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Identifying the Top PR Media Monitoring Services, Tools & Software

Media monitoring tools, services & software are necessary to get a pulse as to the overall media coverage about a product or brand.

By: Michael Brito

Category: Analytics

[Updated 12.29.2021]

Click here to go straight to the curated list of PR media monitoring tools.

The media monitoring software and solutions market is crowded and always has been. As someone who has worked for a few different PR agencies, I have experience with several media monitoring tools and have watched many of them come and go. However, it’s good to see the media monitoring services market innovate and provide new and improved services for communications professionals.

Two emerging leaders have separated themselves from the other media monitoring tools. Cision and Meltwater are two platforms that originated purely as a media monitoring service that tracked only earned media coverage. However, over the last 10+ years, both companies have made significant acquisitions of various PR monitoring software tools that offer influencer analytics, social listening, and reputation management. The most recent was when Cision acquired Brandwatch.

The media monitoring software space is ripe for innovation, and I am excited to see how this will impact the public relations industry. I will be tracking new vendors, mergers & acquisitions, and existing social media platforms as they add new functionality, integrations, and improvements to the software.

What is Media Monitoring and Analysis?

Media monitoring systematically gathers, records, and analyzes media mentions from online news, broadcast media, and print media. The purpose of earned media monitoring is to track, assess, and understand media exposure, brand health, market perception, identify potential crises, and document both negative and positive coverage. Media monitoring can provide critical information about a brand’s public perception and earned media efforts.

Why is Media Monitoring Important?

There are many different reasons why organizations need to invest in a media monitoring tool, including:

  • Consumer Feedback: Identify positive and negative feedback from consumers to drive innovation and steer future projects/products.
  • Media Activity Tracking: Create media lists, track which media outlets write about your company or industry, identify new media contacts and press releases, and manage PR campaigns.
  • Responding to Crisis: Monitor mentions and online conversations when your brand is in crisis situations, including the rapid identification of threats and opportunities, sentiment analysis, reputation management, and real time media monitoring.
  • Competitive Analysis: Keep track of competitive earned media mentions to maintain a competitive advantage.
  • Create Custom Reports: Build PR and media dashboards to track share of voice, brand reputation, message pull-through, and overall PR impact.
  • Media Relations: Use a comprehensive media monitoring tool to track all media opportunities, journalist engagements, and all of your other PR efforts.

Outside of industry leaders Cision and Meltwater, there are several other players in the media monitoring software space to review.

How Does Media Monitoring Work?

Media monitoring is not a complex concept to understand. However, most communications professionals I know aren’t technically savvy, so there is usually a learning curve for adopting PR software. Also, most media monitoring tools don’t necessarily design their software to be user-friendly.

In most cases, the first step in building a PR media monitoring strategy is keyword research. This includes identifying all branded and unbranded keywords that may be important to your business. The keywords can be added directly to the media monitoring platform using Boolean Logic.

Once the keywords are added, the next step is to identify the most appropriate news sources, which can include online news, broadcast, print, review sites, and in some cases, social media channels.

Once the keywords and news sources are added, most media monitoring platforms will start to track online conversations, brand mentions, and all the mentions of your competitors or topics.

Advanced Use Cases of Media Monitoring

Media monitoring is not necessarily the same thing as PR measurement. However, you can use the software for measurement purposes. In fact, I would suggest that you create multiple dashboards and track media mentions across different segments of media outlets. For example, if you have a top 25 media list, you can track all coverage and competitive coverage within that confined list. You can also break down the media segments by the target audience, vertical, industry, or tier accordingly. The point is to think strategically about what you want to know from your media monitoring strategy.

A media monitoring strategy should also include an analysis of the “context” of the coverage. This would uncover the hidden narratives that the media finds relevant based on what they are writing about. For example, assume that you want to know more about the DevOps industry. You add the keywords and phrases into the media monitoring software but choose two different content sources.

In the first analysis, you choose all business and tech media publications. In the second analysis, you choose just the top 25 media publications you designate as tier 1 media.

When analyzing the top business and tech media, the data shows that the core messages around DevOps are related to cloud migration, AIOps, and automation. However, when you look at just the top 25 media pubs, the core messages are scale and security. These insights are critical for PR professionals and all media monitoring strategies.

Newsjacking in the media isn’t a new thing. PR professionals have been doing this for years, and it’s pretty easy. Most media monitoring software platforms provide real time tracking of what the media is publishing. In this case, the media team will track industry-specific topics and keywords. Once a particular keyword starts to trend, media pitching begins. One critical success factor is that a media monitoring strategy must include the operational elements of pitching the media quickly and efficiently.


