Communications professionals are faced with the concern/issue of how to maintain control of communication when implementing social media strategies. It’s a challenge in a Web 2.0 world. As professionals learn to use the various 2.0 tools to reach and interact in social communities with citizen journalists, they will also need to learn the best practices of monitoring in an effort to be aware of positive/negative communication as it spreads quickly online. It’s not as difficult as you think.
There are PR service providers that are raising the bar to meet the needs and expectations of communications professionals who are introducing their brands to social media applications. I had so many interesting discussions with executives from Cision, Marketwire, PR Newswire, Business Wire, and Delahaye (also now a Cision company). You’d be surprised at the monitoring and measurement that is available today.
It was different years ago pre- PR 2.0. Monitoring and measurement was through a clipping service. However, conversations on the Web advance marketers and their brands far beyond just simple clipping services (hundreds of people paid to read magazines, newspapers, trade journals and other niche publications). My book references how back in the day, a cut and pasted clip book was handed over the client. I remember those days. “Here’s your quarterly clip book,” we’d say to our clients. Big and bulky yet valuable, the clip book was tangible proof of the PR person’s performance – a measurement that can be judged. However, now, clients want proof for their social media investments.
PR service providers are right there at the forefront of technology providing the most advanced types of monitoring. I had an interesting discussion with Ted Skinner, Vice president of public relations products at PR Newswire. PR Newswire service is constantly under review depending on what medium needs to be tracked. Now, companies and their representative PR firms or IR firms are very interested in tracking what’s being said out there in more than the traditional areas. For instance, tracking blogs is different.
The tracking goes well beyond gross impressions, which was as in-depth as the interest went pre-Web 2.0. The Web universe is so sophisticated now that it requires you to go beyond the pure number or mentions or gross impressions. PR Newswire signed a deal with Technorati, one of the leaders in blog tracking, to provide more complete monitoring for the company’s clients. Technorati provides PR Newswire’s customers with the ability to track online conversations triggered by news releases. In the interview Skinner said, “One thing PR Newswire has always done is we’ve delivered the news to the media who can best take advantage of it and write stories and provide the publicity our clients are looking for.” He also added, “With the blogosphere, our clients are now very interested in saying, ‘Ok, what has the information in these news releases triggered? We’ve just launched a new product, we’ve sent out a news release. Who’s talking about it and what are they saying? Is our message resonating or do we need to modify it?’”
It’s amazing how monitoring and measurement has changed to meet the changing needs of brands that are involved in Web marketing conversations. Communications professionals need to embrace PR 2.0 and social media applications for their brands. Don’t let the challenge of monitoring stop you from engaging your brands from more frequent and better conversations with customers in their web communities.