May was a big month here at the CEC – we wrapped up our biggest research initiative of the year and presented it for the first time at our headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.
For me, the most memorable moment in discussion came during a segment on media monitoring. This topic can seem quite mechanical – the sort of thing you’d assign to a mid-level person on your team. But the discussion in Arlington really brought home for me just how strategic it needs to be.
Most of the comms executives participating in the discussion described what I can only characterize as a disjointed approach: one tool for traditional media, another for blogs, another for twitter, and so on. For a few, responsibility for each type of monitoring (traditional vs. social) even resides in separate groups or departments. Now, a few folks did describe more integrated systems. But even in those cases, typical reporting is channel by channel, perhaps with some overall statistics on company mentions, tonality, and/or share of voice.
Does any of this describe your department’s approach?
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I suspect this practice stems from seeing media monitoring as primarily a reactive activity OR a retrospective activity; that is, spot potential “issues” early and then decide whether and how to respond, OR see how well something went.
But what if media monitoring could make a real difference in our proactive efforts? I’ve seen that in a handful of companies, it does. But this only happens where monitoring is:
1. integrated across media types and
2. focused on in-depth, audience-centric listening.
We need to understand coverage the way our stakeholders do, which involves multiple media types, not necessarily weighing every source equally.
Stakeholder-centric monitoring can help us predict how stakeholders will respond to our messages and view points, ultimately shaping our communication strategy. Example uses:
- Scenario plan “what if” situations for a proposed announcement, decision, or product launch
- Gather insight when the business is considering a decision, but concerned about the reputation implications
- Identify high-impact ways to connect hot issues to topics of great concern to the business
- Identify network “hot spots,” which merit the same sort of attention and relationship-building effort you would dedicate to an influential journalist or industry analyst
What are some innovative ways your organization is getting strategic value from media monitoring?