Media Monitoring: the Guide to tracking news & press

Have you ever wondered what people think or even say about you or your brand? Well, you can actually find out exactly what’s being shared about you on Social Media, blogs, news sites, etc.

In this article we’ll introduce you to the fundamentals of media monitoring, types of monitoring, what to monitor and how media tracking relates to PR. We’ll also briefly go over tools you can use to stay up-to-date with changes in the media and your mentions. In an additional article, we’ll dive into how you can easily use different types of tools to follow your media mentions.

published: October 1, 2021
updated: October 2, 2021

Media monitoring: what is it?

We all browse the internet or scroll through social media on a daily basis, right? We take our time to lazily flip through the sports pages or to read the latest gossip. However, actually monitoring the media, really paying attention to what’s going on, is much different than just some casual reading.

So, how do we define media monitoring? In simple terms, media tracking can be described as the activity of actively observing and keeping track of what’s happening in the news, what’s being said on Social Media and what stories are featuring across the internet.

Within the IMC process, PR implements various techniques and tactics to help meet the holistic communication goals. In this, PR has a different set of objectives than marketing, the main difference being that PR focuses on promotion via editorial content and sharing value-adding materials that enhances the overall marketing plan.

When we closely keep an eye on the output of any type of media, we call it media monitoring. We can do this for a variety of reasons. In most cases, the reason why we want to stay aware of media activities is so that we know what’s being said about our brand and what’s being said about our competitors.

We also monitor the media to stay up to date with industry trends and to know what market shifts are taking place. This helps to make sure that the media content you’re sending out actually supports and adds value to current events.

With so many people being exposed to digital media everyday, it’s important to stay aware of the news that’s being shared at all times. The biggest reason behind ‘why should I be monitoring the media?’ is because the results give you an honest overview of what’s being said about you, your company or your brand. You can see what clients, investors and the general public think about you as a business and use these insights to craft your communication strategy.

Before modern technology, newsagents, journalists, advertising agents, or anyone in the media business, would sit and literally cut out sections of newspapers and magazines where their client’s keywords and phrases featured. Lucky for us, this is now a fully digitalized job.

To save time, there’s machine learning tools that can help you. They continuously crawl and index sites, like Facebook and Twitter, online forums and news sites. When the software has indexed all of the media sites, platforms and channels, it can find specific information that matches your keywords and search terms. For example, brand name mentions.

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Types of media monitoring

The type of media monitoring system you choose is up to you. The first step is to figure out what information you are looking for, where you’re going to look for it and why.

Remember, when you start monitoring, you can set up exactly what you’re searching for by using keywords and main search phrases. This can be the company name, slogan, catchphrase or even management’s names. You can filter locations and specify exactly where on the Internet your helper tool should look for mentions.


Monitoring media online

Media tracking, also called news monitoring, became a highly sophisticated process, thanks to technological advancements. Machine learning, algorithms and online tools now make it possible to quickly track, collect and compile all the data you need from across the vast media landscape. Today, most of the content we consume is published online. Almost everything exists on the Internet in some type of digital format. From news sites, blogs, podcasts to streaming sites and so much more. There’s multiple channels and platforms where your brand can be mentioned online. So how would you know what’s being said and where?

The best way to monitor online media would be by getting a helper tool that crawls the web, including social platforms.

A helper tool can cover every area where your keywords and related phrases are mentioned. From top tier media publications to the smallest customer comment, there’s a lot to cover online.


Monitoring media in the news and press

Print shouldn’t be discarded just yet, newspapers and magazines still circulate. Since digital media is so prominent these days, print has become kind of prestigious to land your publication in. And let’s not forget, if it wasn’t for print - news monitoring wouldn’t exist.

It may take more time to read the paper, but what’s said in print is greatly important to be aware of. Also remember that print lives forever, a bad customer review or comment can’t just be deleted and what a journalist physically writes about your brand can seriously affect your image and reputation.

Many media houses now provide digital copies of their magazines and newspapers}, which does make the job easier than collecting cutouts.

