Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Hacking a media monitoring service

Media monitoring isn't cheap. Most services will divide up the media landscape and then charge you a fee for monitoring each one. Print/TV/Radio? $1500-$2000 per month. Online news? $1000 per month. Social? $100 - $1000 per month.

Most small businesses won't get mentioned in the press enough to warrant this monitoring and most large organisations that worry about their name in the media are big enough to afford the cost. But there is also a middle ground of growing businesses that want to monitor their business but can't afford the professional fees.

What's the answer? I've been able to hack together a pretty good media monitoring plan without any fees using as many free monitoring services I can get. Here's the run-down:

Print: My local library has a subscription to PressDisplay.com which gives me daily print monitoring of hundreds of local and national newspapers.
Online news: I have set-up my Google Reader to receive RSS feeds of the following news aggregators - Google News, Bing News and Yahoo News. I've spread my bets across the field because they all trawl different amounts of news sites. (note: Bing news send through the feed a couple of times a day which gets a bit confusing).
Forums: Grab an RSS feed from BoardReader
Blog and Social Search: Icerocket is a service from the Meltwater Group and a pretty good free option from a comprehensive professional Monitor.
Blog Search: Twingly is another Blog Search tool - as you're sticking these feeds in an RSS reader the more feeds you have the broader your possible monitor.
Social Search: Although it is not in my RSS reader, I use Hootsuite to publish and monitor social streams. One of the big pluses for this is that you can geo-code your search results to narrow down more generic search terms.

The one big omission that I have is TV and Radio. Monitoring these services requires lots of people and many hours of transcribing audio which is why the big Media Monitoring services charge so much. There are services that will do this for you on an ad-hoc basis, but you have to know you're going to be mentioned to know to get the transcript!

My list isn't exhaustive by any means and missing TV and Radio is a big hole, but for growing businesses it is a pretty good starting point for monitoring your brand. If you know of any more services feel free to comments and i'll keep growing the list.

UPDATE: The gods were against me on this one. The day after I write this post, praising RSS and Google Reader, Google announces they are going to kill-off Reader. Boo. Not to worry, I still think RSS is the best way to monitor media for your brand so I'm going to go off and find a better Reader.