Is media monitoring still relevant in today’s media landscape?
This blog post is designed to be read as part of an interactive experience. Take the journey and enjoy the full experience here.
The media landscape is constantly changing and as a PR professional it can be hard to keep up with emerging media trends. Media monitoring has long been an essential tool in every PR toolbox, but how effective is it when it comes to reporting on the success of your media campaigns? Join me as we take a trip through the media landscape and the world of media monitoring to find out.
First stop, Media Monitoring Valley
The first stop in our journey is a valley known as media monitoring. You may already be familiar with media monitoring but let’s take a second to cut down the grass around us, wade through the mud and really understand what it is.
Debunking media monitoring
Taken right back to its core, media monitoring is simply a tool for collecting mentions of your brand in the media. Media monitoring providers will constantly watch the media for any mentions of the keywords you specify and report these back to you.
Boolean searches are required for media monitoring to function and simply tell the AI which keywords to look out for within certain parameters. Whilst some providers make it easy to set up keyword searches, more advanced boolean searches are often required to get accurate results.
Limitations of AI
Given that media monitoring relies on AI to gather and ‘interpret’ the media data it collects, it is not always accurate or relevant to what you are searching for. The way that AI interprets data and ‘analyses’ metrics such as sentiment is prone to misinterpretation due to the complexity of the human language and lack of external context. Whilst AI is constantly improving, there are some things that a human will always be needed for.
Let's map it out
As with most software, the effectiveness of media monitoring comes down to your own goals. Certain use cases will get much more value from monitoring than others, so let’s pull out a map and explore where media monitoring will be most effective (or not).
Goal: monitor and react or respond to conversations around your brand or industry.
The true power of media monitoring is seen in its ability to consolidate any mentions of your chosen keywords in one place so that you can react or respond accordingly. Think social posts or media articles where you could easily respond to customer concerns within the comments or even identify new sales opportunities.
Goal: better understand your brand’s web presence.
Some providers will give you the opportunity to not only look at new mentions, but also past mentions that it discovers. This is great for getting a complete overview of your brand’s presence in the media and understanding your current position.
As powerful as media monitoring might be, you will still find limitations that will have a greater impact on other use cases.
Goal: understand the success (or failure) factors in your media coverage.
Media monitoring can help to gather data around your media coverage, but at the end of the day it will always need to be analysed by a human to really understand key drivers of success or failure of your media campaign. Metrics such as sentiment and key message delivery rely on the context of a media item to give accurate results.
Goal: understand how your company or campaign is performing in the media.
Whether your company wants to be present in the media or not, benchmarking your current performance is a great way to set goals and identify new opportunities to enhance your media strategy. Effective benchmarking relies on more than just the basic metrics you see in media monitoring. This is where an analyst comes in to holistically explore your media coverage, competitors or even your industry as a whole.
Going beyond data - the future beyond PR Success Mountain
If media monitoring is simply the tool for collecting media data, then where do you go next and what does the future look like? Let’s grab our climbing gear and see what we can find at the top of this mountain.
Without context, numbers by themselves are often meaningless. Successful PR takes more than just raw numbers and requires human understanding to interpret data and give the numbers meaning.
As you might have guessed, AI programs are great for gathering data but will always be limited in their ability to analyse and interpret it. This is where a human expert steps in to analyse the data within the context of your media goals to provide valuable insights needed to drive your strategy further.
Consultative insights, the peak of our journey to PR success
We’ve reached the summit and we can now see the media landscape clearly. In the near distance we can see the next step — consultative insights. Simply put, consultative insights is the step beyond data collection to understand the meaning and impact of media coverage in the context of a company’s goals.
Consultative insights utilises media monitoring among other data collection tools to get only the most relevant media results before a team of experts analyses each item individually to deliver crucial insights and meaningful reports.
Is media monitoring still relevant in today’s media landscape? To some extent, yes. For a long time media monitoring was one of the only solutions to capture brand mentions in the media but with the introduction of services such as consultative insights, a PR professional is no longer required to manage or even rely on a media monitoring provider.
Your own company goals are a great indicator of which software or services you should rely on. Take a step back and have a good look at what you need and why you need it. You may find that some things can be skipped altogether.
Once you’ve made your decision and found the perfect solution to match your goals, it’s time to strap on your backpack and continue with your PR journey.