As the saying goes ‘print never dies’. Don’t forget about newspapers and magazines. What journalists physically write about you or what appears in the public column can seriously impact your reputation. You need to stay aware of the offline mentions you receive


Monitoring social media

Social Media is a big part of modern consumer culture. Many users turn to social media before thinking about Googling what they’re trying to find. We value what our peers think and pay attention to the opinions of other ‘normal’ people.

Social Media allows you to involve yourself in conversations about your brand and to also contribute to other industry discussions. This also means that there’s a lot of possible conversations where you could be mentioned.

The term social listening is used to refer to the practice of monitoring social media. It entails actively listening to the discussions where your keywords show up and allows you to determine which pieces of content are featuring well and what content you should remove and avoid in future.

Social Media is one of the most powerful communication tools. News travels fast and wide and anyone has the opportunity to contribute to the discussion with their own opinions. Luckily, you can track your Social Media mentions via hashtags and by using a helper tool.


Monitoring broadcast

Although we stream shows and podcasts, rather than watching television or listening to the radio, there’s still power in how much TV influences public perception. The same goes for radio, news broadcasts reach a lot of ears.

Thankfully, you don’t have to tune into the exact time your insert is going to play. There’s software available that automatically records and transcribes the soundbites with your keywords.

Although television and radio seems less important against streaming sites, it still counts to monitor. Podcasts should also not be forgotten. What’s said about you on air can easily influence the audience that’s watching or listening. So, if you want to be sure you never miss a mention, don’t discard traditional media from your monitoring criteria.

What to monitor?

We all want to know what’s being said about us, specifically. This sometimes makes us forget about the bigger picture. News monitoring isn’t limited to just your own company, brand or products, you can take it further to understand your industry and see what competitors are doing.

Your own company

This one is probably obvious. You want to track your business across different sites and news outlets, finding out who’s talking about you and what they’re saying.

You want to know where your support is coming from and who’s detracting from it. By identifying your most lucrative audiences, you can direct your key messages towards them specifically.

You can start tracking your company by monitoring your brand name and the variations of it. You can also look for taglines, catchphrases and specific items associated with your brand. For example, Nike’s ‘Just do it’ is highly used in the media, it pops up in conversations more than Nike actually does.

In some cases, the CEO’s name is relevant to monitor. Especially when working with thought leadership strategies. Think about Warren Buffett, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, etc. Big names, and what’s said about them, have great influence on the associations and public status of the company.

Especially when the brand is very personal, management’s image and reputation need to fit the business. There should be a relevant connection. Monitoring names and keywords will assist you in seeing if your company has a healthy network of mentions.

Identify keywords and search terms related to your company, brand or products. You can even document what discussions management is involved in and what your stakeholders share about you. Monitoring yourself gives direct insights into how your PR and marketing campaigns or overall initiatives are performing.

Your channels

You can target specific communication channels to monitor. Starting with the bigger picture, the holistic media landscape, you can break it down to certain mediums. For example, if you want to prioritize Social Media, you might identify LinkedIn and Twitter as your priority platforms.

Monitoring specific communication channels will also disclose if these networks are adding value to your brand status or if you need to reevaluate your options. Even if the channel seems less important to you, the data you collect from your media report could prove otherwise.

Keep an eye on your communication channels to identify which ones hold the most relevance in reaching your target audience and carrying your brand message. This will help you to determine how you can build awareness and increase engagement.

Your competitors

It doesn’t matter if you’re starting up or if you’re an established company. Knowing what other organizations are doing can help you craft your differentiation strategy, as well as keeping you in the loop of industry moves and trends.

Before you can disrupt the market, you need to know what your competition’s strategy is and how they’re building their success. Monitoring other companies in your playingfield will help you to act proactively in securing your market position and to make sure that you don’t lose business to the opposition.

Knowing what other people are saying about your competitors is also useful information. Understanding the public’s opinion can help you to communicate how your business is relevant in supporting their needs.

Knowing how your competition is performing and what the media thinks of them can help you identify opportunities to build your own market presence and strengthen your position as an industry leader.

Your industry

In addition to your immediate competitors and your own media content, you need to stay informed about current industry developments, affairs and events. The main point of monitoring your market is to identify the opportunities you can leverage and benefit from.

