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Media Intelligence: Definition and Use Cases

Hannah Williams

Jul 28, 2023

People are talking about your brand. With the proliferation of social media, blogs, news outlets, podcasts, and other media channels, it’s getting harder for brands to keep up with all the places that mention them. That’s where media intelligence proves valuable.

Media intelligence, also known as media monitoring or media analysis, is very versatile. It helps companies uncover new opportunities for marketingPR, sales, and comms and is especially useful for larger global enterprises.

By actively tracking your media coverage, you can stay on top of what people are saying about your company, products, services, competitors, or the industry at large. And when you’re able to manage your media coverage, you can also measure its ROI.

Let’s explore the role of media intelligence and how to go about using it in your marketingPR, sales, and comms strategy.

Table of Contents

Media intelligence

What Is Media Intelligence?

Media intelligence is a powerful tool that helps businesses learn more about their customers, competitors, industry, and even their own brand via the media.

Companies can use media intelligence to detect trends, buying patterns, and consumer preferences; identify influencers; discover potential crises; and analyze the success of their campaigns.

  • Media monitoring. Gone are the days of manually clipping stories from the newspaper. Today, technology can monitor multiple sources of traditional media, including television, radio, news, and more.
  • Social listening. Similar to media monitoring, social listening leverages technologies to track mentions and conversations across social media networks. Brands can track mentions of their name as well as competitors, products, services, hashtags, or other key terms.
  • Data analysis. Transforming the data these technologies collect is really what makes a media intelligence strategy tick. Data tools turn pieces of information into actionable insights and offer greater context into what the information means.

By tracking media mentions and coverage across multiple channels, brands gain a better understanding of their place in the market. They can learn how customers talk, feel, and think about their company. Most importantly, they can learn what their target audience responds to so they can craft more effective messages and campaigns.

Why Use Media Intelligence?

Media intelligence offers a variety of benefits for companies of all industries and sizes.  Let’s look at a few practical uses.

Remove friction from the customer journey

A great media intelligence platform can show you pain points in the customer journey that prevent them from buying. In general, people are more open to sharing their true thoughts online than they are in person.

Monitoring their feedback in online reviews, social data, and other channels can give you on-demand insight into their experiences, allowing you to make certain changes and tweaks to the sales funnel that translate into more sales.

Get ahead of a PR crisis

We’re living in an era where a brand’s reputation can be destroyed at the speed of a tweet. This might be a broad-level trend, such as sentiments about a particular industry, or it could be related specifically to your brand, product, service, or political candidate.

When a crisis starts trending, media intelligence can sound the alert so you can take swift action.

Measure the impact of a campaign

Through media intelligence, businesses can track media mentions in real-time and measure the impact of each campaign.

Let’s say you launch a new product and add an announcement on your website’s press page. It attracts the attention of 10 major news outlets, which share the press release on their own website and social networks. It also earns attention from a few niche bloggers who then post about it on social media and feature the product on their own blogs. This content is then shared by other content creators and distributors, helping you to gain even more exposure.

All of these mentions, links, and other content can be collected by your media intelligence solutions, allowing you to see the farthest-reaching impact of your campaign.

Improve your brand’s reputation

Media intelligence provides invaluable insights into a company's reputation. By learning how your target audience thinks and feels about your company at all times, you can see when your reputation is slipping and respond accordingly.

Major Advantages of a Global Media Intelligence Solution

Having a by your side, gives you comprehensive coverage, allowing you to keep tabs on your brand no matter who’s talking about it.

It’s even better when you have a single source of truth to rely on. These are just a few of the major advantages to having one global media intelligence partner:

  • You can compare apples to apples when it comes to reporting because data collection is unified.
  • Unified data and reporting make it easy for you to strategize from one single source of truth.
  • It tends to be cheaper, as you can benefit from economies of scale.

Tip: Read our Sales Intelligence Guide to understand how sales intelligence uses media intelligence.

What to Ask Yourself Before Researching Media Intelligence Software

Between social listening tools, social media monitoring tools, media monitoring tools, and other data-driven technologies, there’s more than one way to fuel your media intelligence strategy.

Consider the following questions when considering which media intelligence solution is right for you. 

What to ask yourself when looking into media intelligence software solutions. Image showing blue question mark on bright pink backgound

Still on the fence? See why companies around the world choose Meltwater over other leading companies: compare top media monitoring software.

1. Do you have a complex problem you’re trying to solve that may require a custom-built media intelligence solution?

Global organizations need global solutions. For companies dealing with worldwide teams and leadership suites, off-the-shelf tools just won’t cut it for solving your needs at scale. They can tailor solutions based on your specific KPIs and global or local requirements.

2. Are you concerned about a lack of a single source of truth in your reporting efforts?

Having your media intelligence coming from one centralized vendor, you can trust that your teams are using the same data, KPIs, and reporting systems.

This keeps measurement consistent and reduces siloed working, meaning you can benchmark regional teams against each other and against your global and local competitors from a single source of truth.

It also lowers the chance of duplicating work, while helping you to truly see where your budget is best spent.

3. Is source scope important to you?

If you need media intelligence with a wide content scope, then opting for a global media intelligence vendor is key. Global partners tend to cater to both local and global source needs, so you’ll be covered on both fronts.

Looking into the third-party relationships that various media intelligence software have is also important. , you’re able to benefit from our partnerships with leading news and social companies. We hold partnerships with a network of industry leaders so you can access more comprehensive coverage and insights.

