A new calendar year is the perfect time to take stock of your media monitoring and analysis work. Whether you are creating new goals, tackling new projects, or just tweaking what is already working well, spending a little time at the beginning of the year can set you up for success in the months ahead.
Review and Update Keywords
Periodically checking in on your monitoring keywords and phrases is an important step to ensuring you are getting the most out of your monitoring program. This is especially true when monitoring social platforms, as terminology can shift rapidly—especially if you are monitoring topics in the news.
If an issue you are monitoring has changed over the course of the previous year, there are likely some adjustments to be made to keywords or phrases. Make a list of any new terms that might be useful to monitor for, or that could help to refine your results.
Make note of any personnel changes
If part of your monitoring is tracking spokespeople or key members of an organization’s executive board or council, you’re likely tracking names. The end of the year is a good time to review any personnel changes and see if your name searches are still accurate. Title changes due to promotions, and name changes due to marriages and divorces are common items that might require updating in your monitoring terms.
New hires and job changes can also necessitate the need to revise search terms with names. While it’s ideal to make these adjustments when they happen, taking time to review them at the end of the year allows you to catch any changes that might have been missed.
Personnel changes outside of your organization are relevant too. For PR professionals, taking a year’s end look at who has changed jobs extends to the newsrooms and publications that cover your organization. A rapidly shifting media landscape means frequent employee turnover, and it can be challenging to stay up to date.
Metrics to Review
Beyond the straightforward work of revising keywords and making any personnel adjustments, the end of a calendar year is also a good time to take stock of tracked metrics.
Check your sentiment analysis from the year—do the results seem to reflect the year your organization has had? If you track sentiment on specific topics or company brands, are there any that show room for improvement? If there was a crisis—large or small—in the past year, can you pinpoint when it occurred, just by looking at a sentiment over time chart?
Was overall volume up or down in comparison to the previous year? If it’s dramatically different, can you quickly determine why it’s changed?
Looking back over the year can show what points in the coming year might be the same (such as increased mentions following quarterly earnings reports) and where it might be different (an upcoming major rebranding effort).
Effective planning takes routine annual activity into account, and with monitoring data, you have a fairly solid head start in mapping out not just when activities will happen, but you can also predict roughly how much coverage an event typically receives. From there, you can examine any events that received more coverage than average, and which events underperformed. Once you have that information, you can brainstorm ways to repeat successful events and apply new strategies and tactics to increase coverage of events that missed targets.
Is there anything missing from monitoring and analysis?
Setting up for the coming year can also mean adjusting your plans to include metrics or monitoring to cover anything you feel might be missing. If you are monitoring for the share of voice of competitors, when was the last time the competitor list was reviewed? Are there any new competitors you should be monitoring? Have any organizations in your field gone through acquisitions, or been renamed or rebranded?
If you have the option to do so, talk to the team at your monitoring company—they are experts and can help you to creatively look at the data available, and how it could be deployed to help you measure.
What do you want to accomplish in the coming year?
If you have any PR goals you’re hoping to reach, consider how monitoring and analysis can help. If you’re hoping to secure more coverage, take a look at what topics resonated with journalists over the previous year or so. Review content with mentions of your organization first, as these are the most relevant. Are there new names in the bylines, or are the same journalists covering your organization? What types of stories are they gravitating to—new products, employee announcements, or other types of news?
Then, take a more general look at what these publications and writers covered over the past few months to a year. Are there any commonalities between what they cover generally and what they have written about your organization?
Making an effort to catalogue what interests journalists can help you to refine your pitches so that they are relevant to the publications you’d like to be covered in—and, it can help you to plan.
Schedule Review Time
If you aren’t required to submit periodic reports, schedule time for periodic reviews of your monitoring and analysis. The busier you are, the more important it is to set this in your schedule.
While it’s nice to have media monitoring that essentially takes care of itself, it’s equally important to spend a little time looking at the big picture, rather than the details in the results.
All of these tips and suggestions go back to an important foundational point: they help you to answer the question of why you are monitoring your media results in the first place. This, in turn, can provide you with the data you need to make either small or large adjustments to your PR efforts to get you the results you want to see from your communications program.
Analysis can point you to the right publications for your messages, and to the journalists that are interested in your efforts. Set yourself up for success in 2024!