There are endless instances for brands to receive media coverage in a single 24-hour news cycle. But how can business leaders monitor and learn about the coverage they are receiving, even when they have no interest in being in the news?
Some companies rely on the method of a traditional media clippings report. This is when communications teams spend hours scouring media sources, scanning for mention of their brand to clip, compile, and share. There are also a handful of “media monitoring” services that provide clip reports, but typically it’s a small team of agency practitioners who are building these reports.
So what is media monitoring and how does media analysis play an essential role in successful businesses?
What is Media Monitoring?
Media monitoring is the process of continuously tracking media channels, and having full insight into all mentions of a particular brand or selected topic. Media monitoring helps industry leaders to track their brand mentions as well as key themes across different platforms to see what is being said about them and determine how they are being perceived by their audiences and the public eye.
However, it’s what you do with that information that really matters.
The next step after media monitoring is media analysis. Once relevant mentions and topics are collected, this data can be used to glean insights and identify industry trends. Media analysis is the breakdown of collected data into digestible trends and themes. This is significant because industry leaders utilize and interpret this data to inform business decisions. Unfortunately, many companies don’t take this step, resulting in misinformed decisions and missteps.
Media monitoring and analysis take different forms depending on the organization and desired outcomes. However, most commonly, media monitoring and media analysis look like this:
Share of Voice: How did the brand compare to competitors in terms of media mentions? Brands research what is being said about their top competitors in the media vs. what is being said about their own brand. They can then use this information to make changes to come off better in the public eye if needed.
Top Media: Which content was most impactful or received the most engagement. What a brand thinks is its most important asset, oftentimes isn’t what its customers think. Understanding what the public and audience are focused on helps the brand shift that focus to what they want and needs focus to be on.
Sentiment: How was the business, brand, or organization portrayed by the media? This is typically categorized as positive, neutral, or negative. This helps brands shift the narrative. If a crisis occurs, understanding the sentiment can allow the brand to make the right crisis-control decisions to repair the damage done, or to avoid damaging media altogether.
Earned Media: How much coverage was received as a result of promotional efforts, rather than through paid advertising? This helps organizations make decisions about their organic services like whether or not it is working well and if they should allot more resources towards it or remove resources.
Follower Growth: Have social media platforms gained or lost followers this month? How does this number compare to the previous month? Similar to earned media, follow growth is important because it helps organizations strategize for the future. It allows them to see what worked and what didn’t, and whether or not social media is a strategic tool for their audience.
Identifying Media Trends Through Media Analysis
After collecting and identifying these media trends, there are multiple different ways this information can support organizations. These ways can include:
Competitor Coverage: Tracking coverage of competitors in addition to one’s own business enables brands to identify best practices as well as find areas for improvement. For example: If a competitor runs a successful charity campaign that receives a high amount of earned media coverage, an organization may want to consider creating a new and unique community giving initiative, or determine other ways to gain back a share of voice in that field.
Crisis Communication: Proficient monitoring can be used to get ahead of a crisis or cut down on response time, resolving the issue before it becomes a problem.
Audience Engagement: In order to improve messaging to resonate with consumers, businesses need to determine who is engaging with their content. Understanding one’s audience is vital to building strategies that continue to engage and increase audience participation and positive sentiment toward the brand.
Marketing Campaigns: Media monitoring can be utilized to measure end results of marketing and PR campaigns. This can be a helpful tool when gauging the success of the campaign overall. It also serves current campaigns, allowing businesses to adjust mid-promotion if the messaging is not resonating with, or reaching the appropriate audiences.
Awareness of one’s brand content and how it is being perceived in the media can be highly beneficial for industry leaders hoping to expand their business and stay in the know of what the public thinks of their brand. Media monitoring and analysis are significantly important tools for any company wishing to better understand its media presence, its impact, and whether or not there is a need to take action.