Decades ago, when you wanted to monitor the media for coverage, you would manually flip through newspapers and magazines or watch the news on television and listen to the radio for any mention of your brand. It was a painstakingly tedious process that would have resulted in missed media mentions.

Today, with digitised content and vast improvements in technology, media monitoring has evolved into a more sophisticated, seamless and much easier process. Now’s the time to take your media monitoring process to the next level. 

Table of Contents

Discover what media monitoring entails and how you can put into place an effective and strong process for your company. Here are some points we will cover:


So, what exactly is media monitoring?

Media monitoring focuses on tracking mentions in the media around a particular topic, brand name, product, industry etc. but the process today is a lot more refined. Through machine learning, various algorithms and powerful analysis, media monitoring is the continuous process of listening to who is saying what about your brand, competitors or the industry, as well as topics that are important to your business. Through this sophisticated process of listening, you can then manage all mentions and analyse them effortlessly on one platform.

Media monitoring as part and parcel of PR strategy

For any PR and Communications professional in this digital age, it’s imperative to be on top of everything pertaining to your brand, product, competitors and industry. The last thing you want is your CEO or other important internal stakeholder highlighting what you’ve missed. Especially if it’s an important competitor launch that could potentially disrupt the business.

1. Understand your audience on different platforms

By monitoring your market, you’ll gain greater insight to the people who’re talking about your brand, especially on social media. While on social media, it’s also best to consider monitoring different social platforms since you can’t be certain where an important piece of information might pop up. Then, with insight from these various conversations, you can better understand how to communicate to your target audience, including the language used to discuss topics or products important to your brand.

Conversations surrounding Qantas on Facebook (2-9 April 2019)

For instance, through Meltwater’s Social Listening tool, we can see from the word cloud above that conversations surrounding Qantas on Facebook appear to be rather business and service oriented. As a PR professional looking at this, you might think the conversations are typical of the business.

However, if you were to monitor conversations surrounding Qantas on Twitter, you would find significantly greater coverage on how Fraser Anning was booted from the Qantas VIP Chairman’s Lounge. By noting these trending topics in various social conversations, you would be able to better engage with your audience and react in a smarter and more informed manner.

 Conversations surrounding Qantas on Twitter (2-9 April 2019)

2. Demonstrate the ROI of earned media

It’s not enough to simply launch a campaign and rest on your laurels for results to stream in. To ensure the campaign’s overall success, having the right media monitoring solution will enable you to track mentions, engagement and competitor reactions all on one platform.

Through the Meltwater Media Monitoring platform, you can utilise the Google Analytics widget to track web and referral sessions and note the correlation between changes in media exposure and web traffic. This tool will help PR professionals better illustrate the success of their campaign and track any trends that may require their attention. For instance, a downward trend in both social media exposure and web traffic would highlight a need to increase social media marketing.

Beyond evaluating an ongoing campaign, you can also utilise media monitoring to conduct some preliminary market research for an upcoming launch. To do this, you can think of similar products or competitor initiatives and set up searches to identify what the audience sentiment was.

3. Manage brand reputation

As part of your reputation management activity, you’ll need to understand who’s saying what, why they’re saying it and where they’re airing those views. The reputation of a business is essential to its survival. The trust and confidence of your customers can have a direct and profound effect on your company’s bottom line.

Media monitoring is one way to identify how people perceive your brand and whether it is consistent with what you’re trying to establish. You can then address any gaps or misconceptions and take appropriate actions to rectify them.

It’s also important to understand any conversations on various social media platforms, where most active conversations take place with incredible speed. Through effective media monitoring, you can look out for positive or negative discussions and engage with your audience in real-time. 

4. Manage issues and crises

Considering the speed at which an issue can escalate into a crisis on social media, this is likely the first channel where negative sentiments will pop up and where journalists and online influencers will look to for information. With a strong social media monitoring solution and specific conversation alerts set up, you can avoid getting caught off guard and instead prep the relevant teams in advance on protocols and actions to take.

5. Identify journalists and/or influencers for outreach

Media monitoring is an effective way to discover key journalists or influencers and understand the type of stories they cover. With that you can tailor your PR pitches to reach out to them better. Additionally, you can also look out for journalists and influencers who are naturally talking about your brand or product and propose to work with them on an upcoming campaign.  

Strategic Benefits of Media Monitoring

  • Understanding your brand’s audience
  • Quantifying the value of earned media
  • Managing brand reputation
  • Managing potential crisis situations
  • Identifying journalists or influencers


Monitoring a host of insightful data  

Whether it’s data from social channels, digital publications or print and broadcast, the type of data monitored can be divided into two types – quantitative and qualitative data:

1. Quantitative Data

Divided into two forms, quantitative data can either be descriptive or actionable data. Descriptive data provides a key figure, such as the number of impressions, clicks or reach. On the other hand, actionable data goes deeper and answers questions like ‘what type of content received the most engagement?’ or ‘What time do I receive the most impressions?’ Some data that you can keep track of are number of mentions, scope of these mentions as well as the number of engagements received.

