By now most everyone has seen the LifeLock commercials poking fun at monitoring your credit versus doing something about the fraud that’s found. That shift in terminology and mindset is happening across all industries, moving from “reporting on” things to giving you “actionable intelligence”.
The Public Relations and Communications space is no different, moving from using solutions for media monitoring to media analysis and media intelligence. Now that we’re calling it intelligence, can I do anything different with the output I’ll get or is it more of the same?
Media solutions are technically easy to replace so if you are not happy with the one you have, you simply choose another vendor and hope the experience is better. But what if the issue isn’t that your solution doesn’t have great charts or an intuitive interface, but that the output must be cleaned up just to get the story that you are comfortable taking to your CEO or Board? Can you draw market conclusions or make decisions on what you are receiving directly from your vendor?
While this list is not exhaustive, I think these nine questions will help you uncover the quality and accuracy of the intelligence you can expect to receive from the solutions you are evaluating.
9 Questions to ask your media monitoring and analysis provider:
- Do you extract sentiment from a social posting? Can you handle sarcasm? How? Can you distinguish between acronyms with multiple meanings (SMH = “Shaking my Head” and “So Much Hate” or more obscure abbreviations)?
- Can you exclude trivial mentions of products (like “Let’s carpool and meet in the lot next to the Exxon station”)? How?
- How do you extract out concepts like Social Responsibility and Technical Innovation if the words are not used in any manner in the post? If you cannot, how would we work around it?
- Historically, what percent of search result postings that you provide are relevant to the brand and product team? (versus those that are peripheral postings that triggered a keyword but were not really relevant and/or actionable for our efforts?) How do you know?
- How do you determine who is influential? Is it keyword hits plus attributes like reach, likes, and retweets? Can you take into account whether the tone and substance of their postings align specifically with our brand’s values and philosophy?
- Can you show the actual results for our business live in your system right now?
- Can you tell me the authors and outlets that are covering three of my seven competitors and five of the topics (not keywords) I am interested in but have not yet written about my company?
- After the account is set up in your system, who maintains evolving keywords, brands and hashtags?
- With imagery analysis, how do you capture the overall feeling that an image is conveying (cool, exciting, pensive, tranquil, apprehensive)?
These are questions any communicator with a complex brand or intense competition should be asking. The answers will help tell you how sophisticated and truly insightful your potential provider is. And if nothing else, this list might provide you with some new ideas and inspiration for additional metrics that you are not looking at today – but should be.
Leslie Stefanik is the Vice President, Marketing at PublicRelay.