1 – DECIDE WHICH SOURCES AND SUBJECTS YOU WANT TO TRACK
There’s a lot of media outlets and media angles out there, and you can’t possibly track everything related to your business or industry effectively. However, you can effectively track relevant topical articles and social media trends.
Now, determine what you want to track. Examples include your business name, all your brand names, key contributors and leaders, certain keywords, and specific competitors. If your competition is getting mentioned along with specific keywords, and you are not, now you have an idea where to tweak your marketing and PR.
Once you have a solid idea of what you want to learn, you will have a clear idea which tools you need to gather that data.
2 – CHOOSE THE BEST TOOL FOR YOUR JOB
This could mean hiring an in-house team, or it could mean contracting a PR firm to do the work. It could also mean determining which tools work best for your situation. The key concept here is to understand your situation and to choose the best tool for your objectives.
Factors to consider include the size of your business, your budget, the breadth and scope of your messaging, the ROI you desire, and your overall earned media expectations. Some online tools may work, and there are quite a few of these, from free services with limited value to paid options designed to work for specific applications.
3 – RESPOND TO WHAT YOU LEARN
When extrapolating the data you gather, begin with metrics and applications in mind. Not just what you want to know, but what you will do with that knowledge. You may want to invest in specific actions that are working while also putting some resources into filling gaps in your communications plan. You may need to come up with something completely new.
Set perimeters on the type and extent of your response before you engage. Above all else, look for new opportunities to establish dialogue and create conversations you can manage.