The following is an excerpt from The Media Monitoring Checklist that I wrote to provide insight into how to set up your media monitoring service, whether you use something free like Google Alerts or a professional solution like CustomScoop.
At the heart of any online media monitoring program lies search terms. At its most basic level, that may mean typing a keyword or phrase into a search engine like Google or Bing. But true media monitoring providers offer a much richer set of tools to help zero in on the stories, blog posts, and other content you need to see.
Start with your own organization & leaders
It is often best to think of monitoring search terms as concentric circles. In the middle, you have stories that mention your organization and key leadership. So be sure to include all relevant terms (including notable variations, even common misspellings) in your search criteria. Add in your CEO/President or other important executives and spokespeople.
Add in what your organization does
Related to direct mentions of your organization would be coverage of your products, campaigns or other ventures. You probably want to see just about all of that coverage, so add those in to your provider’s tool to stay on top of that content.
Track your competitors and critics
Of course, knowing what the media and public say about you and your organization is important, but it doesn’t occur in a vacuum. So be certain to add in names of key competitors or critics so that you can understand your own coverage in the context of what else is being said that impacts your marketplace or issues.
Stay on top of industry topics
The other key driver of the success of your own communications programs is what else is going on in your industry. Some of that comes from your competitive tracking, but it is also worthwhile to add in search terms related to major industry topics that impact the success of your own organization.
Know what key Individuals are saying
It’s also important to know what key individuals are saying that may impact your business. By adding in the names of selected journalists, commentators, and analysts, you can help develop strategies for targeting media outreach or for identifying topics that you need to inoculate against.
Use your media monitoring as a business intelligence tool
Your media monitoring platform can also prove to be a valuable tool for keeping key executives apprised of activities related to critical government leaders, business partners, board members, investors, major customers, donors, vendors, and more. By adding search criteria to track media mentions of these individuals and entities, you can help provide timely intelligence to others in your organization who will be appreciative of the heads-up.
You can even use media monitoring as a lead generation tool by identifying individuals, especially through social media, who may express an interest in topics related to what your organization does.
Take advantage of advanced search tools
With the wide range of topics that you will get value from tracking, it is important to restrict the results to just the most important stories. If you’re a Fortune 100 company with lots of media coverage, you probably can’t even read every story that mentions your own organization, let alone all of the other searches suggested here.
That’s where professional solutions really shine. Many offer the ability to restrict search criteria to certain groups of publications – or even to require a search term to appear more than once in a story to cause it to create a match. The more robust your search options, the better your odds are of creating a manageable workload.
Download The Media Monitoring Checklist to get more tips, tricks, and advice to help you get the most out of your monitoring solution.