How to Find Context in Media Monitoring?

As I mentioned in an earlier post about media monitoring, context is king.

The real power is to find context in media monitoring, the ability to provide additional context directly related to the media mentions. The more context provided, the more valuable your monitoring service becomes. Context gives perspective and perspective gives insight. In turn, insight enables informed decision making which leads to business objective success.

A special type of context is available through source selection. Media monitoring keywords are usually mined in various sources. These sources are usually grouped together to make packages. For example, a possible package could be “Tech Blogs” or “National Canadian News Sites”. In any case, choosing which sources to include can also lead to increased contextual understanding. In fact, in some industries, having the right source is essential and without it, media monitoring would be less effective. What‘s worse is that some sources in this day an age or not covered adequately or covered with a media bias. Trying to perform media monitoring where the media reportage is slanted produces data that is misleading.

One of the best examples of the trade-off between content and context is when examining the recent events occurring in Toronto with embattled mayor, Rob Ford. The amount of coverage has been staggering over time. Furthermore, much of the reporting has been to dramatize the more sensational aspects of the media events. How much of the reporting is news and how much is ripe for being called tabloid journalism?

Public Relations and branding are consuming a large mindshare of those individuals that care about the reputation of Toronto and the effect that the Mayor’s actions are having on the city and the country in general. When traditional media monitoring is applied to large volumes of mentions being generated from these media events, it seems as if a tap has been turned on and is unleashing a constant stream of data that all looks the same but with slightly different language. It is almost as if media watchers are getting to the point where they are screaming, “This is getting old! Tell me something I don’t know!”

When media mentions are accompanied by contextual data, they can provide much greater insight. Here are just some of the questions that can be answered with contextual coverage of the Rob Ford Saga:

What mindshare of Toronto-related reporting is consumed with Rob Ford? What impact has Rob Ford had on Toronto’s brand? How has the media shaped the conversation regarding Toronto’s embattled mayor? Have certain news publications consistently published negative or positive articles regarding the mayor despite unfolding events? And finally, what other topics was the media covering regarding Toronto?

The answers to these questions, as well as many others, can produce a variety of public relations options and strategies to help save Toronto’s brand as well as to restore voter confidence in a voter system many are apathetic about anyway. These strategies cannot be built on mentions alone. You must have context and your media monitoring solution must provide it to you to allow you to act and execute strategies that can truly make a difference! That is what we at Gnowit are striving for. We build contextual media monitoring tools to provide relevant insights.

To be fair in this discussion, content is also very important. But let me share a real pearl of media monitoring insight with you here. The most important content is often overlooked when we take a simplistic – and often traditional – view at media monitoring. In order to benefit from media monitoring you have to be able to monitor the sources that the media reports on. Media monitoring is not always unbiased and it is not always available. For example, in the case of the political sphere, it is not enough to monitor the media publications; you must monitor what they are reporting on yourself. If you do this, you can reach insight faster and you can oftentimes catch opportunities and threats that the media misses.

Hansard debates is a case in point. Monitoring the federal parliament and provincial legislatures is a great way for lobbyists, analysts, unions, embassies and a host of other industries to monitor for opportunities and threats and to take advantage of them all before the media even reports on them – if they do at all. Who knows, they might be busy reporting on the next mayoral or political spectacle.