Univeral Amplifier

Universal Amplifier

Amplifying the topics that power today's PR professional

News Monitoring Tools: A Primer

At Universal I take calls, emails and tweets all the time asking about our news monitoring and media analysis services. When I think in terms of #samerules and #newtools, it strikes me that almost no two clients have the exact same need. Sure, many of our clients need TV clips and press clippings, or their media exposure analyzed, but rarely do they need their information in the exact same manner as another client.
Universal Information Services

I originally set out to provide a primer on the various news monitoring services like Critical Mention and Cision, as well as other News Data Service affiliates like Utah News Clips. An overview of what each news tracking, media measurement, or even media contacts platform provides would be helpful to clients. But seriously, who is going to read a blog post that runs 10 pages long? What I’ve presented below are the three main types of vendors to consider when discerning which news monitoring and media analysis service is best for your organization.

1. Free solutions: In this category you find search engines with basic functionality for storing some keywords and returning results to you. Free services like Google News Alerts or Bing act as search agents informing you of some of the news you want to hear. The most recent studies indicate these free services contain about 30% of the published or broadcast news in the United States. If you just need some information, and aren’t picky about the specific media outlets that ran the story, these free services can be a great tool. You can track a lot of news for free. For organizations that need more comprehensive media monitoring, or media measurement beyond basic quantitative metrics, the paid monitoring services are essential.

2. Paid solutions: The most comprehensive services come in two flavors. You have the monitoring services that provide all the online tools you need, plus true customer service to support special needs and ad hoc requests. Companies like Universal Information Services or Cision fall into this category. Then you have the SaaS companies like Critical Mention and TVEyes. SaaS vendors provide a login to their platform where you perform the work yourself.

Comprehensive services that offer service and support generally have the following benefits over their SaaS competitors.
Backsearching for ad hoc orders
Support staff to handle questions and special requests
Crisis management contacts to assist with after hours needs
The ability customize your service package to specifically fit your needs

SaaS services are very good at:
Providing a single platform for reviewing and editing TV clips
Offering competitive pricing, although options and features are reduced
Delivering a nice looking interface to their platform.

3. Executive Summary Services This category represents the newest breed of news monitoring services. The goal of these services is to filter through the entire information sphere, pulling only the most strategic news stories as defined by the client. In a sense, this type of news monitoring cuts through the noise for the client so they don’t have to filter their own results. In constructing our Executive Reports we still look at virtually all media outlets for print, broadcast, web and social media stories, but then select only the news that is most critical to our client. Although Executive Summary services come at a premium over the “all you can eat” models, the time and resources saved by the client can make up for that additional cost.
Universal Infomation Services

Our most recent analysis shows that most prospects are looking for flexibility, options, and the ability to modify orders with the help of support staff. However, not all users need that kind of help. In the end, you need to decide what your real needs are and what vendor can fulfill them now, or evolve with you in the future. If I can answer any questions, please leave a comment. I’m listening.


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