What is Media Monitoring? (And How to Do It for Your Clients)

Jun 05, 2023

PR is all about getting your clients into the media, but you need to make sure those features align with your strategy and keep your client in the best position possible. The only way to do that is with media monitoring! Effective media monitoring helps you analyze all of your clients’ features to understand how they’re faring with the media. Let’s take this step by step: what is media monitoring, why is monitoring the media important, and how can you guarantee you catch all your client’s mentions?

What Is Media Monitoring?

Media monitoring is exactly that: keeping an eye on the media and tracking what they say about your clients. You can also use media monitoring to track your niche as a whole, your client’s competitors, or other topics of interest (like new tech your client is considering using). 

Years ago, if you asked what is media monitoring, you’d be faced with piles of physical newspapers or magazines so you could cut out excerpts and paste them into a press book. But now, you need to keep track of digital media, like online publications, social media, blogs, podcasts, influencer posts, radio, and more. Thankfully, online software like Prowly can do this for you and save you tons of time. 

But you can’t just collect your client’s placements and move on. Truly effective media monitoring includes an analysis of the mention, too. Carefully read or listen to the feature to see not just what was said, but the feeling behind it. What was the general tone? Was it positive or negative, and were any specific criticisms offered? 

This is especially important for media mentions you didn’t secure, like customer social media posts, blog comments, or influencer mentions. As you analyze more and more features, you’ll get a better sense of what the consensus about your client is and can adjust your strategies accordingly. 

Why Is Media Monitoring Important for Your Agency? 

That was just What Is Media Monitoring 101. Now it’s time to dig into how media monitoring can transform your strategies and seriously improve the quality of your services. Here are three reasons why media monitoring is a crucial part of setting your clients up for success. 

#1: It Lets You Spot PR Problems Before They Turn Into Crises

A negative customer review here or there is normal (you should still address them, of course!) — but a huge slew of them at once? Something’s up. When this happens, you can use the power of media monitoring to dig into every mention and figure out exactly what’s going on. From there, you can build your recovery strategy right away. 

It’s about being proactive, not reactive. Close media monitoring gives you and your client a bit of buffer time to dig into the issue, carefully compose a response, and mitigate any damage this negativity could have on your client’s brand. Your insights can inform your strategies going forward, too. You’ll know the warning signs to look for should another mini-crisis pop up and will get a better sense of what your client’s audience wants to see in response. 

#2: You’ll Know If Your Strategies Are Effective

Your knowledge of what media monitoring is will come in clutch after a big campaign or a super-influential feature! As you track your client’s mentions, you’ll learn in real time how people are reacting and if your campaign has its intended effect. If one specific post is really working or you see a big response on a certain channel, you’ll know to focus on that the next time around. And on the flip side, you can see what’s not working for your client’s audience and avoid it in the future. 

Media monitoring helps you understand the ins and outs of your client’s audience: what they respond to, what doesn’t resonate with them, and how they interact with your client online and IRL. This goes double if you track your client’s competitors as well! There’s likely a major audience overlap there, and what works for their competitors’ audiences may also work for theirs. Effective media monitoring lets you hone in on the good, discard the not-so-good, and continuously increase each campaign’s impact. 

#3: It Can Lead You to New Media Contacts 

Before media monitoring software like Prowly, there was always a chance you missed some mentions, whether you weren’t looking in the right places or they weren’t placements you secured. But online software is changing the game on what media monitoring is, and it catches mentions on channels you may have overlooked and can find shout-outs from micro-influencers who aren’t even on your radar! 

The most important side effect of this? You’ll discover mentions from media players who aren’t already in your contacts database! It can lead you to editors who regularly cover your client’s competitors but haven’t featured your client yet. Or, you could find a blog or influencer who’s not a major fan of your client and slowly work to change that sentiment (which they’ll pass on to their readers, of course).

Related: How to Build the Most Effective Media Contact List for Your PR Agency

What Is Media Monitoring Like In Action? 

Putting media monitoring into use at your agency can sound intimidating, but it’s truly not! With the help of digital tools, you can ensure you’ll never miss a mention or media insight again. Let’s zoom in to understand what media monitoring is like in action. 

Use a Digital Tool 

Lots of online PR software has media monitoring tools as well, like Muck Rack, Meltwater, and Cision. The best choice for you will depend on your agency, but at Jeneration, we use Prowly for all things media monitoring. 

Digital tools take the hassle out of the entire process. This is especially helpful when you’re just learning what media monitoring is! They’ll catch mentions you missed, analyze each mention’s sentiment, demonstrate trends in your client’s media coverage, and even estimate your client’s total reach. 

Set Up an Alert 

Once you’re all set up inside your chosen media monitoring tools, your next step is to create an alert. You can set up an alert for your client’s brand name, the name of a specific product or service they offer, or a more generic term connected to their brand or product. 

Understanding how the media works is part of what media monitoring is, so you may want to do some keyword research before setting up these alerts. Or, you could read through your client’s past features to see if there are any keywords or phrases that come up time and time again. 

Let the Software Do Its Job! 

Now it’s time to sit back and let the software do its job! As soon as your alert is all set up, your chosen software will start monitoring the media for any mentions of that phrase. If you picked a more general term for your alert, you may have to filter out some features that are irrelevant to your client. 

Click through each mention that comes in to explore all the insights your software finds. You can then compile these insights into a report to share with your clients as you adjust your strategies. They’ll learn what media monitoring is in the process, too! 

Media monitoring is a key part of any PR strategy. When you take the time to learn what media monitoring is and how to use it effectively, you can uplevel your tactics, improve your client’s results, and extend their reach far beyond what was possible before!