September 24, 2017

Helping PR pros make smarter decisions

Use media monitoring to get more out of conferences

Use media monitoring to get more out of conferences

If you use a media monitoring tool to track issues and generate measurement for clients or for your own company, you know how valuable it is for finding content that you need to watch for communications and public relations purposes. Sometimes, we get stuck in a rut and don’t spend time thinking about other ways we can use a monitoring tool, such as to develop media lists, write better newsletters, or use it for business development.

This is likely because we’re all busy and prefer a “set it and forget it” experience to setting up search terms. While this is understandable, it overlooks some of the value that a monitoring tool can provide by using it to track shorter-term efforts. Yet another way to use your monitoring tool for a short-term scenario is to get more mileage out of what you spend attending industry conferences.

Conferences are invaluable for providing a platform to exchange ideas, but often once the conference is over, we fly home, conference materials get stashed in a drawer, business cards get filed away, and before long everything we gained lies dormant.

You can use your monitoring tool to get more out of the conference—before, during, and after the event. Here’s how:

Before the conference, use monitoring to learn more about the speakers, their areas of expertise, and more

Once you’ve signed up for a conference and the speakers are announced, consider setting up some targeted monitoring searches using the speakers’ names, and the subject matter they will be discussing.

  • If they’ve spoken before on similar topics, you’ll be able to get a good sense of what they might touch on at the upcoming event.
  • If the event is large enough that you need to select from different presentations offered at the same time, monitoring might help you narrow down your selections to what truly applies to your area of expertise.
  • You can also use this monitoring to determine if you want to do some additional background research into other topics that you might not be familiar with—which could expose you to some new and interesting subjects in related fields.

During the conference, use monitoring to search and track social channels, especially conference hashtags, which can give you a broader understanding of how the conference is being received and what issues are being discussed

When a conference is underway, tracking social channels like Twitter can provide you with a whole new way to experience a conference.

  • Using a monitoring tool to track event hashtags will allow you to follow discussions and content in sessions that are underway.
  • By using monitoring during a multi-day conference, you’ll be able to review and see what has been covered by speakers shortly after it happens, allowing you to gain more from the conference from start to finish.
  • As conferences often happen during the work week, if you have to leave a session to address a matter back at the office, you’ll be able to catch up with what was covered while you were unavailable.

After the conference, combine any news or trade industry coverage with social media coverage to get a 360-degree view of everything that happened, what issues dominated coverage, and see how the conference was received by attendees and presenters alike

Using monitoring after the conference has ended is where you’ll likely see the most benefit.

  • You’ll be able to review coverage from several angles—user-generated social media content, trade content from industry sources, and any coverage from traditional media outlets.
  • By combining topics monitored before the conference with any post-conference coverage, you’ll be able to see which subjects were interesting to participants, which were covered by the media (trade or traditional), and see where there are similarities and differences, which can help in determining what issues are pitch-worthy.
  • By tracking conference topics and feedback from participants and trade organizations, you’ll be able to share more of the conference with others within your organization. There are almost always more people at a company that could benefit from an industry conference, but only limited dollars to spend on sending employees to the conference—using monitoring to gather and collect what happened into one report that can be shared with others means that the money spent on sending an employee to a conference is maximized. It might be too costly to send an entire team to a conference, but monitoring means that the team can still benefit by supplementing what attendees bring back.
  • If your organization is considering planning an industry conference, analyzing this coverage from participants and media can help to guide your decisions to help you hold a successful conference. Participants comment on everything from hotel amenities to food choices to conference topics: having all of this information on hand will provide a good road map to follow.

Getting the most out of your media monitoring tool means thinking about using it for situations that might benefit from gathering public information and analyzing it for a variety of purposes. Using monitoring to get more out of conferences means that more people within a company can benefit from money invested in attending conferences. It also can inform your own efforts to host events, and you’ll be able to see a clearer connection between what the industry covers at conferences, and what the media determines is news-worthy. All of this can help communications and PR efforts over the long term.

Monitoring tools can do so much more than simply track company mentions. Expanding the use of your monitoring platform makes good business sense—so be creative in looking for opportunities to use it to make work within the company more informed, more efficient, and better-prepared.

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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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