September 29, 2022

Helping PR pros make smarter decisions

How to scale your media monitoring program based on the time you have to spend

How to scale your media monitoring program based on the time you have to spend

A few years ago when my husband and I were in London on vacation, we stopped by the British Museum. We only had a few hours, and I knew that given the breadth and depth of the museum’s collection, this would not be nearly enough time to see everything worthwhile. When entering, we were handed a pamphlet that listed suggestions on what to see based on how much time a visitor has to spend in the museum. The breakdowns were very helpful: if you have one hour, here are our most important items; if you have three hours, see these additional items; if you have the whole day, here’s a suggested path.

It was great to have the most important items of the collection set out that way—I mean who wants to leave and realize later that they’ve missed seeing the Rosetta Stone?

Riffing on the British Museum’s pamphlet, here are suggestions for tackling your daily media monitoring—depending on how much time you have.

If you only have 10 minutes:

If your time is sufficiently crunched on a daily basis that you cannot carve out any more than a few minutes to review coverage, your best bet is to set up a highly targeted email alert based on your most important or significant issues. This set up has the advantage of being delivered to you so that you can quickly see what has come in of relevance without the need to log in to a dashboard application.

If you only have 30 minutes:

Make sure you review the content that is in the account from major publications and news outlets, syndicated articles, and local or regional sources that are important to your company. Consider setting up a filter or saved search of the most important publications if you typically only have a limited amount of time, and review those results first.

If you have an hour:

Review the items mentioned above, and then take a look at the highest-producing keywords over the past 24 hours. Take a quick check to see why those were the highest producers in case there are any emerging issues you need to be aware of. Then, take a look at the breakdown of sources (blogs, TV, daily newspapers, Twitter, etc.) and see if anything jumps out at you, such as an atypically high number of Tweets, or a higher than normal percentage of TV mentions—and check that out to see what might be causing the irregular spike in coverage.

If you have two hours:

If you have two hours to do your media monitoring review, lucky you! This is ideal. Depending on what your typical volume is, this is a decent block of time to sift through the important coverage and still have time to layer on additional information—such as ratings, tagging, and flagging items for future reports. You can also evaluate keyword performance and take a look at smaller sources that may contain relevant mentions.

If the monitoring platform you are using supports newsletter creation, you could take advantage of that functionality while doing your intensive review. Depending on the setup, it could be as simple as dropping a tag or two on articles for relevant sections as you sort through your results. When you are done with the review, it takes only a few more steps to generate a newsletter or executive briefing document. In addition to creating a useful reporting document for colleagues, you are also building a reference of the most important coverage you’ve identified over the past week or month–depending on how long your platform retains the data.


How much time your standard monitoring will take depends a lot on volume. If you find yourself frequently swamped with results and little time to process, it might be worthwhile to force yourself to set aside time to review the account and make sure you don’t have keywords or searches that are bringing back too many false positives (items that match but aren’t relevant to your work). If you find that everything is working properly and you still have very high volume, try and carve out time each week to do a more thorough review. It will save you time in the long run, especially if you are measuring results and reporting on your monitoring efforts.

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About The Author

Jennifer Zingsheim Phillips is the Director of Marketing Communications for CARMA. She is also the founder of 4L Strategies, and has worked in communications and public affairs for more than 20 years. Her background includes work in politics, government, lobbying, public affairs PR, content creation, and digital and social communications and media analysis.

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