The calendar pages keep turning, and we’ve arrived at the last quarter of the year. I always find that it feels like time speeds up a bit at this point: first it is Halloween, then Thanksgiving, and suddenly we’re watching the ball drop in Times Square wondering what next year will bring.
The last few months of 2016 are the perfect time to review your monitoring tool and results, to set up for next year. Doing this now means better data and better results for you starting on January 1, and refining keywords could also help save some time every day when you are monitoring.
First, set aside some time to do an audit of this year’s results. Take a look at how keywords performed, and how useful they were over the course of the last few quarters. If your account allows for tagging items, see how many items were tagged, and what the most-used tags were. If content was rated (sentiment analysis), take a look at those results: which keywords produced the most positive, negative, or neutral results? Which keywords might have over-produced, providing you with more content than was used?
Once you’ve reviewed active keywords, review the less-active ones too. Sometimes no activity in very specific keywords is a good thing—especially if you’ve set them up to alert to word combinations that would indicate a crisis. Other times, it means that they might no longer be relevant to your monitoring efforts, or they just might need to be adjusted.
Review which sources produced the most useful content (either frequently tagged, rated positive, etc.). I find it’s helpful to generate a spreadsheet of this content, including the publication name, the author byline, date, and title of the piece. This is a quick way to identify if your media outreach efforts need updating, either adding the names of new journalists or new publications you haven’t targeted in the past.
Test and Revise
After you’ve completed your audit, you’ll know if you need to revise or tweak existing keywords, or add new ones. Don’t revise existing ones or delete until the end of the year if you are planning on an end-of-year report! Your data will be a mess. If the system allows for it, test new keywords from within the tool and see what the results look like. If they are performing well, you can either: make note of the revised terms and add them after your year-end report is completed, or, add them and “quarantine” them in a way that allows you to exclude those results from your report.
Planning and Executing
Determine when you’ll be adding your new keywords or search phrases into your monitoring tool, and then mark your 2017 calendar with quarterly review dates, planned reporting periods, or other important items. Once you’ve done all of this, your monitoring will be set for the upcoming year and you won’t be scrambling to complete all of these tasks after year-end reporting.