Not surprisingly, I am often asked about the best solution for meeting someone's media monitoring and analysis needs. Of course, I am very biased in favor of CustomScoop, but I also recognize that some solutions may be better fits for certain individuals, organizations, and needs.
That's why I wrote a white paper on the subject. In it, I try to address some of the questions and dilemmas I most often see:
- Can I get by with a free service like Google News or Google Blogsearch? Sometimes, that answer is yes. The paper explains this in more detail, but the most basic assessment must be the volume of search terms and clips that result. The fewer things you are searching for and the fewer clips it returns on a daily basis, the more likely you are to be able to get away with free. For instance, most solo bloggers just doing ego searches are better off using a free service than paying a company like mine.
- If I need a professional service, how do I pick among all the monitoring services out there? You need to look very carefully at your needs and make sure that the service you select has the tools and information you need to be effective. At the same time, you want to make sure you aren't paying for too many bells and whistles that you won't be taking advantage of. Ultimately, it will all come down to your comfort level with the solution and the people behind it.
- Should I go it alone on analysis or use a service? Like the free vs. paid monitoring question, the issue of using DIY tools provided by your clipping service versus paying for specific analysis largely comes down to volume. Is your time better spent compiling reports or doing something else while you pay a vendor to analyze coverage? Of course, there are other considerations as well, including third party validation and resource efficiency.
- What about automated sentiment analysis? A number of companies provide the ability to "automatically" rate clips as positive, negative, or neutral based on computer analysis. This can be a great time saver — if you are willing to sacrifice a bit on accuracy.
- When is expert human analysis the right answer? If you want daily digests of just the key information and/or regular reports with careful, detailed analysis of trends, a professional analysis service may be your best bet. As good as comptuers are at organizing raw data (and even applying some sentiment scoring), there really is no substitute for people. That comes at a cost, so you will need to decide whether or not the media intelligence provided and the time savings offered justifies the expense.
The white paper, titled "Choosing the Right Media Monitoring and Analysis Solution," goes into much greater detail on these and other points to help you evaluate your options for effectively and efficiently tracking traditional and social media.