Why Media Intelligence is Critical to Your PR Workflow
At a recent Institute for Public Relations event I attended, I noticed a common trend—PR professionals are constantly trying to stay on top of the ever-changing landscape of social media and how it affects the brands we interact with. We are also struggling to keep up with consumers’ demands for more information and transparency when it comes to company news and announcements.
PR involves anticipating and understanding media trends and consumer opinions in an effort to help increase brand awareness and growth within an industry. We spend a considerable amount of time creating content and countless hours combing through online news and digital media to keep track of everything that is being said about our companies and competitors. It is crucial to interpret these stories and audiences to ensure that the content we promote is relevant to the masses. It is equally important to understand the people behind these articles and posts. Who is talking? What is their opinion? Are they mentioning our competitors? How often are they posting about our industry? Do they have influence online?
Media monitoring and, more importantly, media intelligence are becoming a part of our everyday strategy more than ever before. From content distribution and audience targeting to market research and campaign success, where are we struggling and how can we make it easier?
Listening and Identifying
Many PR professionals start their day with the mundane task of screening newspapers and search engines for any mention of their brand, competitors, or industry so that they can competently brief their executives on coverage from the previous day. With a typical report turnaround time of 1-2 hours, this is quite tedious and doesn’t really allow you to focus on the more important things like campaign execution or pitching the media.
When you subscribe to a media monitoring solution, you can ultimately do this at the click of a button. Reports can be automatically delivered to your email and in most cases, an analyst can do the curation and build the report on your behalf. Not only is this more convenient, it’s more strategic. These reports will show you much more than just the daily coverage—they can show metrics around impact like sentiment and influence or reach and relevance to your brand.
Content Creation and Planning
This is probably the most overlooked part of our processes, and a huge contributor to the struggle to stay ahead of the “social curve” and consumer demand. To promote more meaningful messaging, we have to plan our campaigns more effectively. We must understand who our audience is and what matters most to them. We need to find out what the emerging trends are and how they relate to our brand.
It’s no longer enough just to log on to Twitter and Facebook to learn what our consumers are saying. When planning a campaign, a media monitoring tool will make it much easier to uncover this information across all social channels and communities globally. Now we can leverage existing content to boost our campaigns or events, and we can find out where the conversations are happening so we can more effectively target our press releases. We can shape relationships with influencers to promote our content while building awareness and trust with their followers. Utilizing social data in our campaigns enables us to communicate more effectively and more often with our stakeholders and consumers.
How did we do? Where were we picked up? How was it received? What did people say? Ominous questions from our VP or CEO that we all hear too often. They are not easy to answer and it seems that everyone has a different opinion on what metrics matter most in measuring success. KPIs differ for each organization but at the end of the day, they are used to make sense of any campaign.
We need to move beyond media monitoring to understand our entire media footprint and how our content effects the bottom line. With media intelligence, we can start to gain actionable insight into how our brand is performing online and against our competitors. By looking at metrics like sentiment, we can measure how our messaging was received by consumers and the media. Reach and impressions compare volumes of mentions before and after each campaign to show increases or decreases in brand awareness and share of voice. Whatever our KPIs may be, this type of intelligence can empower PR strategy to make more informed business decisions and eventually garner more wins with earned media.
It’s important to note that when you begin to implement new strategies, you also need to know what metrics you will be measured against. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach so experiment and work with others in your organization to determine what matters most. Don’t be afraid to try new things and most importantly, continue to research your audience and industry to ensure you keep up with the “social curve”.
*This post is part of our January newsletter, CONNECT