In today’s sprawling media landscape and overlapping communications channels (from broadcast news to blogs and newspapers to social media) the right or wrong message can make a lasting impact on your business, brand and reputation. To navigate that landscape, you need to immediately know what people are saying about your firm, who they are and how you might best respond. That’s where a consistent process to monitor news reports, social media chatter and other communications about your firm is imperative.
To be blunt, bad things happen when you’re not paying attention, but you’ll also miss the opportunity to leverage the good moments that could positively impact your brand reputation. Whether your firm is small or large, the answer is a robust media monitoring program to track what’s being said and help inform your decisions on how best to respond. Here are a few key examples of why media monitoring matters even more into today’s grounded media landscape.
Track and Celebrate Your Wins
While we may sometimes associate media monitoring by ensuring we’re aware of negative stories when they pop up, it’s just as important for the positive stories. A news story about a program at your law firm could easily make it into a magazine, newspaper or TV broadcast without the media entity asking for an interview or making you aware. Likewise, people will sometimes say nice things about your brand on social media without remembering or knowing to tag your account. By tracking the chatter out there, you can seize upon those good stories quickly and amplify them on your own social media channels or reach out directly to further engage and maximize the positive publicity.
Build Relationships and Create Opportunities
Whether a story is positive or negative, it’s good to know who’s talking about your company and stay in touch with them. Even if a reporter publishes a negative story about your brand, that doesn’t mean they’ll be opposed to a more positive story down the road. Their job is to be fair and share the news and other interesting stories with their audiences. The fact that they’re already familiar with your organization actually makes it more likely they might share another story down the road as long as you can connect and build that relationship ahead of time. So don’t ignore the negative; learn from it and engage with that person to begin building a better relationship and mutual trust.
Rapid Response for Crisis Communications
Crisis communications and rapid response is often at the center of a media monitoring program, even if the likelihood of a crisis is low. Rumors can quickly get out of hand if you’re not aware of the conversation and able to respond quickly. Quickly knowing that a negative story is getting media attention gives you an opportunity to respond immediately and ensure your side of the story is included in a report or even put a hold on a story that isn’t true. Alternatively, it provides you with precious time to coordinate a response within your firm and prepare your people. The worst possible situation is when you are the last person to know about the story. At that point, the damage is done.
Measure the Impact of Media and Reputation on Your Firm
Monitoring, tracking and logging media stories over time can also provide valuable perspective about their impact on your broader business goals. See a spike or dip in your numbers? Cross reference them with your media coverage reports. Interested in expanding your public relations efforts? Build a model to measure the effectiveness of those efforts over time. The data may not make sense week-to-week, but over quarter-to-quarter and year-to-year, you’ll start to see trends.
Media Monitoring Services to Consider
Whether celebrating your wins or trying to get ahead of a potential crisis, media monitoring is an important component in any communications program. However, not all media monitoring services are created equal. The lowest point of entry is Google. You can set up daily Google Alerts or even schedule emails anytime Google finds a new mention about your brand. They’re easy to set up, but Google Alerts are far from a robust solution.
The next step is a big one. You can subscribe to dedicated media monitoring platforms that cover print and online publications by the region, country or even the entire world. You can even add broadcast media tracking services for stories that do not show up in print or online. And don’t forget the MANY social media monitoring and listening platforms that provide a whole host of options (look out for a future blog post just on social listening tools).
All of these platforms require a dedicated team to monitor the results and help decide how best to make them work for your law firm. That’s where agencies like ours can help. We already subscribe to pricey monitoring services due to the nature of our business. You can work with an agency like Ghidotti to help you monitor mentions and fine-tune your process to respond to those.