If there’s anything new happening in industry, you want to be aware of how your audience is influenced by it and how this can impact the discussion concerning your brand or company. If you don’t know what’s currently happening in your industry, you run the risk of being irrelevant.

You have to stay informed about industry trends, developments and how the market is shaping new directions your customers are moving in. Monitoring your industry is critical because industry shifts determine your level of relevancy. You need to stay aware of the larger scope in order to effectively plan your communication campaigns.

Your suppliers and vendors

What’s said about your partners and the contractors you do business with is as important as what’s said about you. Your business relationships and the partners you’re associated with highly influences your reputation.

Looking at what the media says about your suppliers and vendors will help inform you of whether or not it’s a wise decision to carry out business with them. The status of your partners indirectly shapes what’s said and thought about you as a company. This can either benefit or hurt your brand image.

A positive or negative opinion about your business partners also influences your company’s image and reputation. It never hurts knowing what the media thinks about your connections.

PR and media monitoring: why is media monitoring important for PR?

PR is about more than just publishing press releases or writing articles, it’s done with the purpose of shaping opinions and contributes to the status of the brand image.  In this sense, we can say that public relations is concerned with developing, building and nurturing the company’s reputation.

In public relations, it’s highly important to track and measure how your campaigns are doing. PR monitoring is one way of gathering the relevant statistics you need for documenting your campaign’s success rates. This way you can also spot negative publicity and, if needed, deal with crises early on. The insights will help you to make strategic decisions when planning future PR campaigns.

In PR and strategic communication, measuring the success of your PR campaigns and initiatives is greatly important. Keeping an eye on the performance rates of your publications and posts will help you to spot problem areas and to filter out negative press.

This is where press monitoring comes into play. Effectively monitoring your content should be part of any comprehensive PR strategy. Building brand awareness, increasing credibility and establishing brand authority can only be done if your strategies compliment the current stance of the media, your audience and the market.

Since PR is concerned with reputation management, PR monitoring is needed to help you manage how your brand or services are perceived. The only way we can be sure that our PR strategies are working successfully, is if we know their performance rates.

The best way to increase your brand presence is by first understanding what the market wants, what they need and what they are thinking. By monitoring the related discussions, you get your audience’s unfiltered opinion, plus insights to help you best cater to their needs.

How PR and media monitoring work together:

  • Authority = PR contributes to building brand authority & monitoring show’s us if our audiences perceive us in a positive light
  • Reputation = PR builds reputation by sending clear and concise messages & by monitoring we can determine if our target audience understands our messages
  • Position = PR is done to secure a certain market position & monitoring can help us identify the opportunities we can leverage in order to benefit our position
  • Relevance = PR demonstrates your value adding benefit (a.k.a your market relevancy) & in your media report you can see if the market actually thinks you’re a key player
  • SEO Optimization = PR makes you discoverable online & you need to know the status of your discoverability by tracking your mentions and keyword performance.
  • Media relations = PR builds connections that can help grow your business & monitoring shows if these relationships are actually positively contributing to growth

Brand authority

You execute PR strategies with the purpose of gaining authority in the market. But the only way we can be sure that our strategies are actually working is by looking at the media and watching the news.

News monitoring helps you to better understand how other people perceive your brand. To build your status as an authority figure, you first need to make sure that the market knows who you are, that your audience understands what your brand is about and that they think you are contributing to their need satisfaction.


Brand reputation

PR strategies are developed with the purpose of gaining and maintaining a positive brand reputation. For this to be effective, you have to be clear and concise about your key messages and you definitely don’t want to send mixed signals that confuse your audience.

Important to keep in mind is that the online world will always leave room for negative remarks and dissatisfied reviews. No matter how perfect your PR strategy is.

The benefit of closely watching how your communication items are performing is that you can quickly react to negative news in a professional manner, before one bad comment spreads to hurt your reputation.


Brand position

PR sets out to build connections that positively contribute to your brand position. When wanting to grow or maintain your brand position, the relationships you keep are sometimes more valuable than your actual products or services.

