with access to more extensive coverage libraries.

How are you managing copyright content?

Do you know which sources you’re allowed to share?

Some content subscriptions have a strict user limit per account. Make sure you know exactly which content you’re allowed to share, and the number of people you’re allowed to share with. Have you considered whether or not you’ve purchased enough licenses to cover the most important stakeholders in your business? Instead of asking users to login and out, consider purchasing additional content licenses for your organization as you grow.

Remember: Sharing with anyone outside of your designated user base is illegal and a violation of many federal laws.

What about paywalls?

Though most media monitoring providers will provide users with a native URL and headline, chances are you won’t be able to access the original content unless you purchase additional subscriptions. Paywalls are an issue with every media monitoring and analysis software, so it’s up to your business to ensure you’ve purchased the proper amount of licenses to legally view content.

How are you saving your content?

Is all of your data saved to one, centralized place?

Having your data stored in one place allows your business to easily set benchmarks, refer to previous data and update data when need be. This also allows you to easily back your data up on a regular basis, ensuring that it is consistently safe and secure.

How are you managing your historical content?

Are you frequently referencing historical news content? Consider archiving your data regularly in a way that makes sense for your business—daily, monthly, or yearly (or considering using media monitoring software that does this for you automatically). This allows you to easily navigate through new content, and have immediate access to the data your company uses.

How long does your media monitoring and analysis company store data for you?

Unlike Agility PR Solutions, most media monitoring and analysis companies won’t archive your data indefinitely. So make sure you know how long your historical data is stored in the system, so you can export and archive your coverage as needed.

Are you using the right keywords? Are you using them effectively?

How many keywords are you monitoring?

What is the purpose of each keyword?

Are your keywords specific enough?

search string example

Media monitoring and analysis isn’t a “set and forget” service—it requires fine tuning throughout the year. During your audit, make sure to count how many keywords you’re monitoring and to truly understand the purpose of each keyword. Do they meet your company’s objectives? Are they still relevant? Are they pulling in enough results, or too many? If you’re gathering too many results, make sure to modify keywords for specificity. Delete any poor performing keywords to ensure all your data is fresh and up-to-date.

Are you searching for misspellings?

Have you considered how many different spelling (and misspelling) variations there are of your keywords, especially on social media? Consider adding variations of your keywords to get the most out of of your media monitoring provider.

Are you using the OR/AND and NOT operators properly?

Are you searching for your keywords in the right geographic area?

Sometimes keywords aren’t performing as well as they could be because of improper Boolean logic—this could mean you’re not being specific or broad enough with your inclusions (AND/OR) or your exclusions (NOT). You may also be focusing on the wrong geographic area. It takes some time to set up effective keyword search strings, so it’s important to update them frequently and test different variations to ensure accuracy with your monitoring. Agility PR Solutions has created a helpful spreadsheet to help track your keywords and their effectiveness.

Executive-ready briefings: Are your stakeholders reading them?

Is your briefing being delivered to and read by the right people?

media brief example

sidekickHow do you know? Whether or not those on your mailing list are opening your briefings is important to know when determining if your media monitoring and analysis program is effective. You can use a free tool like Hubspot’s Sidekick, which will notify you if someone has opened an email that you’ve sent to them. By adding this to your communications toolkit, you’ll be able to understand exactly who is opening your briefings, how many times they’ve been opened, and reach out to those who haven’t for a better understanding of why they may not be reading.

Use an additional free tool like SurveyMonkey to survey recipients and get actionable feedback for your briefings strategy.

Are you deploying your briefings at the right time?

Timing is also important. If you’re finding that your mailing list isn’t being very responsive to your briefings, maybe you’re not sending them at an appropriate time. Try sending your briefing out at different times and see what sticks—or send out multiple briefings throughout the day, if it’s better for your business.

Is your briefing easily digestible and branded properly?

Are all results in your briefing relevant? If not, you’re wasting people’s time. Think of it this way:  four irrelevant articles per day, five days a week, equals 80 irrelevant articles a month (or 960 irrelevant articles a year). Not only do these false positives misinform your day-to-day strategies, but they also make for inaccurate analysis at the end of the year. If relevancy is an ongoing issue, consider outsourcing your media monitoring needs to a third-party provider—they’ll ensure that your brief is branded appropriately and completely relevant to your business’s objectives.

Are you tracking interactions with influencers?

Are you tracking engagement with journalists?

Does your team have a process or workflow to track all interactions?

One of the amazing features of media monitoring and analysis is that you can use it to determine which journalists and publications have the most clout in your industry. Ask your media monitoring provider if they have a module in place that allows you to track all external communications efforts with both the journalists providing coverage for your business, and new journalists you’d like to establish relationships with. If they don’t provide this type of service, consider switching to a provider that can integrate engagement tracking with your media monitoring services.

Do you have access to a contact database through your current provider?

contact manager

Are you supplementing with an external provider? Have you considered switching to a provider that provides this option? Integrating a media database with your media monitoring and analysis data allows you to power your pitches with relevant information derived from your coverage. Some media monitoring providers even provide social contact information for journalists, allowing you to nurture relationships with them through other channels like Twitter.

Remember, it’s important for journalist data to be up to date so that your outreach efforts are effective, and these days journalists change jobs at near-breakneck speed. So make sure that your provider updates its journalist contact information regularly.

So what now?

Want to know why these questions are important? Having a difficult time answering some of these questions? Or maybe you need help auditing your current media monitoring and analysis provider? Agility PR Solutions’ media monitoring experts are here to help. Contact us and we’ll walk through this process with you.

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Agility PR Solutions
Agility PR Solutions provides powerful, yet easy to use media database, monitoring, and analytics solutions for tomorrow’s communicators. Since 2003, clients have trusted our tools and services to help them identify and connect with influencers, capture coverage, and measure impact of everything they do. Whether we do it for you or help you do it yourself, our team of media experts make it easy to monitor and measure traditional, broadcast, social and online coverage.

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