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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.

Real Time Media Monitoring: Essential Strategies for Instant Insights
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Real time media monitoring is all about tracking and analyzing something as it's published or broadcasted across various media platforms.

This 'something' could be a new marketing campaign for a global swimwear brand. It might mean tracking the media coverage of a bad news story. Or perhaps you want to monitor an influencer's social media presence.

Monitoring the media requires powerful tools to oversee the full industry landscape, including social media, online news, television, podcasts, review sites, and radio.

A tool like CisionOne is the ideal starting point for organizations or individuals who want to monitor news –– both online and offline.

The immediacy of this media listening provides you with a significant advantage against your competitors and can help you prepare for crises and protect your brand equity.

By keeping a continuous watch over different media outlets, you mitigate risks by being one of the first to know about critical mentions or stories concerning your interests.

This quick guide will take you through the core principles of monitoring the media in real time, so you can better understand its value.

Our focus is on how organizations monitor the media to assess their brand reputation and inform their wider marketing strategies. The techniques listed below are applicable to all industries, not just marketing.

Understanding Real Time Media Monitoring

Real time media monitoring is the continuous tracking of media coverage and online conversations that are relevant to your brand or business.

It provides instantaneous data, allowing for swift strategic decisions. It spans various channels, including news websites, podcasts, social media platforms, newspapers, forums, blogs, radio shows, and more.

  • Media Monitoring: Scanning the digital and non-digital landscape for mentions of specific keywords, phrases, brands, or industries.

  • Real Time: the ability to track and report mentions of your brand instantaneously, as opposed to periodic or batched monitoring solutions.

The scope of live media monitoring is vast and includes the following:

  • Media Coverage: Examination of how frequently and in what context your brand is mentioned across different media outlets.

  • Online Conversations: Keeping tabs on discussions and sentiments that revolve around your brand in real time, especially in unstructured formats like social media and forums.

A tool like CisionOne is able to monitor wider media coverage from millions of online and offline publications, while our sister tool Brandwatch takes care of social listening to provide a 360 degree view of your brand.

Importance for Brands and Businesses

Businesses need to understand the importance of having their finger on the pulse of all conversations surrounding their brand.

A drinks company in Illinois might think its new product is hugely successful because sales are up. However, when they monitor the media they realize their product is being criticized for being too sugary.

Real time media monitoring equips the drinks company with knowledge to protect and enhance their brand reputation.

This type of tracking helps you oversee:

  • Brand Reputation: Set alerts for instant feedback of when your brand is mentioned and manage crises before they escalate, ensuring your brand's reputation remains intact.

  • Social Media Presence: Gauge the effectiveness of campaigns and strategies via social media monitoring by providing insights into audience engagement and reactions in real time.

Media Monitoring Tactics

Efficient media monitoring tactics equip you and your team with valuable insights on your brand's online presence and perception.

You'll stay ahead of the curve by understanding what is said about your brand across different channels.

This isn't always easy but a media monitoring service allows you to strategize and stay a step ahead.

Tactics for Social Media Monitoring

If you plan to engage in social media monitoring then it's important to be across the entire industry. Monitoring conversations on X and Facebook isn't enough if a brand crisis begins to develop on Instagram.

The best tactic to assess all platforms is to engage in social listening.

Here's how to do it:

  • Use a tool like Brandwatch to pull in social media data from the entire social spectrum

  • Set up keyword alerts for your brand name

  • Monitor mentions, hashtags, and engagement metrics

  • Generate sentiment analysis reports and learn what users think of your brand

  • Strategize your response and engage on social media platforms to realign your brand reputation

Tactics for Online News and Broadcast Tracking

Big brands and news organizations use major social media platforms to push their campaigns and stories, and stay relevant in the social sphere.

However, it's a mistake to overlook activity taking place away from X, Instagram, TikTok, etc.

Keeping tabs on online news sources like the New York Times and the BBC, and broadcasts from the likes of FOX and CNN, ensures you're aware of the media landscape.

Regularly scan for your brand mentions in online articles, TV segments, radio shows, and actual newspapers and magazines with CisionOne's powerful monitoring tool.

  • Our tool gives users access to:

    • Media monitoring software with real-time alerts across the full media spectrum

    • A data aggregator to compile news mentions

    • Crisis management tools to help fix real-time issues as they arise

    • Report functions to better share data with other stakeholders

Tactics for Sentiment Analysis and Trending Topics

Sentiment analysis runs deep across all media monitoring activity, whether it's the emotional tone of a newspaper op-ed or the vibe of users across multiple social platforms.

