There is only thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about
Part of the value that comms pros can offer clients is better monitoring of earned media placements. But PR practitioners may miss the majority of these results due to their poor use of monitoring services and solutions. How can comms professionals prove they’ve been successful if they don’t know the actual results of their work?
Not knowing how a brand’s earned media performed, “is something that is frustrating to brands,” notes Jen Jones, Cision VP of product marketing. “We hear it constantly from our prospects, who often don’t know how to measure if their placements are generating the desired results. Having the right tools and processes in place to ensure campaigns are working is key, for both the PR pro and their clients.”
The right tools bring together monitoring and analytics to reveal the complete picture. “Monitoring and analytics are so intertwined,” explains Jones. “If you don’t know what is there, you can’t measure it. Monitoring is finding the right piece; analytics is how that data is sliced and diced so that it is measurable and digestible.”
An effective monitoring solution, aligned with best practices in database management, analytics, and ideally distribution, delivers a holistic view that provides valuable insights as to how the different channels are performing, and whether or not they are delivering the desired — and presumed — metrics.
One challenge is the growth in the number of media platforms. To gain a 360-degree view of how, or whether, earned media’s messaging is being picked up, it’s necessary to have all four major platforms — print, broadcast, social, and online— integrated into one dashboard.
“These four platforms don’t function in silos,” Jones emphasizes. “If someone writes an article that is published in a traditional print platform, chances are there is an online version that is shared on social media.”
While it’s common to have online and social media tools for measuring mentions, for print and broadcast platforms generating those metrics can be daunting. It’s impossible to scan through every existing newspaper, magazine, or online site to find mentions. Having that data on distribution allows you to see where your press releases are getting picked up, so you have an informed measure from the start.
“Cision Comms Cloud delivers a birds-eye view of what is happening, zooming in how and when you want to go deep into the metrics,” says Jones. “It works across all four platforms, presenting all the information in one place, so you can get dashboard and analytics monitoring mentions across all four.”
What’s driving interest?
A big piece of the monitoring pie is uncovering the drivers that are responsible for generating interest. “Our clients are able to understand how their messages are resonating with their target audiences,” explains Jones.
“One client was launching a new product, and wanted to position it in a fresh way against their higher-end competitors,” she recalls. “They had already implemented media pitching the product as a high-end product, using the word luxury as a key SEO. But using Cision’s monitoring program, they actually found that the words that were resonating with their target audience and the media were ‘fun’ and ‘exciting,’ not luxury. We were able to give them quick feedback before they went too far down the luxury road.”
Monitoring, therefore, doesn’t always prove that your key messages are working; it may, in fact, prove the opposite. In the case of Cision’s client, monitoring demonstrated that the client was initially missing the mark on what its lead message should be. But with metrics from Cision Comms Cloud — and the insights gleaned — the client was able to pivot and change the message to what reporters were writing about and consumers responding to.
Of course, the metrics also will demonstrate when your messaging is right on target, which is something you’ll want to know, Jones notes. A key plus of monitoring is that you can check the metrics at any point during the campaign, allowing action to be taken based on the results.
“As monitoring becomes more sophisticated and in real time, we can look at the four platforms and see the metrics right away,” says Jones. “You don’t have to wait till the next day.”
Or until the end of the campaign. With a program such as Cision Comms Cloud, PR pros have access to a continuous feedback loop throughout the campaign, delivering that real-time info on what competitors are doing, and what is engaging influencers and target audiences.
For a complete buyer’s guide detailing the various options for media monitoring solutions, download this reference eBook from Cision: The Ultimate Media Monitoring Buyer’s Guide.
Best practices for an effective monitoring process
Fine-turning the monitoring process to ensure best practices is a both an art and a science, says Jones. However, there are some key steps that you to take to ensure you are getting the most advantage.
Here are tips to getting the most from your monitoring solution:
- Know what to monitor for and which key words to monitor for insights.
- Know how to set up what you are measuring so you get the info back that you expect, while keeping yourself open to other ways of finding the info.
- Monitor searches for different categories. Start by looking at broader categories, and then hone in on specific campaign, audience, geographic, and message specific categories.
- Monitor what your competitors are doing, as picking up on what their message may resonate with your target audience. Step outside yourself to see what others are doing and learn from it.
- Don’t just monitor what key words are associated with your company, product, or service. Set up searches to see which key words are associated with your competitors, and see how they resonate with your target audience.
- Make sure you are getting the coverage you want for your product or service.
- Pay attention to anomalies. If for example, you have a product that is targeted for female millennials and instead are reaching Gen X men, that’s important to know.