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The 2024 State of the Media Report

Get actionable insight from 3,000+ journalists on what they truly want and need from PR teams.

Print Media Monitoring Tools: Essential Solutions for Media Analysis

Print media monitoring tools are incredibly useful for PR professionals and communications teams who need to monitor media coverage on a daily basis.

Print content can often be overlooked in favor of online news and social media trends, which are easier to obtain and decipher. Yet there doesn't need to be a difference between traditional forms of media and new, digital forms.

Traditional media sources remain hugely influential in how people access news and relate with brands. Be it newspapers, TV, or radio, these media formats remain relevant despite much of our attention now being focused on the internet and social media.

This guide will take you through the basics of monitoring print content in newspapers, trade publications, and magazines, and how online tools such as CisionOne help analyze publications to produce key insights into brand reputation and business impact.

Understand how it's possible to analyze articles from the Boston Globe and Wall Street Journal, and why a critical mention in the Ann Arbor Observer may carry more weight than a national paper.

You'll also see what core aspects of the print media are worth monitoring, and how to go about it.

The evolution of media tracking has been greatly influenced by the digital age but the importance of print should not be underestimated. Tracking tools for print media bridge the long tradition of print journalism and the analytical capabilities of modern technology.

By employing these tools, it's possible to get valuable insights from media coverage that is not immediately accessible through digital means.

Let's start, then, by looking at the fundamentals of monitoring print content.

Fundamentals of Print Media Monitoring

Let's first look at the basics of print monitoring.

Defining Print Media Monitoring

Print media monitoring involves the examination of media coverage in printed sources like newspapers, magazines, and specialized trade journals.

You may be looking to monitor brand mentions, competitor reach, conduct sentiment analysis, or assess the industry as a whole.

By using a print media monitoring tool, it's possible to gain actionable insights from a non-digital medium. This will help you create smarter PR strategies, change your products or services, or improve your customer relationships.

The Significance of Monitoring Print Publications

Monitoring print publications remains a fundamental aspect of media intelligence. Digital media often takes over the space but publications in print still to hold significant credibility and influence.

By keeping tabs on this sector, it's possible to obtain a comprehensive view of your media coverage, which supports strategic decision-making.

Monitoring print allows you to:

  • Track media mentions and follow trends on a daily basis

  • Assess the effectiveness of public relations campaigns

  • Gain insights into public perception through sentiment analysis, and the competitive landscape

Remember, print monitoring is just part of a wider media monitoring service that platforms like CisionOne provide to businesses of all sizes.

Core Components of Print Monitoring Tools

Print monitoring tools offer a wide range of capabilities to ensure you get the most from all print data collected during a campaign. Here are the main components to comprehensive media analysis that you can expect to find with tools like CisionOne.

Keyword Tracking

Keywords are more commonly associated with online SEO techniques but they're also important in print media. You can track headlines, feature mentions, explore trends and understand why certain words are being used more than others in relation to your brand.

Coverage Alerts

Get alerts whenever your selected keywords or your brand is mentioned, and stay on top evolving stories. The beauty of print media is you have more time to react to bad news because the papers won't come out for another day.

Your tool should be capable of containing all coverage in one place, in order to run in depth analytics and help you craft the best responses.

Media Analytics

A tool like CisionOne operates powerful media analytics to assess thousands of publications and provide users with actionable insights.

See how influential your coverage is at a granular level, and get detailed reports on everything from universal opinions of your brand, to individual article sentiment.

Sentiment Analysis

Sentiment analysis forms the backbone of print media monitoring. It's not enough to know your brand is being mentioned. What's important is to understand how newspaper and magazine audiences react to your brand.

By filtering articles into positive, negative, and neutral groups, you can better understand how impactful a new product, public relations campaign, or news story has been on your brand reputation.

Reporting

Analyzing print media is one thing but you need to report back on your findings if you are to act upon them. A tool like CisionOne allows you to pull analytics alongside other PR metrics, like those mentioned above, to create easy-to-understand reports.

Print Media Monitoring Techniques

There are a lot of ways you can monitor print content, and you may be surprised to hear you can do it online. Gone are the days when you'd buy all the newspapers and sit down to highlight brand mentions.

These days software allows you to monitor coverage effortlessly. Here are three examples:

Mention Tracking

You can actively track mentions of your brand across print media sources to gauge public perception and media presence. Key components include:

  • Coverage Analysis: Assess the volume and sentiment of brand mentions to understand your visibility and reputation. See which publications regularly cover your brand and which opt not to.

  • Social Listening: Although primarily digital, social listening tools like Brandwatch complements print mention tracking by capturing public discussions related to print media content.