By watching the media, you can identify potential connections that will enhance your position. For example, the right brand collaborations are highly beneficial in promoting your business. Teaming up with influencers who have a high number of followers and engagement rates is popular these days to build your market visibility.


Brand relevance

We can also define PR as the activities you conduct or participate in to demonstrate your market relevancy. For example, talking at events related to your niche and sharing your industry insights with the wider community. To ensure your relevancy, you need to be aware of what interests your customers, investors and onlookers.

By documenting what your audiences are saying, you identify how to tailor your messages in order to stay top of mind among them. It also helps to monitor the industry for new technologies, new tools and features that can help you move with the latest developments.


SEO optimization

Since the world is hyper-connected through the internet, the majority of PR initiatives are based online. You need to be discoverable online. This is why, in many cases, PR strategies prioritize SEO – to increase your online visibility and brand presence.

Tracking keywords and identifying the most useful ones for your business helps to write content that makes you discoverable in Google and other search engines. Based on the keyword results, you can see what topics spark interest. In turn, this can help you generate new content ideas.


Media relations

Some aspects of public relations relate to establishing connections with journalists and news sites that are willing to partner with you for stories and publications. However, building media relations does not stop here.

PR extends into building relationships with the media consumers who like, follow and share your posts. There are media monitoring tools that can collect all the relevant data where your brand was tagged or mentioned.

Looking at online mentions can help you understand how visible your brand is, as well as seeing if you’re getting the desired reactions from your media coverage. This way you can identify how to tailor your PR strategies to match the expectations and desires of your audiences.

Public Relations and media monitoring go hand-in-hand. You need to track your campaign progress and you also need to see if your objectives and KPIs were met. The data collected from media tracking helps you to derive insights to see if your PR initiatives are working.

Who should be using media monitoring?

Media monitoring is something anybody can implement to track how their brand image and reputation is doing. For example, if you’re building your personal brand on Social Media, you can monitor the status of your own posts and features.

Why you should keep be monitoring the media:

  • Identify the communication channels your customers use
  • Strategise how to use these channels to build valuable relationships with customers
  • Reach your customers directly and build brand awareness through engagement
  • Distinguish between positive and negative media mentions
  • Be aware of critical mentions that can hurt your reputation
  • Protect your brand position and establish your industry authority
  • Measure the reach and impact of your PR and marketing campaigns
  • Identify industry trends, events and market shifts
  • Stay up-to-date with what competitors are doing
  • Analyse customer feedback for valuable and actionable insights

Let’s look at who definitely needs to prioritize having a news monitoring system in place:

1. Startups and scaleups

As part of your desk research and industry analysis, having a media monitoring tool is very helpful to collect information that can help you identify opportunities and roadblocks.

In addition, when starting a business or scaling up, you’re already being forward thinking. So, keeping track of the industry’s, customers’ and competitors’ conversations helps you to be even more proactive in finetuning your communication campaign for max interest generation.

When you’re new to the industry, you first need to become familiar with what the news says about the latest trends, you need to know how your competitors are doing and what they’re saying. You also need to know what discussions your target audience participates in.

2. Small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

The SME sector is fierce with competition. Due to this intensity, positive media coverage is key in fostering brand credibility. The media presents many growth hacking opportunities, it’s just about identifying which of them you can use to strengthen your market stance.

Potential customers are much more likely to trust third-party messages about your brand that they get from the media. More so than hard sales messages you send them.

Although SMEs work vigorously to directly advertise their products and/or services in the media, it’s important to track other types of coverage the business receives. This way the resources spent on advertising and getting coverage from positive PR can be accounted for and you can calculate if it’s beneficial towards ROI.

Due to the competitive nature of this sector, a positive media image is critical if you want to succeed. You need to know where your customers hang out, meaning what communication channels and platforms they use. You also need to be aware of how the media influences your brand reputation - negative or positive press, critical comments and customer reviews.

3. Large business

Large businesses are usually more established and have been in the game for longer, placing them in a more comfortable position than startups, scaleups and SMEs. This also means that they tend to have more media coverage.