Here’s the List of Leading Media Monitoring Platforms

Propel

Propel is a cloud based platform and PR software that has a built-in CRM to track journalists and reporters. They have the capability of tracking pitch email open rates based on specific topics and media. Imagine being able to know what subject lines have a higher likelihood of being opened by the target journalists. Wow. This is their biggest differentiator from the other platforms. Their philosophy is to build native apps that integrate into the PR team’s workflow which is a huge plus in my book. They also have the general media monitoring and analysis of online news, sentiment analysis, and solid integration with Google Analytics.

Propel PR Software

Muck Rack

Muck Rack is a PR monitoring software tool that tracks online news media coverage, blogs, podcasts, and broadcast. They provide media coverage reports, dashboards, sentiment analysis, and article share data across social media platforms. They also have a built-in tool that tracks real-time, trending topics happening in the online news media. Their journalist database isn’t too shabby either.

Muck Rack Media Monitoring Software

Memo

Memo is a good media monitoring tool that is on the verge of proving real ROI for earned media programs. They have built relationships with several important news sources and media publications allowing them to provide web analytics at the article level. This takes out the guessing of an earned media value metric and provides real page views, unique visitors, web referrals, and other impactful data directly from news sources.

Memo PR Monitoring Tools

Newswhip

Newswhip isn’t really a media monitoring tool and I don’t necessarily recommend using it to monitor media coverage. Their platform does not integrate data from broadcast and print media, review sites, or social media channels. It only pulls in data from online news sites but only from article headlines and the metadata. In other words, if a brand is mentioned in the last paragraph, it wouldn’t show up in the data. However, they have an impressive predictive platform called Spike which is great for crisis management, real time media monitoring, brand reputation, and to monitor conversations in real time.

Newswhip News Monitoring Services

Onclusive

Onclusive (formerly AirPR) is a cloud based platform and business media monitoring service and they have a strong integration with Google Analytics. One of the differentiators is that they provide insights into competitive performance against core media KPIs and social metrics like earned media coverage volume, brand mentions, share of voice, social media performance, share-of-social, brand reputation, and sentiment analysis. The integration with social media is a little stronger than the other media monitoring services as they provide really strong data insights which is great to help prove the value of a marketing campaign.

Onclusive Media Monitoring Dashboard

Critical Mention

Critical Mention is a PR media monitoring tool that I don’t know much about. They provide the usual media analysis and media monitoring service, analysis reports, sentiment analysis, dashboards, and a media contact database. They are one of the strongest PR news media platforms that collect and track broadcast coverage. In full transparency, I don’t have a lot of experience using Critical Mention but I have heard good things from other communications professionals.

Critical Mention Media Monitoring App

Signal AI

Signal AI is a media intelligence platform that tracks earned media coverage using artificial intelligence. I have to be honest and say that I don’t know much about them and I have never used or logged into their platform. But I have heard some really good things about the insights they provide. One area of positive feedback I have received is that they provide access to premium non-English media publications, which is automatically translated into English. This is a huge time saver. Translating online news isn’t an easy thing to do.

Signal AI Dashboard

CoverageBook

CoverageBook is a like a lookbook for tracking media mentions, hence the name. If you have ever spent hours on hours grabbing screenshots and adding them into a PowerPoint presentation, then this might be the tool for you. CoverageBook is not a media analysis tool, but could be used for coverage tracking with beautifully designed templates.

Coveragebook Report Example

TechNews

TechNews is one of those hidden gem media monitoring tools. Their focus is solely on B2B and tech media outlets. They have decent dashboards and custom reports but the benefit I see with TechNews is the data they export. They provide all journalist data to include all contact information including Twitter and LinkedIn profiles.

Technews Screenshot

AnswerThePublic

AnswerThePublic doesn’t monitor coverage, analyze online news nor can it be used for PR analytics. I’m not really sure in which category this software belongs to, but the insights are extremely helpful for communications professionals. The platform tracks Google autocomplete data and then contextualizes useful phrasing and questions that users might be asking about the keywords.

anwerthepublic dashboard

Podseeker

Podseeker is a podcast database and media intelligence platform for marketers and PR pros. This podcast tracker includes over 2 million podcasts and contact emails.

Podseeker Screenshot

Getting the right monitoring tool is critical to measuring media effectiveness, impact and overall coverage.


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