Competitor Analysis

Monitoring the print landscape isn't just about tracking your own brand or company. Communications professionals will use a tool like Brandwatch to conduct competitor analysis too.

This focuses primarily on understanding the coverage of a rival brand and whether that coverage is successful.

For example, a fast-food chain in Missouri may want to know how its competitor is perceived in print media, in order to replicate or even better their PR strategies. Running competitor analysis is the first step to creating an improved plan.

Trend Identification

Most PR professionals are fixated with social media monitoring and understanding online news trends to figure out the state of their industry. However, you can also spot trends in newspapers.

This ranges from coverage patterns, such as how often certain types of stories or certain brands appear in the papers. For example, a cleaning brand in Arizona may wish to advertise in newspapers that regularly print features on household cleaning hacks.

You can also spot influencers in print media – whether they be influential publications or writers.

Choosing a Print Media Monitoring Tool

Now we know what print monitoring is all about, it's time to look at the actual tools available today. It's important to consider what you want from a tool before joining up––although we note that you can usually sign up to free trials or demos before you begin a software subscription.

Key Features to Look For

Here's what to look for in a tool to monitor print coverage:

  • Full Media Coverage: An effective tool must encompass a broad array of print media sources, including major publications as well as specialized and local titles. CisionOne keeps tabs on thousands of publications each day.

  • Integration Capabilities: It's essential to integrate with other platforms and services for seamless workflows, otherwise you can get stuck with a lot of admin.

  • Real-time Alerts: Newspapers aren't as "live" as online publications but instant alerts can assist users in managing brand monitoring efficiently.

  • Sentiment Analysis: Print monitoring is all about evaluating the mood of content to gain a better understanding of how a brand is perceived.

  • Advanced Search Filters: Precise monitoring according to specific keywords, topics, or regions helps users understand their brand coverage far better than an all-in-one approach.

  • Analytics and Reporting: Tools need to offer clear, actionable analytics and custom reports to fully measure the impact of print media coverage.

Cost-Efficiency and ROI

Cost is a natural concern to all PR professionals seeking help with their work. Paid media monitoring tools are worth subscribing to but it's important to think about the following factors:

  • Choose The Right Subscription Models: Look at the various subscription models available and find one that offers the right permit access compared to how many employees you intend to work on the platform.

  • Consider The Feature-to-Price Ratio: How many features do you actually need from a tool to get the insights you want? Consider your budget and whether it can stretch to fulfil the features you require.

  • Evaluate Potential ROI: What are you looking to get from monitoring publications in print? It could be for intelligence gathering, or perhaps forming new strategies. Is there a way you can profit directly from the data gathered, or are you looking to make data driven decisions? Think about your ROI and whether your chosen tool is worth it.

Popular Print Media Monitoring Platforms

Finally it's time to look at some recommended platforms for print monitoring. Each platform has its own unique capabilities and the price range means everyone––from lone PR pros to those working across big communications teams––can benefit.

CisionOne

CisionOne is a robust platform that ensures users such as public relations professionals to understand the full media landscape. CisionOne monitors thousands of publications in print, as well as TV, radio stations, and podcast broadcasts.

You can track audience metrics and measure outcomes with ease. This all-in-one approach is perfect for teams seeking to expand their communications strategies beyond social media monitoring and into traditional forms of media.

Discover CisionOne's Print Media Monitoring Software today and request a demo to see if it's right for you!

Meltwater

More than 30,000 professionals use Meltwater's media intelligence platform, which includes print monitoring as part of a wider package. Meltwater compiles print pages and transforms them into digital format so they are easier to analyze.

CARMA

CARMA is an ideal print clipping service that assesses and monitors publications from over 130 local markets. It uses speech-to-text technology to crunch articles into clips that users can easily understand. All data is collected on the Insight platform, where you can conduct in-depth analysis before moving forward with your next steps.

How Does Print Media Monitoring Actually Work?

Media monitoring solutions have been around for decades. Back in the 1970s and '80s TV networks would monitor coverage of their shows to ensure people were watching. If they weren't, the networks would create better shows!

The same goes for newspapers, where sales figures were once the only metric to understanding what the public liked and what it didn't.

These days print media is clipped and stored digitally, which means software like CisionOne is able to scan and decipher data from "offline" publications.

Below are two big advances in this field which means the industry has moved away from the traditional metrics obtained four decades ago.

AI Algorithms

AI algorithms help platforms crunch large quantities of printed media content in real time.

They can recognize emerging patterns and trends quicker, resulting in information that was previously inaccessible due to the massive scale of the data.

