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Missed Information is Misinformation: The In's and Out's of News Monitoring

turbinelabs April 6, 2022
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Public opinion is a fickle thing, whether you’re a celebrity or at the helm of a large company. When bad news hits the Internet or the breaking news cycle, you need to be ready to manage the narrative. Step back into 2018, where a seemingly off-the-cuff remark wiped $1.3 billion off the map:

Kylie Jenner is not happy about Snapchat’s new redesign. Snap (SNAP) stock closed down 6% on Thursday after the reality TV star said she is no longer using the app. The plunge wiped about $1.3 billion off the company’s market value. Jenner has been one of Snapchat’s most influential users.

The only thing worse than getting caught off-guard by bad news is the kind of off-the-cuff, unmeasured response your company may make when caught off-guard or having nothing to say at all. Whether it’s a sexual assault scandal, a catastrophic machinery failure or accident, or a public critique of your company, your marketing and PR teams need to be ready. That should take the form of:

  • Prepared response plans
  • Drafted templates and response
  • Clear lines of responsibility so no one is left wondering what to do next
  • 24/7 news monitoring

That last item is particularly important: you don’t want to be the last one to hear about your organization’s bad news, and you certainly don’t want to be the last one to respond. In this brief guide, we’ll explore what news monitoring is, how it benefits your organization, and why it’s not just an important step — it’s an urgent one.

What Is News Monitoring?

At its most basic level, news monitoring is simply watching and listening to the news. But it quickly becomes more complex as you consider the different tiers of what makes up “news” about your brand. Consider:

Major News Broadcasting

Newspapers, nationally broadcasted news channels, and regional news platforms (and more) all make up this category. Your brand may get headlines, feature stories, and ticker tape mentions regarding your stock prices, a public scandal, or a catastrophe. While your company might be positively featured across these channels, you’ll mostly want to keep a finger on the pulse of major news broadcasting for negative news.

Opinions and Conversations With Large Audiences

Podcasts, influencers’ social media channels, and talk radio make up some of the information platforms in this category. These typically aren’t where breaking headlines are, but they shape a surprising amount of public perception. Once a trusted voice has an opinion about your company, chances are that their loyal audiences will also share that opinion (especially if they didn’t already have a strong opinion about your company). 

General Conversation

Online chatter about your organization can be just as important as larger stories over the long term. In this bucket, think about general social media mentions and forum posts, radio or online mentions, and anything that gives you insight into public perception in either broad or niche communities.

Just like there are different places where you should do your news monitoring, there are different ways to do news monitoring:

  1. Helter-skelter: You and your employees may see breaking news mentions by chance or just happen to view consumer media that mentions your organization. This can be valuable, but it’s patchy and inconsistent. Because it’s not systematic, you’re likely to miss the early emergence of news stories and a rising tide of different opinions. You’ll also spend time worrying and searching through the noise when the world is focused on something else.
  2. Tracking tools: These tools are constantly plugged into online channels and other media distribution channels so you receive alerts about new mentions and potentially negative news.  However, it is important to keep in mind that not all of these tools are created equally. Many tools simply give you the information without offering any way to make sense of it. Whereas, other platforms, like Turbine Labs, offer tools such as the Turbine Recommender that highlights the important information so you can avoid spending countless hours sifting through less important mentions. 
  3. Smarter analytics: Good news monitoring tools do more than ping you or your team when your company is mentioned. They can comb through thousands of different websites and channels to interpret sentiment, severity, frequency, and more. Not only can they act as an early warning system, but they also provide nearly real-time insights into whether your responses are helping.

How Can It Help You?

News monitoring plays a vital role in your company’s ability to respond in a timely and appropriate fashion to sudden outcroppings of mentions and interest. It’s also key to long-term brand reputation management so you aren’t always reacting (even if you’re now reacting at a much faster pace). Some of the key benefits of news monitoring include:

  • Directly track what’s being said: You can receive alerts as soon as news is circulating about your company or your key employees and stakeholders.
  • Monitor brand reputation: Your organization benefits from always having an understanding of how your customers and the general public views your company.
  • Understand your target audience: Along with monitoring sentiment, you can gain a deeper understanding of your market’s opinions about your brand. You can also see in what contexts they value or discuss your company, which gives you more insight into what might drive their purchasing decisions.
  • Mitigate risk: This is crucial for any organization. With social media, anyone can post video coverage of an accident, incident, or dispute that reflects on your organization. Incidents like a doctor being dragged off of a United flight, Better.com firing 900 employees on a Zoom call, or Facebook’s whistle-blowing scandal hit the news and cascade waves of negative opinion. You can’t stop the story, but you can be poised to respond to it.
  • Measure PR effects: Long-term resolution and brand enhancements strengthen your company, whether there’s been an incident or not. News monitoring can help your team gauge the impact of positive news, where they should direct their attention to next, and if their public relations efforts are working or backfiring.

Missed Information Is Misinformation

If your company isn’t aware of the news, you’re working off of old facts and opinions about the company itself, key actors and stakeholders, and significant events. Old information is inaccurate information, and missing out on information means you might be spreading misinformation. 24/7 news monitoring helps your marketing and PR teams avoid major missteps, never look uninformed, and manage the narrative about your brand.

Start Proactively Protecting Your Company’s Brand Reputation With News Monitoring From Turbine Labs

At Turbine Labs, we do the hard work of news monitoring for you. Instead of constantly having to be plugged into news platforms, popular influencer channels, and other information outlets, have the relevant information sent to your inbox and your teams’ to-do lists. With our services, you’ll know about relevant breaking news stories, shifts in public opinion, and other significant chatter without having to spend your time searching for (and maybe missing) early warning signs of trouble. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.