A Media Exposure chart showcasing how media coverage for a brand, product, event or topic is trending over time

Meltwater’s Social Echo feature is one way to determine the spread of an article on social platforms. With this feature, you can easily track the total number of posts, reactions, and comments related to the article on Facebook, as well as the number of times the article has been tweeted or retweeted on Twitter.

As seen in the image above, for news surrounding the latest Adidas Yeezy sneaker, the numbers are higher for Facebook which suggests that this publication has a greater audience engagement on that platform as opposed to Twitter. In this case, if you want to further bank on their engagement, it might be better to work with this publication for Facebook campaigns as opposed to Twitter outreach.

Features like these can help drive data-driven PR strategy and integrate with social strategy to leverage or create content that delivers the best audience engagement and potential virality.

2. Qualitative Data

Qualitative data is information that helps you understand the meaning behind the numbers. As part of media monitoring, there are two main types of qualitative data available, namely sentiment analysis and trend analysis.

Sentiment Analysis
This form of analysis allows the software to decipher if a particular mention is positive, neutral or negative. It does this by analysing keywords, phrases or names within the piece of information to form a judgement. Such an analysis is useful for brands to understand consumer perception and how you can either continue to build the positive sentiments or quash negative sentiments if they start growing.

Sentiment widget on Meltwater’s Media Monitoring tool

Trend Analysis
Realistically, it’s impossible to analyse every single mention at a time where information is shared so widely and in large numbers. With a media monitoring tool, it’s possible to parse correlations between conversations and extract what are some of the more popular themes being discussed. With a media monitoring tool, this information would then be displayed in the form of an easy-to-read word cloud.

Word Cloud widget on Meltwater’s Media Monitoring tool

Demonstrating ROI of your PR strategy to your CEO

“How do I show my PR strategy contributes to business strategy?”

To date, that’s a common question most PR professionals struggle with answering. While traditional metrics like volume of coverage, potential reach and earned engagement measures the effects of your strategy, they do little to prove value to the company’s bottom line.

We know it’s important to align your PR strategy with the overall business strategy and use specific metrics to show that your results meet your communications and business objectives.

Through effective media monitoring, these metrics can be easily tracked, measured and analysed. Take for example, sentiment. Sentiment analysis helps with identifying patterns in consumer behaviour. If a KPI is to measure the impact of campaign on your target audience, you can use sentiment analysis pre- and post-campaign to show how sentiment may have changed.

A universal language for any CEO or C-level executive is data. You can demonstrate ROI via valuable insights, trends and data. Media monitoring provides a greater understanding of your target audience and how conversations are being shaped during your campaigns and in turn provides you with insights to share with your CEO or C-level executive.

How to get started with media monitoring?

So you’ve decided that you need to step up your media monitoring game but how do you overhaul your current process? Let’s start from the beginning:

Understand your goals for media monitoring
Is it to increase the Share of Voice? Or to gain more market intelligence? Perhaps you want to identify opportunities to work with earned media? Whichever the case, it’s crucial you identify specific goals for media monitoring before setting forth with a plan.

Determine the channels to monitor and metrics to track
Depending on the goals you’ve set, now’s the time to decide which social networks and media channels you need to monitor. Beyond that, determine what metrics are important to you and your stakeholders. Is it audience reach, overall sentiment, engagement?

Decide on a tool
Now that you have a goal in mind and a brief idea on types of media channels to monitor, it’s time to discover which tool would address your needs best. When evaluating a tool, it’s crucial to consider the scope of coverage (how many channels does it monitor and is it wide enough in terms of countries and languages), the functionality of the tool (how user-friendly it is, how many search terms can you input, how accurate are the results), and if there’s support provided when you need it.

There are plenty of tools out there but if your focus is to have a holistic, 360-degree overview on what’s being said about your brand, Meltwater’s Media Monitoring tool is capable of delivering just that.

Besides the capability of sifting through millions of online articles, social media posts and print content, results will be displayed in easy-to-understand dashboards and graphs. These dashboards can then be translated over to customisable reports to present to top level management.

A dashboard of media monitoring widgets on Meltwater’s Media Monitoring tool

Set up specific alerts

With a tool implemented, kickstart your media monitoring process by setting up alerts so you never miss major developments in the industry or potential crises. Some alerts to set up include crisis alerts specific to your brand, your brand name with a negative keyword or a competitor brand in relation to yours.

Analyse your data

Obtaining data is not particularly helpful until you analyse it. Whether it’s trending themes, sentiment, share of voice or media exposure, there’s plenty that you can analyse and compare with competitors to get actionable insights.

Ultimately, it should not be whether or not you do media monitoring for your brand but how deep you delve into it. With a robust process in place, you can look forward to obtaining better results with less time and less hassle.