4 Ways to Use Media Intelligence Software

Want to see media intelligence in action? Here are four key ways media intelligence can help you improve your comms, marketing, and PR strategies on a global scale.

Strategize better by using a media intelligence solution, close up of a chess board

1. Media intelligence for competitive analysis

One way we can use media monitoring is by benchmarking against our competitors and conducting competitor analysis. As well as understanding the tonality, trending themes, and media mention spikes around our own brand, we should be looking outside of our brand, too.

Looking at developing trends in your industry and comparing your performance to competitors helps to identify potential threats and opportunities. Has a competitor had a recent brand crisis? Insights gleaned through media intelligence help to provide ways to ensure the same doesn’t happen to you.

Media intelligence is also useful for targeting your comms to win over new business. For example, earlier in 2017, United Airlines staff dragged a customer off their plane. This caused a storm on social media. Other airlines were quick to react by promoting how friendly their own airlines were and highlighting policies around not dragging people off planes. We can find ways to respond to competitor slips by targeting our marketing communications at those affected.

Metrics to use when benchmarking your brand against competitors:

  • Share of voiceIn what percentage of the conversation are you mentioned in comparison to competitors?
  • Sentiment. How positively or negatively are you discussed compared to your competitors?
  • Media exposure. How has media exposure around each brand increased or decreased over time?
  • Trending themes. What are the most frequently occurring keywords associated with each brand?
  • Negative trending themes. What are the most common complaints that your competitors are receiving?

Tip: Competitor analysis tools help you collect the right data and find insights.

Screenshot of the Meltwater Media Intelligence platform

2. Media intelligence for lead generation

It’s easy to find potential business opportunities with media intelligence. Look for the communities who are discussing the type of product or service you offer.

Meltwater’s boolean search functionality allows users to create very specific searches. For example, we could search for several different combinations of "Can anyone recommend a plumber." We can then analyze the online conversations around this query and reach out accordingly to promote our services.

Another method of media monitoring for leadgen is by looking for people who are discussing competitors. Those asking for recommendations or discussing your competitors are the best people to target — you already know they have a need you can fill. 

Alternatively, you can use media monitoring to research potential customers. H+K strategies use Meltwater to understand more about the clients they’re pitching to:

I’ll look at their online media coverage over a 6-12 month period and analyze what media they’ve been featured in, the tone of conversations, whether they’ve had any big spikes around launches or crises and then do the same around their key competitors.” – Roxana Tintea, Planning & Insights Manager at Hill + Knowlton Strategies.

This helps them to personalize their pitch, as well as ensure they know as much about their future clients as possible.

3. Media intelligence for customer experience

Improve the customer experience with media intelligence. Woman buying something from the cashier at a plant store.

Customer experience is not always about bringing on new business. Companies need to also ensure they’re doing everything they can to retain the customers they already have.

Meltwater’s Real-time Alerting tool uses artificial intelligence to detect anomalies across different sectors such as social media, advertising spend, and search engine marketing. The anomalies can alert you to important changes outside of your company.

A football stadium, for example, can track the social coverage within the geo-location of the match — even if the fans fail to mention the stadium or club name. The fans just need to be located within the geo-fenced area set. If a number of people within the geo-location complain that the line is too long for the hotdog stand, you will receive an alert. This feature means you can quickly resolve customer complaints before more people are affected by it and it ripples out into a PR crisis, resulting in a deluge of negative stories surrounding your brand.

We can also use our social media monitoring suite to quickly react to online discussions. Using advanced media monitoring solutions like Meltwater means you don’t have to rely on users ‘@ mentioning’ you — they often won’t — and you could end up missing a question or complaint.

4. Media intelligence for PR analysis

Many users of media monitoring tools only apply them at the most basic level — to discover PR hits. This is great; however, we can also look at PR hits in more detail.

Meltwater’s Google Analytics integration allows users to analyze the effect particular PR hits have had on website traffic. The widget displays the sessions and referred sessions to a selected website against the media exposure for a Meltwater news or social search.

Exploring referral traffic is handy for those wanting to understand which outlets (such as press releases, blog posts, particular landing pages, or social channels) are driving the most traffic from earned coverage. You can then use the data to tweak your content strategy. For example, you may decide to produce additional content on the topic that’s resulted in the most website hits. You can also target future content to the publications that are influencing the most website traffic. 

Lastly, you can analyze trending themes, sentiment, social shares, and social media data to get the full picture of how people have responded to a particular piece of content.

Take a look at our free tool, Meltwater Impact to understand various important metrics.

PR metrics to use:

  • Sentiment. Understand how the story has been received in editorial and on social
  • Media Exposure. Understand the impact of the coverage based on volume pick up
  • Google Analytics. Understand the impact of PR based on website traffic
  • Trending themes. Understand how the majority of people are reacting to the story

Creating a Single Source of Media Intelligence with Meltwater

If you have a number of media intelligence suppliers across geographic locations, moving forward as a company can be challenging. Having a number of vendors involved means different methods, different KPIs, and different cost structures. This lack of consistency can cause an array of problems, such as skewing reporting numbers and inflating costs.

This is why having a single media intelligence solution is crucial for global brands who want to get ahead. Meltwater provides an end-to-end media intelligence solution that combines social listening, media monitoring, and data analysis. Gain a single source of truth across more channels than any other platform, ensuring you never miss an opportunity to capitalize on your paid and earned media coverage.

Curious how Meltwater Media Intelligence solutions can help your team achieve success? Fill out the form to get a free 15-minute product demo.