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What is media monitoring, and why do you need it?

What is media monitoring, and why do you need it?

Media monitoring is a tool to measure communications and marketing strategies, track target audiences, and glean the sentiment around your brand – and a great deal more. Here are five reasons why you need media monitoring as part of your communications strategy

What is media monitoring?

Every communications director should ask themselves: what is media monitoring, and what can it do for my business? In a hyper-connected world where new media content is published in a continual, unending flow, understanding who is saying what about your brand, to whom, and how they feel about it is both vital, and near impossible without a media monitoring service.

Media monitoring allows you to track mentions of your brand, products, and services across all media outlets, including traditional print and broadcast, online and social. This includes both text and imagery: the latter can have as much impact as the former. A comprehensive media monitoring tool can trawl for any content relevant to you, your company, industry, and competition.

In short, media monitoring gives you oversight of the full range of media coverage accrued by a business. Why is that important? Here are five reasons:

Media monitoring connects you to target audiences

When you’re listening to who is saying what about your company, some voices are more important than others. Media monitoring reveals whether primary stakeholders are hearing and reacting to reports about your business, and whether that news is positive or negative. Sentiment analysis discerns if individual pieces of content, as well as the overall attitude of reporting, are favourable or not.

Different stakeholder groups are accessible via different media channels. Social media monitoring will give you a grasp of what consumers and potential customers feel about the business. Shareholders will be more interested in reporting by the financial press. Broadcast media is likely to reach the wider community. All channels need to be monitored to understand how all its stakeholders feel about an organisation.

Media monitoring builds better marketing strategies

By giving you oversight of the response to public relations and marketing communications, media monitoring enables you to measure their effectiveness. When you are able to see in real time how your target audience, and potential customers, are reacting to your posts and press releases, it enables you to emphasise successful messaging, and also to amend and redirect those not hitting the mark.

Assessing the performance of marketing campaigns means understanding whether investment is garnering results. It empowers the savvy communications team to plan future campaigns with more insight into what will work with the target market. The effectiveness of language used, media outlets selected, number and timing of messages can be evolved by looking at what did and didn’t work before.

Media monitoring aids crisis avoidance and management

Tracking the news cycle surrounding your organisation can give you an important insight into impending crises – allowing you to avoid or at least mitigate the fallout. With real time media monitoring in place, the comms team can see whether the business or industry as a whole is heading for a PR crisis. A downwards trend in sentiment and increase in negative reporting should set alarm bells ringing and spark evasive action.

And if the crisis is unavoidable, media monitoring can also help companies to reduce, contain, and recover from it. Spike alerts and media digests will allow you to pinpoint where the crisis began, react quickly, and limit further exposure. Understanding where the negative reporting is concentrated and how it is unfolding is the basis of an effective crisis communications response strategy. Oversight of how competitors respond in an industry crisis can also be invaluable.

Media monitoring lets you track your competitors

Competitor analysis isn’t only useful in an emergency. Not only does media monitoring reveal what people are saying about your business, it can give you a competitive advantage to know what they have to say about the competition.

Tracking media mentions for the industry will help you to understand what other organisations are doing in terms of marketing, product, and service development, and staying ahead of their own competitors – including you. It can track what competitors’ clients are saying, giving you the edge in offering better solutions for their needs. With effective media monitoring, you will be able to pre-empt industry trends and become a market leader, and the go-to source of expertise.

Media monitoring supports your reputation

Brand perception and internal reality can often be miles apart, and without media monitoring, it’s hard for businesses to understand how they are perceived outside the walls of their HQ. Using tools including social listening, businesses can pick up on levels of brand awareness and the sentiment surrounding their products and services, which in turn feeds into their brand or company reputation.

When you know what your reputation looks like among the stakeholders who matter, it is easier to alter, defend or improve it. While there is no single elixir that can deliver a good reputation, media monitoring is an important ingredient in the ability to influence corporate reputation. Forewarned is forearmed after all.

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