– By Hanah Van Borek
Media Monitoring is the tracking of news (both traditional and social media) trends and is a tool used in PR that gives professionals an edge. Whether you are managing a client’s PR or you are the one managing it for yourself, media monitoring keeps you in the game and in business or anything competitive, it’s always important to have that edge.
Take for instance this year’s U.S. election campaign. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are no doubt toughing out quite the match as we get closer to election day. The polls indicate that they’re in it head-to-head. Those critical moments to reach voters are becoming few and far between. How do they get in the lead? Their team keeps them in the game by staying on top of polls, research and news trends. Whether you decide to use a monitoring service or set up your own Google alerts you too will benefit from the results and stay in the game as well.
1) It helps you take a temperature – This year’s presidential candidates know exactly how Americans sway on a whole range of topics. Whether the issue is healthcare, taxes, or the economy – both Romney and Obama are on top of opinions. This helps them know which issues to push and which ones to keep mum about. For your PR, it helps you understand where public opinion rests and choose opportunities to be a commentator carefully.
2) It gets the creative juices flowing – When the candidates sit down to write their compelling speeches, they look for current, popular examples and analogies that they know will grab people. It’s the same in PR, except the people to grab are journalists and instead of your speech, it’s your pitch. Knowing the buzz that’s going on around the ideas that matter to you or your client can help inspire new pitch ideas.
3) It helps you engage (particularly in the case of social media) – There’s no doubt that team Obama have taken the cake on this one. Obama’s social media experts are even cited for helping him win the first election. These guys know exactly what’s being talked about out on Twitter and Facebook and they know exactly how to leverage it – take the Romney Big Bird joke for example. They were all over that. You can do this as well by keeping track of trends with tools like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck. Who knows? Your story could even start trending itself.
4) It keeps you in check with your competitors – Perhaps the most critical of these occasions is the election debate. Massive preparation is done before these two come face to face. Both candidates study each other’s policies inside out. It’s the same thing with media monitoring. If you don’t know what your competitor is saying and doing, then it’s like wandering into an important debate cold.
5) It gives you relevancy when you pitch – Pitching to the American public is a hard job but it’s probably the most well calculated piece. It’s imperative that Romney and Obama know what matters most to the public, otherwise their ideas fall on deaf ears. Keep on top of the stories making headlines and your pitches will remain meaningful.