The more attention your company receives in the news, the more room there is for noise and irrelevant information spread. This is why large businesses need to be aware of the value adding and demoting discussions surrounding their brand/s.

Not only do they need to report on the ROI of their PR and marketing efforts, but they also need to be able to prove that resources spent on communication is in fact positively contributing towards image development and reputation management.

You can use your media report to see if your mentions, rates, reach and interactions, etc., is positively contributing to ROI and business growth.

No matter how much market security you have, industry trends still influence your market position. Not to mention, a crisis can really hurt your reputation since a lot of people tend to talk about the big brands. You need to make sure that you eliminate negative media and correct a crisis before it gets out of control. You also need to be sure that your PR initiatives are being effective.

4. Government and public administration

These types of organizations rely, to an extent, on public funding. This means that they are also widely exposed to public discussions or debates and receive an increased amount of public scrutiny.

Government organizations probably know better than any that the public’s confidence in you is more valuable than the best marketing campaign could ever be. This is why news monitoring is absolutely critical for any organization that deals directly with the public.

Government and public administration can leverage news monitoring for issue management, reputation management, future planning and to be aware of pressing matters that the public wants them to address.

The public’s opinion matters greatly. You need to be aware of public concerns, thoughts and opinions at all times. Since you use the media to communicate with mass audiences, you also need to be certain that your messages are delivered correctly and you need to know what the public reaction towards it is.

5. PR and communication agencies

It’s important to remember that advertising is paid for, you can say anything about your brand when you pay for media placements, but positive PR is earned.

Earned media is very powerful to have as part of your integrated communication approach because it adds a significant amount of credibility when someone else speaks positively about you in the media.

For PR and communication agencies, it’s important to know if their media efforts are contributing to lead generation, sales and overall positive media for their clients. They should also stay in the loop with current events and trends to make sure the PR material is relevant and adding value to the market.

As PR has a direct relationship with the media, agencies need to track the results of their clients’ campaigns. They also need to know what the reactions towards the campaigns are and if strategies are delivering the desired outcome.

Monitoring media in crisis situations

Public relations is easily associated with managing crisis situations. When companies do find themselves having to deal with a crisis situation, real-time media mentions tracking is a necessity.

The sooner you’re able to identify your position or public standpoint in a crisis, the faster you can resolve it and limit the damage to your brand reputation. In this case, media monitoring helps with solving the issue and providing an effective response to what the media is saying.

It’s critical to be aware of how your crisis communication impacts the coverage and discussions surrounding the issue you’re trying to resolve. Here’s some of the best practices for real time media monitoring during a crisis:


Know your audience

Although you might have a blueprint or basic strategy in place to follow when having to deal with a crisis, the audience involved will always be unique and so will their concerns. Social Media monitoring can help you track their conversations and better understand the main pain point to address, on a social level.

Social Media is also the most up-to-date source of information. Most of the stakeholders and parties involved will likely be actively involved on social platforms during a crisis. Although there is a lot of unverified information on Social Media, it does give a good indication of the audience’s opinion and concerns.

Tracking the social conversations during the early stages of a crisis will help you to tailor your communication in accordance with what’s troubling your audience. This way you can make sure that your response is constructive and offers comfort.

During the crisis and towards the end thereof, being aware of the media conversations is one of the most important aspects in correcting the situation. The media and public opinion can be very damaging to your reputation. At the same time, understanding your audience can help you to limit the damage.

Always be aware of who you’re communicating with, what channels and platforms they prefer and what their involvement in the crisis is


Identify which channels are important

When addressing your audience, you need to be aware of the most valuable channels to use to spread your message. For example, specific journalists and news shows, bloggers and Social Media platforms.

Depending on the crisis and who it affects, specific news sites and social channels will be most beneficial to reach the main parties involved. It’s important for you to identify these channels and the relevance they carry in addressing the current state of affairs.

Identify the most valuable sites, platforms, specific journalists and channels you need to support your communication.


Identify what’s missing

Throughout the development of your crisis communication, ask yourself if there’s anything missing from the message you're sending? Although you won’t be able to respond to every question from your stakeholders and the parties involved, you will be able to monitor what the most frequent questions are.

