Tips for selecting media monitoring

You need a company that will monitor all sources of media. You want to know when you show up in print, on air, online or elsewhere.

by Louise Harris

We tried to tell you why you need a media monitoring service in our previous article. Now, you have to figure out how to find one. Before you pick one, you need to do your research and ask questions. Not all monitoring services are the same. Here are some key questions you will want to be answered before you choose a monitoring service.

What Do They Monitor?

Some companies will monitor social media or online publications. This is not helpful because you could miss something vital. You need a company that will monitor all sources of media. You want to know when you show up in print, on-air, online or elsewhere. These will be the most comprehensive and the most beneficial to your company and your brand.

Do They Outsource to Third Parties?

It doesn't make sense to buy a media monitoring service from a company that outsources the work. You could just hire that third party for half the cost. Companies might do some work in-house and outsource the rest. This could be confusing. This partial outsourcing of core news monitoring functions often creates client service problems when multiple vendors are involved in the back end operations. Therefore, it would be better to choose a company that does all the monitoring itself. Also, you want a company that gives you a team of people to help you if you have questions. Automation is great until something happens. You want automation with backup.

Is It Accurate?

You should test the media monitoring service to see if it meets your needs. Compare what you get with your current solutions for monitoring the media. Make sure you ask for a complimentary trial. You want to be sure you are receiving relevant mentions of your media coverage with a minimal amount of noise or false hits showing up in your media monitoring reports.

What Are You Allowed to Keep?

Some news monitoring services will prevent you from having long-term data about your company. You would be allowed to keep limited data and news clips. However, you want to hire a company that will give you historical access to your news. If you could see at a glance that you are getting similar coverage every year at the same time, you would be able to use that trend in your marketing. You will want your media coverage reports to be accessible via a permanent online archive and permanent access to the TV and radio news clips that feature your search terms. Often, television and radio remove clips to make room for recent news. Pick a service that provides you with tools that permanently archive your news clips to the cloud so you can access them from any device or any time of day.

Must You Sign Contract?

Avoid companies that force you into a long-term contract that auto renews. Look for those companies that allow you to buy on an “as-needed basis.” For example, after you sent a press release, you would want to monitor whether that release was accepted and a story was written or aired. If you have to sign a long-term contract to find out that information, you would be spending too much for that service.

What Is Video Quality?

You shouldn't choose a company that provides video in poor streaming quality. You want to get your TV news clips in a high-definition format instead of a compressed video stream. High-definition makes sharing the clip or presenting the clip-on large screens clearer. That gives your clip more value to those who are watching.

Does the Service Make Your Job Easier?

You want a service that will take time to discuss your workflow and needs with you. A great media monitoring service will also be able to demonstrate the ways their services can make your job easier, make you more efficient, and ensure that you never miss the media coverage that helps you get your job done. You also want to hire a PR representative that will send your release, follow up and monitor for pickups.

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