Max is a result oriented SaaS sales and business development professional, with a blend of marketing, customer development, and leadership skills.
We have the wonderful opportunity to work with many PR professionals and agency teams to get insight into their brand strategies and tactics. For the most part, our clients and prospects are doing a great job of handling their important public relations responsibilities. However, one area where we do see a lot of mistakes is in brand monitoring. We thought we’d share a few so you can learn from others. (We won’t name names, of course.)
Mistake #1 – Believing Any Press is Good Press
We understand why it is tempting to simply add up the mentions of your brand and declare a good week for PR. But, it just isn’t that easy. Without understanding the sentiment behind each mention, you can’t really decide if it should go on the plus or minus side of the ledger. Tell SeaWorld that any press is good press, and I suspect they’d disagree as their stock has dropped 30% largely due to bad press related to their business and animal care practices.
Mistake #2 – Ignoring Reach
In a related error, PR pros who simply count mentions ignore the importance of reach. Mentions are only as powerful as their audience. It is important to consider not only the number of people potentially reached by each earned, owned or paid media, but also the makeup of those audiences. Are they people who are likely consumers of your brand? Are they in the geography you serve? The bottom line is that it is really important to look at the math behind the mention.
Mistake #3 – Using Advertising Value Equivalency
We get it. Measuring the impact of PR is tricky business. That’s probably why someone came up with the Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE) metric. It works like this. You count the column inches of earned media, calculate what it would have cost had you purchased that space as advertising, and presto, you know what your PR is worth. Not so fast. First, see mistake #1. Next, keep in mind that earned media is more trusted by readers than advertising, so this approach might actually devalue your efforts. Also, one mention in a story does not an advertisement make. Counting all the space may overvalue your PR. There’s just nothing good that can come of AVE.
Mistake #4 – Navel Gazing
Yes, you are doing brand monitoring, but that doesn’t mean all you need to monitor is your brand. It is also important to understanding what’s going on with the industry, your competitors and your customers. Tracking these will give you insight into what is important to your prospects and how your can best position your brand to succeed.
Mistake #5 – Ignoring What Isn’t There
If you’ve studied design at all, you know that the space between things is as important as the things themselves. As you practice brand monitoring, keep this in mind and look for related ideas and issues that aren’t being discussed. Take the opportunity to start the conversations that aren’t happening as well as to join the ones that are.
Mistake #6 – Monitoring as an Event
If you’ve ever thought, “Ok, it’s time for me to do brand monitoring,” you’re doing it wrong. Conversations are happening with or without you and they won’t stop and wait for you to join in. Effective brand monitoring requires real-time alerts and notifications about what’s important to your brand and industry. This is only possible with the use of specially designed software that can identify relevant mentions, determine their importance and clue you in to what matters right away.
Given that brand monitoring is one of the highest priorities of any public relations person, agency or team, it is worth assessing your practices to make sure you aren’t making any of these mistakes. Success will require planning, effort, technology and a little creativity, but we have confidence in your ability to learn from others and nail it.