Furthermore, the accuracy of AI-based analytics on platforms like CisionOne allows users to adapt reports to their specific needs and interests.

Broadening Search

The best media monitoring tools are broadening their search for new publications all the time. By monitoring the industry, it's possible to track when new newspapers, magazines, and trade publications hit the shelves. It's also important to detect when publications cease operating.

Broadening the scope of monitoring tools means users get deeper insights into the industry.

Translation Services

Many paid media monitoring tools invest a lot of their resources into translation services so users can access coverage on a global scale. This is particularly important for crisis management if, for example, your product has a default or recall in a different country.

By using translation services its possible to stay ahead of global trends and make corporation-wide strategy decisions.

Integration With Digital Strategies

Many organizations try to implement strategies across digital and non-digital landscapes––and media monitoring is no different.

There's no value in rejecting the non-digital sphere and only assessing online sentiment towards your brand. Do this, and you're missing out on a huge section of the market and, potentially, your audience.

It's therefore important to integrate print media data with digital forms of research, such as social listening, SEO tracking, and even podcast mentions.

A tool like CisionOne allows you to integrate the lot, and use your print media insights to help with the following:

Online News and Social Media Campaigns

Launching a new campaign on social media or in the online news industry requires a lot of planning and data support to get right. The insights you gain from print media can help inform upcoming digital campaigns and ensure you don't miss a beat.

Integration can be done on customizable dashboards like the one available to CisionOne users, where you can pull data from news articles and the like, and help shape digital decision making.

Email Campaigns

You can also integrate your print media findings into email campaigns and ensure important news is sent direct to your customers or audience.

For example, you might discover from traditional media sources that people love your range of product discounts. You can use this info to create email marketing campaigns offering discounts on selected products, or during selected times.

This sort of information integration isn't possible without monitoring traditional media as well as digital sources.

Advanced Analytics and Reporting

In a large organization, the employee tasked with media monitoring isn't always the person who makes strategy decisions further down the line. Platforms therefore need to provide analytics and reporting, so those who aren't across the numbers every day can quickly understand and act upon reports placed in front of them.

Below are two tools anyone using a top media monitoring service should expect to benefit from:

1) Graphs and Data Visualizations

Graphs and data visualizations are crucial when you need to present complex data in an understandable format. It's the sort of thing you can generate in an instant with CisionOne and other top platforms.

Graphs are usually the easiest way to convey data-led information fast. So, rather than trying to explain to your boss exactly how beneficial monitoring media mentions has been for your strategy, it's usually easier just to show them!

2) Comprehensive PDF and Export Options

Organizations with a diverse range of stakeholders need to cater for a diverse range of needs too. Someone may need print media insights to understand brand positioning within an industry, while someone else may be creating a crisis management plan.

Top tools allow you to create PDFs of all data and export across your network.

The Future of Print Media Monitoring

There was once an assumption that print media would die as social media platforms, Google News, and other emerging trends in the tech industry took over.

Well, print isn't dead! In fact, more than two billion people are expected to have access to newspapers by 2029. The number of news sources may be growing month by month but newspapers, magazines, and journals still have a part to play in the world.

Here's what the future of monitoring print media looks like:

An Evolving Media Landscape

Contrary to public opinion, print media won't fade away. Granted, the industry has shrunk from its heyday in the 1990s, but there is still huge demand for newspapers and magazines.

There is a big shift in what print media offers readers. News coverage is less important, especially for weekly newspapers and monthly magazines. Instead, features, opinion pieces, and reviews are more common in papers.

Monitoring news is still relevant but not as much. The evolving landscape means a monitoring tool is more likely to look at brand mentions from influential writers, compared to traditionally important news.

After all, if you want to read the news you're more likely to do that on your phone.

Adaption to New Media Formats

The world's leading publications understand the media is no longer confined to traditional formats. Media monitoring therefore encompasses new technologies all the time.

Publishers are diversifying their output, venturing into digital and mixed media. It means a monitoring tool, such as CisionOne, needs to be constantly updating while also providing the best coverage of traditional news sources.

Only a truly powerful tool can keep track of the print media landscape. This goes beyond paper sales, social media analytics, radio station listens, and online news clicks. Keeping track of relevant pieces of information across traditional media is just as important as tracking newer technologies.

If you want to find out more about CisionOne's print media monitoring capabilities, speak to an expert today.

Author Bio
Marcelo Javelly
 SEO and Social Listening Specialist

Marcelo is an SEO and Social listening expert with 8+ years of experience across various industries and joined Cision in 2023. Based in Copenhagen, he is our in-house specialist for all things related to social listening.