I certainly didn’t (or couldn’t) realize it at the time, but my first job at age 13 set the stage for the rest of my career path. Back in 1987, with my bright yellow Ottawa Citizen bags on each shoulder, I delivered the local newspaper door-to-door after school. Yes, after school…first edition of the day.
And to make me sound even older, I had to collect payment directly from each customer with my little ticket book in hand, and then wait in line every second Wednesday in a parking lot for the Citizen manager to show up in his yellow truck to collect money from the local carriers. I think his name was Pete.
I have a lot of great memories from that first job — mostly the generous tips at Christmas time. But seriously, I learned a lot about the newspaper business and customer service in my time there.
Fast forward to my first real job in PR, with Hill & Knowlton, in 1995.
There I sat at 9 a.m. with a stack of newspapers in front of me with scissors, glue stick, and fax machine at the ready. Yes, this was the state of media monitoring at the time.
Little did I know that eight years later, in 2003, I would help start a media monitoring business called MediaMiser. And being the first employee, I was responsible for delivering important news to our clients, customer service, and collecting money. Sound familiar?
Twelve years later, this fledgling startup has over 50 employees and provides media monitoring and analysis for hundreds of clients, and some of the biggest brands in the world.
You could say that things haven’t changed that much since my first job, but this is where the story takes a sharp turn. Media monitoring isn’t anything like it was for me in 1995, or 2003.
I had the pleasure of seeing this firsthand recently in something I call Undercover Boss, MediaMiser edition.
A few weeks ago I arrived at our headquarters at 5 a.m. to take a closer look at how we tackle media monitoring these days. And while the goal is still the same — delivering 100-per-cent relevant news to our clients — the process has completely changed, and much for the better.
When I sat down with media analysts Julia, Sheena, and Carolyn, I was immediately impressed with how strategic and nuanced our editorial review process has become.
While our technology does the heavy lifting of pulling in content from a variety of social and traditional sources, putting in the right editorial review process can be the difference between an average and outstanding program. Seeing this process again up close, reminded me of the uniqueness of our solution.
Most clients we work with have very specific requirements, and in most cases our media analysts deliver content direct to senior executives. The content must be 100-per-cent accurate, actionable, and easy to consume. The only way to deliver on this model is by pairing our clients with dedicated analysts who in essence become an extension of the PR teams we work with.
And just like others on the TV show ‘Undercover Boss’, I realized just how much our company has evolved, how important our people are, and how outdated my skills are for the media monitoring world of 2015.
There is a tremendous amount of skill, knowledge and passion that goes into our daily work, and it was very humbling seeing our team in action. It serves as a great reminder for any company founder or executive to revisit every department in the business to truly understand what makes your business tick.