DIY PR: media monitoring for free.

Knowing what’s going on in your industry is essential. Knowledge really is power. (Or power is power, if you’re Cersei Lannister.)

One of the things PR people “do” is media monitoring: tracking, reading, analyzing and… monitoring… media. Anyone can start media monitoring for any real reason: if you’re looking for a job you can start tracking coverage that mentions potential employers, or if your a small business owner you can monitor media for coverage related to your industry and competitors.

What it is

Media monitoring is basically reading the newspaper everyday, except your focus is on articles that cover your industry, competitors, market, etc. Sure you could assume that if there’s big news, you’ll hear about it, but chances are the most important information to you will be in articles that aren’t on the front page.

How it’s done

First, decide on your terms, because you can’t monitor without knowing what you’re looking for. There are probably hundreds of terms you can use for your business, but the more terms you have, the more time you’re going to spend on each one. Instead, pick a few that are most relevant.

Here are a few places to start:

  1. Competitors. Stick to one main competitor or get them all, depending on your needs. The more local the better, and the more direct the better.
  2. Industry leaders. Are there people, groups or organizations that make, or can make, a big impact on you or your business?
  3. Customers. This might be harder to drill down to one term, but consider also monitoring for anything related to your clients. Business clients are obviously easier, but social media can be used to monitor for information relevant to your personal clients as well.
  4. Yourself. Include your personal name or ‘online’ name, the name of your business and any organizations you’re a part of. Google yourself regularly – it’s fun.
  5. Relevant trends, popular stuff, events, things that are making an impact either in your industry and/or globally.

Once you have a list of terms, the searching is easy. Google and Bing are fine for this. But to find articles and content in between (or instead of) searches, set up Google Alerts for each term to get an email whenever coverage related to your search term pops up.

Once you get set up on Google Alerts you can almost-literally sit back and just check the articles that come in.

If you just want to find media coverage you can restrict each alert to just send you media or news alerts. Otherwise Google will attack your email with any blog post and mention that includes your terms.

Set up a folder in your email and, if you can, inbox rules for your alerts to keep your main inbox free of random clutter. Then check that box regularly, or whenever you have time.

About Social Media

Monitoring on social media is a little more involved. Thankfully you can learn nearly everything you might need for a basic monitoring program online. Here’s a link to some social media monitoring basics to get you started. Search for more information and you’ll get results for days!

Below is a list of free resources that can make the whole process easier as long as you have the right terms.

Traditional Media Monitoring:
Social Media Monitoring:

Write me or leave a comment below if you have any questions or need some help! General ideas and opinions are welcome too :)

Your Thoughts