It's important to keep on top of sentiment analysis so you don't mistakenly think an audience or customers like something they in fact hate.

Tactics for sentiment analysis include:

  • Analyzing sentiment trends to gauge brand health

  • Conducting trend analysis to identify topics relevant to your brand or organization

  • Profiling social media users against sentiment analysis to better understand your demographics

  • Spotting which journalists and commentators are more or less positive about your brand

Live Media Monitoring Tools and Platforms

A media monitoring platform like CisionOne and Brandwatch allows users to track and analyze media across the full industry spectrum in real time. From tracking newspaper mentions to social media monitoring.

You can sit down, launch the platform, and run live data analysis on anything you like.

This could mean tracking the success of a recent marketing campaign. Or perhaps you want to gain a competitive advantage by gauging your rivals' brand reputation.

Features of Effective Monitoring Tools

The most effective media monitoring tools empower you with precise and timely data.

Cisionone, for example, gives you:
  • Real-time alerts: Immediate notifications about your brand mentions and keywords from thousands of global publications and platforms.

  • Saved searches: Come back to projects and keep them running in the background while you do other things.

  • Advanced analytics: Get detailed insights, such as sentiment analysis, from the data you collect.

  • Customizable dashboards: Set up the CisionOne dashboard as you like and focus on the KPIs that matter to you.

  • Intuitive search functions: Pinpoint specific keywords or topics, with the help of AI.

  • Project collaboration: Allow multiple users to oversee the same monitoring activity to improve project collaboration.

  • Future strategizing: Use the monitoring data you've collected to begin strategizing for your next project, whether it be a new product, service, marketing campaign, or crisis management plan.

Incorporating Monitoring into Strategy

Real-time media monitoring plays a critical role in any strategic plan.

It equips you and your team with data to fine-tune your approaches, respond to competition, and stay ahead of industry trends.

After all, no strategy is bullet-proof.

Let's say you produce solar panels for private households. Your brand is great but you detect news reports claiming the product doesn't work effectively.

Here's how to incorporate real time insights into your strategy:

Enhance Your Social Media Strategy

Social media monitoring benefits any social strategy by providing valuable insights into what content resonates with your audience. For instance:

  • Trending Topics: Stay atop trending hashtags, social mentions, and topics to keep your content relevant.

  • Audience Engagement: Track likes, shares, and comments across social media to determine which types of posts drive interaction.

  • Trending Sounds: See what songs are trending on TikTok, for example, and lift those in your own viral videos.

Competitive Analysis and Industry Trends

Monitoring tools also provide a window into your competitors’ activities and prevailing industry trends.

This enables you to:
  • Identify Benchmarks: Assess your competitors' performance metrics against your own.

  • Spot Opportunities: Leverage emerging patterns and trends to inform your strategy and gain competitive advantage.

  • Detect Crises: Assess how a rival handles a crisis and monitor trends to discover if the crisis is coming your way.

Brand Strategies and Content Planning

Being able to accurately monitor the media is central to shaping your brand strategies and planning content.

Platforms such as CisionOne provide you with relevant, actionable insights in the form of:

  • Brand Sentiment: Gauge public sentiment around your brand to tailor your messaging.

  • Content Impact: Evaluate the impact of your content and pivot your strategy as necessary to maximize its effectiveness.

You can shape a better strategy or tweak your existing one with the help of live monitoring.

Leveraging Data for Business Growth

If done correctly, media monitoring platforms can equip businesses with enough data to help them grow and refine their marketing strategies. Here are three ways in which your organization can grow:

1. By Utilizing Customer Feedback and Insights

Customer feedback is a goldmine of information that lets you understand your audience's needs and preferences.

A monitoring platform can help you collect this and crunch the data into understandable insight.

The more you understand your customers, the easier it is to respond promptly to issues and create better strategies for the future.

2. By Identifying Influencers and Target Audience

Real time data allows you to identify influencers –– whether they be high-profile social media users or influential news sites –– and grow your brand.

You may want to engage in an influencer marketing campaign with positive influencers, or perhaps avoid negative influencers who are critical of your organization.

It's also possible analyze data and get a better understanding of your target audience. Focus on key demographics and understand what aspects of your product or marketing strategy works, and what doesn't.

This will improve not only your current strategies but also inform your business management decisions in the future.

3. By Pooling and Sharing Analytics

Indeed, the true hidden benefit of real time insights is being able to apply data beyond your immediate situation. An average monitoring tool can help you battle through a current crisis but the best ones help you create more informed decisions long into the future.

