What Is Media Monitoring?

You may have heard about 'Media Monitoring', but do you know what it means, or what it’s for? Media monitoring allows companies and individuals to picture what is being said about them in the media – their ‘media profile’ – usually by tracking keywords (such as their company name) across broadcasts, the internet, social media and even print ...

Typically, nowadays, it's something that saves communications and PR teams from spending a lot of time sifting through the news. Before digital media monitoring came along, comms and PR people would have to spend time deducing a client’s profile by reading newspapers and magazines, watching or listening to radio and television news, surfing the internet looking for mentions of their business, and cutting out or clipping relevant snippets for later review and analysis. Of course, this still happens – but, for many organisations, the digitisation of media has enabled bots and software to do the heavy lifting for them.

The heavy lifting means finding references that match their keyword search terms across different media, analysing the language used around these references, quantifying that data, visualising it and turning it into actionable insight. Media monitoring platforms that can provide such insight have naturally become valuable to companies, who nowadays will frequently use one or another of these to give them a picture of their media profile.

Where before media monitoring was about human beings clipping articles from newspapers, today media monitoring is typically a software platform that allows subscribers to track and analyse mentions across multiple media: broadcast, social media, the internet, as well as print. This can range from complicated software, AI, or even just a regular Google alert every time your company is mentioned.

"What is Media Monitoring for – and why has it become so important?"

Media monitoring is about understanding your media profile. Since nowadays it is usually automated, it also saves you time and effort: often, all you need to do is put in your search criteria and the software will do the rest. Media monitoring also offers insight and intelligence. It can even search for the ‘affective quotient’ of the language used - positive, negative, or neutral sentiments - which will help you to analyse your company’s profile and brand. This data can then be used to fine-tune your communications in future.

A vital component of the value of any company, of any brand, lies in its reputation. Fast, accurate media monitoring allows you to manage this better. It gives you the ability to be aware of, and respond to, any threats your brand may face. It even allows you to develop your reputation, and enhance the value of your brand, by addressing any negativity you may find, to communicate directly with those who spread it, and to resolve misunderstandings.

Furthermore, for any organisation, it is important to know what your own staff are saying to the media. Yet it is surprising how many communications and PR departments do not know which staff are going on, when, or saying what. This is of particular concern to quoted companies, financial organisations and investment managers, who are typically governed by strict regulations that make them legally liable for what their staff say, with liabilities lasting many years.

In addition, markets are more competitive than ever, so it can be advantageous to monitor your competition. Media monitoring can help you track your competitors’ press releases, product launches, corporate events, and wider media coverage. Doing so allows you to make more informed decisions as to how and where you compete.

With today's 24/7 news cycle, it is sensible to monitor your industry at all times. Why? Because we live on a 24hr planet, where threats and opportunities can come from anywhere at any time. In this environment, digital media monitoring can help you:

- Prevent a crisis or cut down on response time
- Recognise and capitalise trends in your industry as they crop up
- Gain market intelligence by tracking your competitors and key topics within your industry
- Improve messaging by understanding which messages resonate with your customers
- Adjust campaigns as they happen, especially if your messaging isn't resonating with the right audiences
- Attribute value by better mapping campaigns to specific business objectives
- Understand which influencers are having the most impact on your brand

So, in brief, that is what ‘media monitoring’ means and what it is for.

Next week, we will talk about what can and cannot be done by media monitors, the pros and cons for a rights holder (and their rights), and the dos and donts of media monitoring overall.

If you feel inspired to find out more about anything we've said here, do call us on +44 1908 041290 or leave a comment below and I'll be in touch as soon as I can.