Be aware of how the conversations are shifting so that you’re able to provide relevant answers in terms of additional information to stakeholders.

As you’re working on resolving the crisis, it’s important to keep an eye on the media to see how the content you’re releasing is being interpreted. Is there any information missing? What else can you share to satisfy the media?


Enhance your key message

When discussing your crisis communication strategy for the first time, you should think of the key message to repeat throughout. This gives consistency and limits the amount of rumours of false news that can stem from mixed messages.

In most cases, a straight forward press release and clear statement from management is what journalists need to build their stories. It’s important for you to monitor how these stories develop and if they are staying focused on the key issue and what you’re doing to resolve it.

Moving forward, knowing what messages are being re-shared will help you to build your messages. Circling back to your audience, you can monitor the changes in their opinions and discussions after each press release or conference you host, in relation to your focus points.

The more you repeat the key message, the more constructive the media discussion will be. Also monitor how the stories surrounding your key message are evolving. Are there any new concerns you need to address? Is your message clear?


Stay focused

It’s easy for the media to capitalize on strong emotions when there’s a crisis. This is why it’s very important for you to stay neutral, while providing the needed emotional security when addressing the crisis.

Staying focused on the main concern of the crisis can help combat a media frenzy of emotions. This is why real-time monitoring is needed during a crisis. Whenever an alarming discussion or publication pops up, you can act swiftly to calm down or correct the media attention it receives.

Tracking the media will show you if the news is getting more positive or if it’s taking a negative turn. Staying focused on the main issue will, to an extent, help steer the media conversation is a productive direction. However, in any crisis, there’s emotions involved. So you need to see where there’s opportunity for improvement.


Media report

News monitoring is all about collecting information. It helps to limit damage to your reputation and can also give you insights to better prepare yourself for dealing with the media when there’s a crisis.

Compiling a media report, continuously documenting and tracking, throughout the duration of the crisis will help you to highlight what worked well and what should be avoided. In future, your report can also help you to recognize a crisis early on, since you are better aware of red flags to lookout for in the media.

When the crisis is resolved, or nearing the end of resolution, you can start analyzing the total media report. This data will help you to plan future crisis communication strategies to better deal with the situation.

Tools and platforms for monitoring

Read more about the tools and platforms in more detail in our media monitoring tools article. However, let’s look at the type of tools that are available and how much they cost.

Depending on the intensity of your monitoring efforts, the techniques or expertise you employ will determine how much you spend on monitoring. In some cases, it’ll be totally free or a decent portion of your PR and marketing budget will be set aside to compile an extensive media report.

Currently, monitoring tools are categorized according to three types. Free, paid and premium. The more the monitoring package offers and the complexity thereof, the more expensive.

Free tools

Free tools are standard and limit you to the basics of what you’re able to track. They don’t have a large database and the report you get from it is a very surface-level overview. The free version of a monitoring package is usually a snippet of a paid tool you can purchase to unlock more features.

Google Alerts is a great free monitoring tool. The tool will collect information that is publicly available and notify you about changes in mentions. If it finds new results that match your search terms, it will notify you via email.

Free helper tools are usually limited in what they’re able to do, but Google Alerts can notify you in real-time about new mentions or any changes related to your keywords and terms.

Paid tools

Many different paid tools are available at affordable prices. A paid tool gives you more variety in terms of metrics, databases, insights and report options. Some examples for the best paid monitoring systems are:

SEMrush is an SEO tool that offers media tracking as one of their features. If you’re developing your SEO strategy and want to optimize it, SEMrush can help you to track unlinked brand mentions. The license starts at $99.95 per month, however a free trial is available.

BuzzSumo tool is good for tracking your Social Media mentions. You can use it to create high-performing content, identify popular content and monitor your personal performance. At the same time, you can monitor noise and how your competitors are featuring.

Hootsuite is an all-in-one social media managing tool. Amongst other features, the tool makes it easy to manage your social accounts, monitor media mentions and analyze data. A well-rounded media report can be compiled that gives you all the insights you need to enhance your Social Media performance.

