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Media monitoring best practice – 5 key considerations

While the vast majority of Communications teams will have some form of media monitoring in place, their actual customer experience is often poor. The service has variously attracted a bad reputation for being expensive, fragmented, inaccurate and slow.

A lot of the reason for this frustration is that the expectations of increasingly technologically-empowered customers have not been met by the monitoring industry, which tries to impose standardized solutions on the more nuanced needs of the market.

This doesn’t have to be the case.

Armed with the right questions and knowledge, companies can ensure they get the most value out of their monitoring service by focusing on the key elements that are going to deliver their desired outcomes.

The 5 key consideration before choosing a monitoring provider

We offer you 5 important things to consider when choosing a monitoring provider.

1. Consolidated vs segmented

With the rise of social media, greater media anarchy and the increasing interconnectivity of stakeholders, the number of channels talking about your company, competitors and issues have multiplied.

However, with content increasingly available in digital formats, it has never been easier to monitor everything in one place – print, online, broadcast and social media.

This is both more cost-effective (digitization has led to commoditization – which means you should not be paying a premium for your monitoring) and smarter – these channels don’t operate in silos themselves but rather influence and amplify one another’s content.

Consolidating your monitoring saves you money and helps you track how stories develop in this omnichannel environment.

2. Content overload management – filter the noise

The aforementioned big spike in sources means that it is very easy to become overloaded with content. If left unchecked, this can eat into more and more of the Communications team’s time and energy.

When choosing a monitoring solution, it is, therefore, vital to ask yourself what you consider to be relevant and important information. Do you need to see every last Tweet about your brand or are you only concerned what trade press thinks? Is every mention, no matter how big or small, of equal importance?

Today, with data analytics more sophisticated than ever, your monitoring provider should take the lead on defining how to condense 2,000 stories into the 20 that matter to you.

It is not your job to think up every “inclusion” and “exclusion” on the monitoring brief but theirs, so don’t accept the “it’s not in your brief” pushback when irrelevant coverage comes through.

3. Monitoring different audiences

Historically, it was the Communications team’s responsibility to split up and re-send different parts of the monitoring across the business, depending on their requirements. A not inconsiderable additional resource cost for an already stretched department.

Better content filtering now enables greater customization of monitoring at a department and even a user level. This is a great way of making monitoring work for the whole business and is something your monitoring provider should be offering as standard.

4. “Real-time” alerting

Real-time alerts have become a staple of Communications’ crisis tool kit, enabling the department to respond swiftly to any emerging issues before they escalate.

However, ‘real time’ has a very broad definition across monitoring providers with some ‘real-time’ services taking two hours to update! Make sure your provider is clear on what they mean when they say ‘real time’ as this can be the difference between an issue and a crisis.

5. Fixed vs variable pricing

Alongside missed clips, the single biggest gripe about monitoring has to be variable, per clip or per page pricing, still a dominant pricing model for many providers.

Under a variable pricing framework, the more coverage your company generates, the more you pay. This means that you receive a ‘double punishment’ should you be on the receiving end of negative coverage, while a successfully-orchestrated campaign will equally result in higher bills.

Fixed pricing enables you to free up your monitoring search terms to encompass a wider range of search terms while knowing that your expenditure is predictable.

Variable pricing only benefits your provider – insist on a fixed price when negotiating your contract.

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