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As public relations professionals, we’re strong believers that monitoring the news is just as important as pitching story ideas to reporters. Staying up to date on the latest in the media is essential to understanding a client’s industry and audience. This deeper understanding not only leads to creating more authentic content that resonates with a client’s audience, but it also allows for genuine connections with real people on behalf of the brand. 

This is particularly true for our client THOR Industries, one of the largest RV manufacturers in the world and parent company to 17 subsidiary RV brands. Each day, our team combs through hundreds of print, online and broadcast news clips and social media posts that mention THOR Industries, any of its subsidiaries or any of the subsidiaries’ specific brands. We then compile a roundup of news and social media highlights and email it to the THOR Industries team.

This daily news and social media report (yes, the daily part is important) serves two critical purposes:

  1. It allows the THOR Industries team to quickly and easily see the most important news and social media posts from the day.
  2. It keeps our team up to speed on the ins and outs of the RV industry. As mentioned, with this fuller understanding of the RV world, we’re able to create content and engage with THOR Industries’ audience from an insider’s perspective, rather than outsiders looking in.

Did you know that by 2020, there will be 40 times more bytes of data than there are stars in the observable universe?! That’s a lot of data. In the age of information overload, how do we cut through the noise and find the media that matters most to our clients?

Luckily, there are several tools available to help. One of our favorites is your basic Google Alerts, which sends notifications via email whenever your preset keywords are mentioned online. For more robust news and social media monitoring and alerts, we use Meltwater and Cision. These platforms allow for more specific searches and insights on audience reach and other meaningful data points. We recommend using all three in tandem for news and social media monitoring so nothing slips through the cracks. 

These platforms pull in an astonishing amount of search results, so we narrow down these results using several filters, including Boolean search terms. This type of search allows users to combine keyword searches with “operators” like AND, NOT and OR to generate more specific search results. We use Boolean search terms with all the tools listed above, and they’re a major timesaver and relatively easy to learn. 

For example, in our searches for THOR Industries, we only want articles related to the RV industry and not the Marvel superhero. Our search using Boolean search terms might look like this: “THOR Industries” AND “RV” NOT (“Thor” AND (“Marvel” OR “Superhero”))

Make sense? If not, check out this Boolean beginners guide to get started. 

Now that you have all your search results in one place, how do you determine what news and social media posts to call out to your client? In our monitoring, we’re always on the hunt for relevant articles and social media posts from credible sources and that have a significant reach and quality content

You should also ask your client what types of articles they want to see! Do they care about investor news? Then keep an eye out for stock-related news about your client. What about community involvement? Look for news and social media posts about your client’s role in the community. 

Learning what is most important to your client takes time, and the more you monitor, the more you’ll understand the search results that are most relevant.

Happy monitoring!