Also a Social Media management software, Sprout Social can be used to understand your social media performance, manage your Social Media channels more effectively and to compile social reports. The benefit is that the report can help you to gather valuable and actionable insights.

Paid for tools range from very affordable to more expensive, depending on the features you want included in your package or the main function of the tool. Different tools and software serve different purposes, so be mindful of your goals when selecting a paid helper.

Premium tools

Usually we pay the professionals for premium services. Media intelligence companies, who are specialists in the field, develop premium media monitoring strategies. The package they create for you will likely be available on their media intelligence platform.

The great thing about these services is that premium tools have an additional layer of complexity as they deep-dive into collecting data and they usually come with personalized support and consulting services.

Keep in mind, when selecting a monitoring tool or developing your monitoring strategy, that it should offer comprehensive data, be user-friendly and you should be able to tailor and filter what you want to monitor, as well as be able to customize the final report.

Premium services are not cheap, but they do offer you the best support. Your media monitoring tool or package will most likely be tailored to your every need and the report will go into great detail. With a premium package, you usually have assistance from a professional who can help interpret the data.

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Media monitoring in real-time

If you’re not tracking your media mentions in real-time, how are you ensuring your brand relevance? We all know how fast Social Media is to react to any bit of news that’s shared. If you’re not responsive, your brand reputation could take a serious blow.

With digitalization and globalization taking over, the amount of online media consumers also increases. News reaches people faster than ever before and mass audiences are exposed to the messages sent out.

With the onset of new technology, the news also spreads in real-time. The time it takes for news to reach the publicis growing smaller and smaller, making it a necessity for companies to practice real-time media monitoring.

People can access news instantly, not to mention share it just as fast via Social Media, public forums and community blogs. This makes being featured in the media equally beneficial and risky for your company and brand reputation.

Real-time media monitoring software delivers comprehensive insights and reporting across online, television, radio and Social Media - as it happens. Real-time monitoring is also a fundamental of safeguarding your business, one bad review that’s left untreated can cost you a great deal of market share to your competitors. By now we know that brand image and reputation management is a 24/7 job.

The available media tools continuously crawl the Internet for any new mentions or changes that match your key search terms. You can request a media report at any time and stay up-to-date with current events. You can also activate real-time alerts to keep you informed about when and where your key terms appear.

Nurturing your brand’s digital presence requires constant attention, since people demand instant responses and reactions to what’s circulating in the media.

When there’s industry discussions taking place, it’s equally important to share your view on the matter, so that you’re not lost in the crowd of competitors. In this case, real-time news monitoring alerts you about industry shifts and new market revelations.

Being aware of industry developments, as soon as they take place, helps you to be proactive in developing your communication strategies and to stay ahead of the competition, when it comes to gaining media coverage. Setting up alerts from your helper tool might sound annoying, but at least you won’t miss anything important.

Monitoring media in crisis situations

Media monitoring and analysis can either be done daily, weekly or monthly. It’s good to reflect and compare how your mentions have changed over a period of time. In your report you’ll also see how seasons, trends and other external factors influence your media performance.

The nice thing about media monitoring and analysis is that you can customize and tailor it to your liking. For example, if you’re running a PR campaign you might want your report to focus more on the specific campaign and less on other communication efforts. Perhaps you want to eliminate print from your report or focus on specific magazines.

The statistics don’t lie, from your report you can see how your digital strategies perform and what needs to be enhanced or altered. Your report is also greatly beneficial when reviewing marketing strategies to assess how your brand is perceived online.

So, how do we get from data to insights? Remember to always start with asking yourself ‘why’. Determine why you want to collect data and then think about ‘how’ to get it and ‘what’ you wish to achieve from it.



First, it’s important to know that the level of sophistication of your media tracking package will determine what data is included in your reports. Depending on the software you use, or agency you employ, your report can contain data from Social Media platforms, news sites, forums, broadcast, streaming sites, public web pages, etc.



Next, you should know that your mentions can be summarized based on volume, reach, positive and negative mentions. Mentions can also be organized categorically. For example, you can separate data from Instagram and Facebook, but list them under Social Media. You can also have separate groups for mentions in news, podcasts and blogs.

