Trading Up: The case for regular media monitoring

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So I was browsing through Mobility Magazine the other day, and there was this interesting article on how companies can help employees facing an international move get better acclimated to their new country. Great stuff.

You may have missed it.  And that’s okay.  But when one of your main clients is in the moving and storage business, it’s a good idea to stay abreast of things happening in that industry, and Mobility is one of the regular sites I check in with to get smarter about that line of work.

That’s a good idea across the board.  Clients count on us to not only keep up with their business but with their industry as a whole. That is especially true in the B2B world, with industries and services that, as consumers, we wouldn’t have regular exposure to.  So in order to be able to speak intelligently to the issues and trends that your clients’ customers and trade reporters care about, there’s no better way to get the kind of insight you need than by regularly checking out trade media outlets.

That may be pretty obvious, straightforward advice, but even so, it’s often difficult to find the time to follow it.  Trade reading is one of those tasks we always mean to do, but is also the first to get sacrificed when work gets hectic.

Similar to flossing, this tedious daily to-do can pay big gains when done regularly. Reporters’ main gripe with PR pros? We don’t read their work to find out specifically what they cover and writing style before we send them a pitch. Not only does this help you understand their beat, it helps you find opportunities where you could add your organization’s expertise.

On the content marketing side of things, it’s valuable insight to how you should be structuring your strategy. What topics are regularly covered, where are the holes in the content where your company could add its perspective, etc. In short, it helps you distinguish where the need is for your organization’s expertise.

You might be thinking, “I get that, but I still don’t have time.” The answer? Assign it to a junior staff employee.

I don’t suggest that in a The-Devil-Wears-Prada kind of way. Media monitoring is an incredibly helpful way for younger staffers to learn about your industry, while also doing a lot of the heavy lifting for you.

Before you hand this off to them, make sure you follow these tips to set them – and you – up for success.

  • Define the parameters: It’s a big Internet out there. Trying to read everything is a recipe for disaster. Clearly identify what publications and reporters they should read and how often they should do so.
  • Ask for more than copy-and-pasting: Anyone can scan the home page of news site and copy and paste the lead articles. Require them to offer a 3-4 sentence summary of the article and how it’s relevant to your business’ industry.
  • Respect this assignment: It’s understandable some days they’ll have more pressing projects that take priority, but make sure as you assign projects to them that you continue to make room for this in their daily to dos. Also be sure to read what they find – otherwise it’s work for the sake of work.

I mentioned a while ago that we all need to get smarter about our respective industries if we want to continue to be successful. Just like media relations, good content marketing demands more than a cursory understanding of the trends and issues of the day. Is daily (or even weekly) monitoring tedious? Yes. But the more you do it, the less time you’ll have to spend figuring out pitching and content topics down the road.

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Greg Surber

Greg Surber, APR, is a public relations strategist through and through. He works on a variety of accounts, leading research projects and content strategies, but he also has extensive experience with more traditional PR efforts including national and trade media relations campaigns.

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