September 30, 2016

Helping PR pros make smarter decisions

Using Media Monitoring for Business Development

Using Media Monitoring for Business Development

Getting the most out of your media monitoring means looking at it as a tool to help you out for a broad range of business activities—from client work to internal uses. One of the best ways to use a media monitoring tool for internal activities is to mine the content brought in for business development activities.

First, it’s probably important to clarify what business development means in the context of this post. For the purposes of this piece, business development means any of the following: the development of business relationships, identifying possible new sales leads, and expanding existing opportunities with current clients—in other words, growing your business.

Identifying opportunities with existing clients

Often when people think of business development, they are thinking about bringing in leads that will lead to new clients. However, some of the best new leads can come from existing clients, because the relationship is already established and you already know many of the client’s business objectives.

  • Use media monitoring to identify areas where you could help your client in different practice groups or different areas of their business. If you’re already monitoring for them, this should be an easy lift. When reviewing content, pay attention to other areas of the business that might be touched on in an article.
  • Think ahead to a possible next phase. When reviewing content for a client campaign or program, be on the lookout for content that may inform a “next phase.” An example of this is if you are doing work on a pilot program, what issues and obstacles might arise for a larger rollout? Flag these ideas for use in a pitch to retain your services for the next stage of the project, whatever that might entail. This thought process applies to anything from a new product to public affairs—be on the lookout for what’s next.

Identifying new leads

For new leads, expand search terms to include related industries or markets.

  • If your PR work is specialized to the engineering industry, expand your terms to include construction work. Since there is considerable overlap, you will likely be able to identify new opportunities within your field of expertise.
  • Watch for crises using search terms. Firms going through a crisis or on the cusp of a crisis may not have sufficient internal capacity to manage a crisis effectively, so they may be searching for PR counsel.

Building on existing relationships

“Business development” too often gets viewed from its most narrow definition, which is some form of filling the sales funnel. But deepening existing relationships often leads to new business, so this more nuanced form of “biz-dev” should be considered too. You can use monitoring to develop existing relationships by doing the following:

  • Monitor for changes in clients’ businesses beyond your current work – PR pros sometimes forget they are coming from an interesting perspective: you know and understand a client’s issues, but you are separated enough from them to maintain an outsider’s perspective. This can allow you to see potential problems or opportunities that they might miss.
  • Pay attention to industry developments that could have an impact on a client – Due to my background, my natural default in this area is paying attention to state or federal legislative issues or administrative rule-making that could affect a client.

There are a lot of ways to look at the work of business development, and just as many ways to task your monitoring efforts to help out with it. Be creative and think of your media monitoring as a partner in growing your business.

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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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