Once you have a solid media monitoring program in place, it’s not uncommon for it to become a “set it and forget it” part of your routine. This would be a mistake, for there are so many ways in which a public relations agency can maximize media monitoring, both for clients and for internal uses.
Getting the most out of a media monitoring program means looking to it for uses beyond the immediate use of client or campaign monitoring. Here are some ways in which an agency can do this:
You can use monitoring efforts to scout for new business. When agencies think of “new business” typically that means bringing in new clients. If you’re already monitoring for a client in a specific business sector, you’ll likely be reviewing content that is either about or would affect other companies in the same industry. This could lead you to potential new clients facing the same challenges, and you can pitch from a position of knowledge and understanding of the industry sector.
Remember that new business doesn’t always have to mean new clients—it can also come from existing clients facing new challenges. This happens often in the Public Affairs sector of PR, as legislative creativity seems to be an ever-flowing stream. Use your content monitoring to identify areas of interest that can or do have an impact on your clients, and you could be well on your way to expanding an existing client relationship when you show them how you can help them address new issues.
Media monitoring efforts can also help your team build relationships with journalists and other influencers. By paying attention to bylines that frequently appear in coverage, you can develop a strong understanding of what a specific journalist or influencer cares about, how they cover a story, and you’ll get a sense of the style of coverage they tend towards. If this is made an ongoing process, it can save a lot of time when you go to pitch a story—and make your pitches more likely to resonate with journalists. The same holds true for influencers—use your media monitoring efforts to learn more about key influencers and you’ll be better positioned to approach them when working with your clients on a campaign.
The most important part of maximizing your media monitoring efforts is to think outside your “normal” uses for media monitoring. If you’re just using monitoring to track your efforts on behalf of your clients, that’s only part of the picture. You should consider tracking the efforts of competitors—either your clients’ or your own. Or, try using monitoring to watch for emerging trends, either in the PR industry or that of your clients. You can also monitor to track stories that are emerging that might make for a good springboard for a pitch (this has been called “newsjacking,” and we’ll be examining the promises and pitfalls of this particular tactic in detail in an upcoming post).
Maximizing your media monitoring will allow you to get the most out of your efforts. The beauty of the ideas outlined above is that most won’t take a huge amount of time to set up, or conduct on a regular basis—and the rewards for a small amount of effort can be significant.