December 8, 2016

Helping PR pros make smarter decisions

Convert a Mountain into a Molehill: Managing Hundreds of Daily News Results

Convert a Mountain into a Molehill: Managing Hundreds of Daily News Results

In an earlier post, I wrote about creating an effective executive daily briefing. One of the challenges that I mentioned was dealing with the need to review lots of content in a reasonable timeframe, which, when you’re operating on deadline, is critical. Having a monitoring tool that allows you to sift, sort, collapse, and prioritize quickly goes from being a “want” to a “need.”

Facing the challenge of managing hundreds of news clips can be daunting. For some PR practitioners, it’s a regular, daily challenge. For others, there are periods of prolonged increased coverage that need to be handled—like a merger announcement or a protracted crisis—that could mean days, weeks, or even months of irregularly high media volume.

Whatever the situation is, you need a plan to address the volume head-on. Here are some steps to follow and things to keep in mind:

First, know your media monitoring tool. Familiarize yourself with its functions—particularly the ability to sort the content in different ways. The ability to prioritize the review of content based on things like source name, relevance, or geographic designation will make your processing that much easier. If you have a specific keyword that is of prime importance—like maybe your CEO’s name, or the name of a flagship product—make sure there’s a way to quickly get at that content. In CustomScoop’s tool, you can access a page that shows exactly how many clips mention a specific keyword, click on that, and you can immediately begin reviewing that important material first.

Craft your keywords carefully. This almost goes without saying, but if you’re spending a lot of time sifting through irrelevant content, it’s probably time for you to revisit your keywords and see if there’s a better way to find what you are looking for in your clips. If you *have* to keep all of your keywords, make a list—physical or mental—of your “problem child” keywords and examine the content that comes in from them independently, when you have time to really pay attention and study it. You might find that there are patterns to the relevant content that you can use in your review process to quickly find the gold nuggets amongst the iron pyrite.

Have a game plan. Routines and plans are important when you are working with high volumes because you don’t want to miss something significant—but, you don’t want to waste time reviewing things that aren’t a priority. If you need to review all company mentions, but only need to see the top sources that mention what your competitors are up to, build that into your process.

Sort and skim whenever possible. The ability to group syndicated pieces can save a lot of time, as does the ability to sort by headline. If you have a specific category of publications that are a priority, see if your monitoring tool supports setting up a search or report that separates that content from the overall clip totals so you can review that first. For example, if your company has a nationally distributed product, you’ll want to see all mentions. But, you might also want to pay close attention to media in the states in which you have plants. So see if your system can set up a search that will separate out all of the mentions in those specific states—then, you can review that content first before reviewing the general coverage.

The most important thing you can do is have a good, solid understanding of your monitoring tool’s capabilities. Set up the processes, have a plan to attack the content, and pretty soon facing hundreds of clips will feel like no big deal.

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About The Author

Jennifer Zingsheim Phillips is the founder of 4L Strategies, and has worked in communications and public affairs for just over 20 years. Her background includes work in politics, government, lobbying, public affairs PR work, content creation, and digital and social communications and media analysis.

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