From Media Monitoring to Media Intelligence: Three Reasons to Change Your Perspective
23 February 2022 00:00
Communications pros and PR practitioners with—ahem—a certain level of experience will no doubt remember this thankless task.
Back in the day, brave souls would huddle over their lonely, rickety metal desks, sifting through piles of media placements; identifying relevant media coverage about their brands, organizations or executive leadership; measuring the column inches; confirming circulation and ad equivalency numbers in a dusty old media reference guide; and then literally cutting out and pasting up each article in a monthly report that would receive a cursory once-over and then be filed away in the back of a drawer.
On and on this went, month in and month out.
As time passed, the process got easier. Thanks to technology, media coverage is now delivered at a moment’s notice and on the go. Numbers are reported more accurately and in real time. New ways to measure the effectiveness of coverage—such as audience engagement, key message density and placement—have become automated. Data is easier than ever to visualize and share.
At the same time, the communications landscape has shifted dramatically. The 24/7 news cycle, rise of citizen journalism, emergence of fake news, explosive growth of influencer communities and the destruction that can be wrought by a single tweet—the mind reels! All these factors underscore the vital nature of fast, accurate and insightful media monitoring that offers concise, actionable analysis.
Which brings us to another point. Is media monitoring really the right phrase for this critical part of a communicator’s job?
We think not.
While it’s certainly descriptive enough, the term “media monitoring” has started to feel a little antiquated, a little too restrictive. It doesn’t even begin to encapsulate what public relations pros are actually doing.
That’s why we propose a shift in the way the communications industry describes this vital task: from media monitoring to media intelligence.
Here are three reasons why.
Mining, Not Monitoring
Media monitoring sounds somewhat passive; it implies that all communications professionals are doing is scanning a few headlines, inputting data into a report and moving on.
But you’d be hard pressed to find a professional who sums up their job that way. The role of media relations professionals is to mine and analyze media placements for insights into how an organization, brand or campaign is performing. It is about matching media activity with company KPIs, goals and expectations. It is knowing which questions to ask and how a company or brand measures success. And, it is adding layers of actionable insight and important context to recommend and defend a path forward.
Rather than selling all that hard work short, let’s shift to the term media intelligence—and start getting credit for mining for data, not just monitoring it.
Seeing the Future
Media monitoring products produce endless amounts of data, charts, graphs and infographics—and Nexis Newsdesk™ is no exception. Media intelligence isn’t just about reporting this data; it’s about knowing what to do with it.
For instance, a look at key trends in an organization or brand’s media landscape can help a savvy media relations pro determine when to publish company information, how to frame it, who else is part of the conversation and more. Furthermore, knowing and understanding these trends can help prepare for a PR crisis or major news events—not to mention how to tackle them.
It’s kind of like being able to see the future... something the term “monitoring” certainly can’t account for.
Communications professions have often had to fight for a seat at the strategic table. For far too long, other marketing disciplines have looked down on the function as a grip-and-grin-phot-op-factory.
The communications function is just as powerful as its business brethren—and with its ability to respond to and shape public opinion, perhaps even more so. It's time to start speaking the language of the C-Suite.
Instead of downplaying PR’s contributions to the puzzle, the term media intelligence embraces them. It reflects the simultaneously data-driven and connection-driven nature of public relations.
As we mentioned at the start of this blog post, the public relations landscape has been subject to a lot of evolution—and there’s even more change on the horizon. So why allow such a vital part of the communications role linger in the past? It’s time to stop delivering media monitoring. It’s time to start delivering media intelligence.
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