When talking about media monitoring and media analysis, many people use the terms interchangeably. However, there is an important distinction between the two. While media monitoring reveals information about a moment in time, media analysis enables the ability to analyze key performance indicators over time. Consistently analyzing this data not only helps you understand how well you are performing today but will also help you understand what to do in the future. Both media monitoring and analysis have their place in the life of a PR professional and facilitate different outcomes.
Media monitoring is great for a snapshot of coverage volumes at a specific moment in time and provides a gut check for which way the wind is blowing for your brand. Monitoring can be useful for one-off tasks, like when an executive asks you about the coverage of a certain story on the fly or in crisis when you’re blindsided by a negative article and need to know its pickup in real time. These are day-to-day situations in which 100% accuracy of the data is not essential to make a quick decision.
On the other hand, media analysis is consistent measurement of the same metrics over time that facilitate strategic decisions and long-term outcomes. Proving the impact of PR and communications depends on knowing where you started and showing how your team has moved the needle on your company’s reputational goals. In these cases, accurate sentiment and tone of not only the article itself, but of key messages within the article, are paramount to prove your contribution and yield deeper insights that you can act on to optimize strategy. Where monitoring can give you a gut check or help make decisions on the fly, insights from analysis facilitate well-informed, strategic decisions that help you move that needle.
Media analysis allows you to look back over time to understand what strategies and tactics worked and what did not work to inform future decisions. It allows you to understand where you made gains on message pull-through or SOV against your competitors and which messages or campaigns need more resources and focus.
This access to historical analysis is also invaluable to not only help identify a potential crisis but also help guide crisis response. It allows your team to easily identify deviations from your coverage baselines, a signal that you need to dig deeper into about what is being said about your brand that day. These baselines also work in reverse and allow you to extinguish fires when an executive comes to you with a negative story insisting that it requires a response. If the data shows that your coverage volumes are in line and social sharing is not above average, you have hard data that prevents your brand from responding unnecessarily.
If an issue is an actual crisis and does require a response, use historical analysis to inform your messaging and media relations strategies. Quickly determine which authors and outlets to target to most efficiently reach your key stakeholders.
Consistent, Not Static
Measuring consistently over time is not to say that your measurement program can’t be fluid. Measurement around industry events and company initiatives can be added, especially when known about beforehand. Analyzing coverage of these special events from the outset reveals the true impact on your brand and is much more useful and efficient than trying to track them after the fact.
Media Monitoring and Analysis in Harmony
Media monitoring and analysis are natural complements to each other. When you launch a new campaign or product, monitoring will give you a sense of how it’s performing initially, then analysis will reveal the impact on your brand. It will give insights into what went well and what did not to inform your next campaign strategy, making your team more efficient and your budget go further.
With communications budgets growing tighter and tighter, investing part of that budget in media analysis is well worth it to be able to prove your team’s contribution to company-wide goals and become an even more strategic partner to the business.