While it’s easy to create a basic Google alert for your trade association’s name and key executives, this “set it and forget it” approach to news monitoring could leave you missing out on many of the important issues and trends pertinent to your industry. Furthermore, adding a laundry list of keywords to your alert will likely result in inbox overflow.
Fortunately, a variety of media monitoring tools exist to help us efficiently and effectively keep up with the news cycle – and are growing in both number and precision as the media and PR industries rapidly evolve. These databases offer a simple yet powerful way to go far beyond Google, allowing you to track conversations and receive real-time alerts based on a host of variables including key word(s), outlet location, type, reach, and more. In terms of content, they also give you the ability to pull in online, radio, podcast and TV clips and share them in a customized report containing the news that’s most important to your organization or its members.
Based on our extensive experience carrying out weekly, monthly, and semi-annual media monitoring and analysis for clients of all shapes and sizes, here are three of our favorite ways to leverage the power of news monitoring to provide value for both organizations and their stakeholders.
1. Keep tabs on important industry conversations
Instead of simply monitoring for specific names or buzzwords to pop in the press, you can use monitoring software to track key words, terms, and phrases in priority publications. If your organization is focused on renewable energy development, for example, you could set up a fine-tuned search that pulls in news about wind and solar projects, political actions and debates, and citizen activism. Or if you are one of the many organizations that represent farmers, you can stay on top of coverage related to hot-button issues such as pesticide use or trade policies.
2. Follow the reach of a particular story or research study
When a newsworthy trend or study hits the press, it can take on a life of its own. By proactively monitoring for these stories, you can easily track how it spreads across the media and how the tone of coverage evolves. Having this perspective can help you decide if you should formally respond, or if simply sharing an update with your membership is sufficient. And of course, this type of monitoring gains a new level of importance if your organization is the one pushing out an announcement or research, allowing you to not only respond to inaccuracies but also measure the amount of coverage you generate.
3. Monitor existing and emerging trends
While keeping an eye on the usual suspects for your industry is essential, you can also watch a new idea cement itself as a trend – or disappear as nothing more than a blip. For example, our client, The Grain Foods Foundation, would always like to keep “low-carb” and “anti-carb” diets on its radar but might want to set up a more general search for “fad diet” to be the first to know about the next keto. Seeing what’s catching on in the news cycle can also help you assess how your association’s work compares to the greater industry landscape.
As you can see, media monitoring has the potential to add tremendous value to trade associations that have the time and know-how to implement it. It might even be the most important ingredient you’re missing, so we encourage you to consider adding (or hiring out) one of these tools to your marketing mix.
P.S. – Stay tuned for more tips on using your monitoring reports as a membership tool.
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