You can do this by pooling all your data into one platform and producing sharable reports for the rest of your team or other clients to see.

Now, not only are you able to make better decisions, but you can spread your knowledge base across your organization.

Staying Ahead with Real Time Monitoring

When used correctly, real-time media monitoring tools empower you with immediate insights to shape your strategies and to stay ahead of the game. This might be keeping one step ahead of the competition, or ensuring you're abreast of a breaking story before a situation becomes critical.

In order to stay ahead, it's important to focus on the following:

1. Adapt to Emerging Trends and Alerts

Be prepared to have a level of flexibility in your strategy that means you can monitor and take advantage of new trends as they arise, rather than playing catch-up.

For example, if a women's soccer player is one of your brand ambassadors and they score a winning goal at the World Cup, then you need to capitalize on the fresh surge in positive reactions to her immediately.

By setting up alerts, you can receive instant notifications on positive and negative mentions, helping you to take advantage of opportunities or avert potential crises.

2. Assess All Media Types and Channels

The best way to stay informed is to oversee everything. This means plugging in a range of media types and channels into one platform. This includes:

  • Traditional media (e.g. print, broadcast, radio)

  • Digital platforms (e.g. online news, blogs, forums)

  • Social media (e.g. X, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Youtube)

By doing so, you gain a holistic understanding of your brand's presence across the media spectrum.

3. Assessing Your Online Reputation

Your reputation online is constantly being rewritten depending on the success of your products, services, and marketing efforts.

Keeping a close vigil on what's being said about your business enables you to steer the narrative in a favorable direction.

Regular monitoring allows you to:
  • Identify positive mentions to leverage as success stories

  • Spot negative sentiments quickly and address them

Challenges and Best Practices for Live Media Monitoring

Monitoring the media in real time isn't simple. You have to navigate the rapidly changing landscape armed with a strategic approach to correctly assess and handle:

  1. Data sources

  2. Accurate context analysis

  3. Foster effective collaboration

Below are tips for overcoming these three challenges effectively.

1. Navigating Data Sources and Volume

Your ability to manage and prioritize a multitude of sources is critical. Major social media platforms, for example, pump out billions of opinions every day.

The sheer volume of available information today creates a big challenge for organizations.

It's therefore important to:
  • Navigate the correct sources of data that are relevant to you and provide high-quality content and context.

  • Use advanced tools to filter and sort through vast volumes of information, ensuring you're only dealing with data that's relevant to your objectives.

This approach helps you stay organized and responsive in a high-volume environment.

2. Ensuring Accurate Context and Analysis

Accuracy is a major challenge for organizations seeking to monitor news and events in real time. After all, you don't want to create a fresh strategy based on bogus, inaccurate analysis. It's therefore crucial to:

  1. Keep track of not just what is being said, but also where, how, and by whom. This would include geographical, linguistic, and socio-economic factors that might affect meaning.

  2. Utilize sophisticated algorithms or analytics platforms to get more accurate feedback. These should be capable of discerning sentiment, relevance, and trends to make your analysis more actionable.

  3. Finding a tool that helps you create future strategies armed with accurate data, such as Cision.

By following these tips, you enhance the reliability of your media monitoring efforts.

3. Collaboration Among Teams and Clients

Monitoring the media –– whether you're social listening or trying to spot emerging trends –– is difficult to do alone. If you're part of a wider marketing team then it's important to lean on that wider knowledge base and collaborate properly.

By fostering a positive, open culture among fellow communications professionals you'll be able to take full advantage of any tools or platforms you're using, and establish clear channels of communication with clients.

Future of Media Monitoring

Media monitoring is rapidly evolving, and you need to stay abreast of these changes to leverage the emerging opportunities for your brand or organization.

Here are the two big advancements coming to the industry:

1. Advancements in Monitoring Technologies

AI-powered analytics is already here with tools like CisionOne. However, these systems will be able to process even bigger datasets more efficiently than ever before, spotting trends almost as soon as they emerge.

Equally, voice and image recognition software is advancing at rapid pace. Identification and tracking of brand mentions across video and audio formats, not just text, is already here but the tech is getting even sharper.

2. The Evolving Role of Communications Professionals

Communications professionals will need to change significantly to become more proactive to industry trends. They'll need to interpret data and form strategies quicker, and be able to manage crises immediately when they arise.

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Author Bio
Marcelo Javelly
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.