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How does media monitoring work?

How does media monitoring work?

Today’s technologically advanced media monitoring solutions can play a central role in creating effective PR campaigns and protecting your brand. So how does media monitoring work, and what should you look for in a media monitoring tool?

What media monitoring does

In a previous blog, about what is media monitoring; we outlined the rationale behind why any business looking to protect its brand and measure the impact of its communications needs a media monitoring solution (this link goes to the guide, but you are speaking about solution. We can link to the solution). But in order to be able to get the most out of the media monitoring tool at their disposal, the communications team – and the board – needs to understand exactly what it does, and how it does it.

Media monitoring is the process by which millions of pieces of content are scanned, analysed and catalogued, according to the priorities of the client.

Is can be used to track mentions of a specific company, brand or product across social channels, print media, and television and radio broadcasts in real time. It surfaces industry trends and impending crises while they are still in the incubation phase. It reflects the success of given press releases or PR campaigns, revealing whether they have garnered positive attention among their target audience, resulted in negative sentiment, or sunk without a trace.

Media monitoring shows the share of voice commanded by a business or its brand. It also empowers media monitoring analysis and is the foundation stone on which media intelligence platforms are built. These solutions allow for sentiment analysis, identifying in real time how certain audiences and stakeholders feel about a given subject.

All of this helps when it comes to protecting your brand. If you have insight into who is saying what about it, and to whom, then you are in a stronger position to deflect negative reporting, promote positive messaging, undertake crisis management when necessary, and target bespoke communications where they will be most effective.

How media monitoring functions

Media monitoring works by processing and filtering vast quantities of content, flagging up any mention of key topics and search words that might be useful in meeting the client’s needs.

All relevant print, online, broadcast and social media coverage is collated, creating an overview of industry issues, competitor behaviour and customer reaction.

Visibility with target audiences is quantified, as is the share of the meaningful conversation being assimilated by those audiences. It can cover multiple geographies and languages to deliver the complete picture: a blueprint of an organisation’s earned media presence.

Part of the value of media monitoring lies in delivering the data to the people who need it in a useful format. Based on the relevant coverage, an automated or curated monitoring service delivers a regular digest, at the required time and frequency, highlighting key news topics and stories. Targeted to their readership, these reports allow everyone from the PR executive to board members to absorb the relevant information, at the level of detail they require to perform their role and make informed decisions.

Reporting can also be provided via self-service platforms, which combine traditional and social media platforms to create a single access point where a more detailed, in-depth dissection of a business’ media footprint can be viewed. Individuals can configure their own customised dashboards, setting them to track pre-defined companies, topics, and even individuals. Bespoke, real-time alerts can be delivered when specific content configurations occur. Charts rating businesses against competitors and industry trends provide an instant barometer of how their star is rising or falling.

Media monitoring software solutions

Media monitoring has come a long way since the days of manual newspaper clippings. Light years, even, during its development into a complete, integrated marketing solution. The use of proprietary software solutions marked a sea change in the volume of content that could be processed, and from that point on, the technology has become increasing sophisticated.

Accuracy in content identification has improved, as has the breadth of content streams that can be monitored and the quality of the reporting. Social media monitoring tools have the ability to pluck a relevant post from the endless online torrent that is the stream of consciousness on a social network. Different geographies can be monitored, scanning for content in multiple languages. As a result, media monitoring solutions are almost unlimited in scope.

The latest generation of media monitoring software has the capacity to audit millions of pieces of content, making it equal to scanning the 24/7 news cycle in addition to constant social scrolling.

Using natural language processing (NLP) and artificial intelligence (AI), all types of content can be scanned to pinpoint specific issues.

Speech-to-text technology, for example, is used to translate audio broadcasts into written text, allowing for digitisation. This level of rigour ensures that no meaningful mention of a topic or brand is missed.

How machine learning makes the difference

The application of machine learning has greatly advanced the capacity of media monitoring to offer a nuanced understanding of the content being scanned. Social listening is only useful if the programme can translate the text-speak shorthand it’s being required to digest. Language pattern matching is used to help the programme to identify and categorise the words and phrases it comes across. It has freed media monitoring from reliance on complicated strings of Boolean logic.

Machine learning is also employed to help the programme understand which types of articles are most relevant to both the business and user that is receiving the service. This steps away from rules-based selection and introduces a more fluid, training-based comprehension, to create a less binary, more ‘human’ interpretation of the content. The result is greater relevance and customisation of content to an individual’s unique preference, rather than a one-size-fits-all company-level solution.

One example of this is the way in which the capacity of media monitoring tools has been exponentially boosted by advances in technology which allow multiple languages to be processed as easily as the programme’s ‘native’ language. With so many businesses operating in international markets, relevant content is being generated across multiple geographies in many languages, and monitoring tools need to be able to access and understand all of these.

The human element in media monitoring

One of the key differentiators between competing media monitoring solutions is the human factor. The use of advanced technology and AI does not obviate the need for human involvement, and the most accurate and useful services will include the input of living industry experts who can verify and translate the findings to make them meaningful for the client. This represents the difference between an off-the-shelf, machine-only product, and one that is designed with the user’s needs held front of mind.

A comprehensive media monitoring tool includes close contact between the human editors and the end user – a concierge service that helps to tailor the output to the client’s needs. This ensures an agile, relevant and internally nuanced solution, which is kept current with the client’s evolving needs.

The human element also means someone being contactable 24/7 – to discuss what content is expected to come up, how it should be handled and who should receive it. It’s the reassurance of knowing that someone who has written about an industry for 15 years is responsible for conveying the nuance of an article when summarising it and when the end recipient will be senior management.

The most advanced software combined with digital intelligence cannot replace years of knowledge and expertise in a sector that an in-market media monitoring professional can provide. Even in 2021, not everything can be automated, and the optimum solutions play to the strengths of each component.

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