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PR professionals have been monitoring the media for mentions of their brand for years. In fact, the first PR agencies included “clipping services” that would literally clip articles out of newspapers for brands. Now that effort is largely digital, of course, and using sophisticated tools to monitor the media landscape for mentions is essential, but it alone is not enough. We have easy access to more data than ever these days, but it is what you do with it that really matters.
Mentions Don’t Tell the Whole Story
Not all press is good press. (For this week’s example, see: Wells Fargo.) What matters more than the mention is whether your key messages and themes are making it into the coverage. This tells you how effective your pitches, interviews, and content are at getting your most important points across. Another measure of the effectiveness of your PR is audience engagement with your earned media. Are the articles being shared? Is there a conversation in the comments? Those are important questions when evaluating the value of each piece.
Outcomes Mean More than Outputs
By itself a mention is not all that meaningful. Alone, it only represents potential. In order to know if that potential has been fulfilled, you need to know if it prompted action. Did someone visit your website, fill out a lead form, tell a friend, or become a customer because of what they read? These are the outcome based metrics to track if you want to be able to prove the ROI for PR.
PR is a Full Contact Sport
Passive monitoring is fine, but what’s the point if you don’t use it to take action? If your brand receives a negative review, or if there is an ongoing conversation related to your product, you don’t just want to sit back and watch. In many cases, it is appropriate to take public or private action to protect your brand’s reputation or add your point of view.
Data Should Lead to Decisions
Monitoring is only the first step. Armed with complete and accurate information about the media landscape related to your brand, industry, competitors, and target audience, you can make smart, strategic decisions about how to invest your resources. You can identify the best media contacts and influencers to target and learn exactly what messages and content types will resonate. This type of analysis is how you can use monitoring tools to improve your PR performance and results.
For these reasons, it is smart to look for more than just media monitoring when you consider PR software. Make sure that it also supports data-driven decision making and the measurement of PR effectiveness. That’s how you’ll accelerate the business results that are important to your brand.