Remember, across all platforms, sites and channels, your mentions are indicated numerically, in terms of volume, likes, shares, interactions. Your job is to interpret the number to find the trends and insights from your data.


Data-based lists

Your report will highlight areas like your most popular mentions, most active Social Media platforms and most influential profiles, trending hashtags and where your most active support is coming from. Tracking these results on an ongoing basis can help you to monitor and manage your PR KPIs and manage your holistic communication goals.


Specialized reports

Depending on what you want to get out of your media report, you can have separate reports for separate activities.

PR campaign report

At the end of your campaign, you’ll have to report the results. In the report, you want to see how the initiatives impacted your overall business goal. The report will also highlight what worked and what didn’t, as well as including some indisputable numbers like reach, engagement and impact.

Competitor report

No matter how established your business is, there’s power in knowing how your competitors are doing and how the landscape surrounding your industry currently looks. A competitor report can help you identify the gaps they’re not filling and help you to leverage the opportunity to outperform them in the areas. A solid competitor report is also beneficial in identifying how to establish your company as an industry leader.

Crisis report

Firstly, a crisis report is proactive in preparing a crisis management strategy. Secondly, a crisis report will indicate what worked well and what did not when you were in the process of solving the issue. In the report you will be able to see what you need to improve, as well as see the vulnerabilities of your business.

Always start with your PR campaign goal or your holistic marketing objectives and KPIs. This will guide you in setting up your monitoring system and ensure that the data is functional in uncovering insights.


From output to insight

Your media report is based on numeric data, so you will have to formulate your insights by considering how the data matches your campaign or marketing objectives and KPIs. The report will, for example, show you if you met your goal of growing your LinkedIn audience.

Here’s an example of how you interpret the media report to gather insights:

WHY: [Specify a theme you’re working with, e.g. Sustainability is a core theme of our business’]. We want to create more proactive media visibility and convey the right message to the right audience via the right medium, and to be able to continually improve these items where necessary.

HOW: Monitoring media visibility, reach, sentiment, stakeholders, media sources, and core message

WHAT: Insight into the impact of proactive activities and communication in owned and earned media

Output (media report)

Let’s say your report shows that you had 500 mentions across the areas you monitored (e.g. 5% total coverage) in the theme you specified. 15% of the mentions came from your own PR initiatives and 10% thereof had a positive tone of voice. Your top 3 core messages are visible on regional news sites.


This data on its own does not mean much. However, let’s pretend your objectives were:

  • To get 10% coverage on [the theme]
  • To get at least 10% proactive reporting
  • To gain 5% positive sentiment
  • To gain X-amount of media-wide visibility


By making the link to your objectives and KPIs, your output results already have meaning. So what is the insight?

Visibility on [the theme] is below expectations (5% vs 10%) but is more proactive (15% vs 10%) and more positive (10% vs 5%) than expected. This means that the company’s initiatives have had an impact and have been taken with the right tone of voice. Next to this, visibility is still limited.

Now that you have this insight, you can reevaluate your objectives and KPIs. The data from your existing report will help you define your next strategy and help you generate new insights. Each report builds on the previous - compare the results to see if what you’re doing is gaining you success.

Remember, the report is there to supply data. You have to interpret the results to get your insights. The statistics you collect are greatly beneficial for campaign planning - the more data you collect, the more you have to structure your strategy with.

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Hopefully this article helped you to gain a better understanding of media monitoring and why it should be on your priority list. Even though it might seem tricky in the beginning, with a little practice and experience, you’ll figure out what monitoring system works best for you.

Always remember, the data you collect needs to be interpreted to reveal the insights.

Starting with your PR campaign or marketing objectives and KPIs is the best way to go. So, we’ve introduced you to media tracking, why it’s important, tools that can help you and what media to monitor. As well as what to monitor in the media.

In this article, we deepdive into the tools and software you can use to track your media mentions. We also give examples of how to track media developments in real-time.

If you’re looking for premium media monitoring support, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today for a free consultation.

October 1, 2021
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