In our exponentially changing media landscape, we hear that we can’t run a successful organization without timely media monitoring. But why is that, and what is media monitoring in the first place?
The term “media monitoring” is the action of staying up to date with what is being said about your organization, or really, anything that could be relevant to you. Media monitoring allows you to track coverage across all media outlets, whether it be on traditional platforms like the news, TV and radio, or on social media platforms, such as Facebook.
Whether a crisis presents itself head on, or you have press you want to push out, media monitoring allows you to be in the know, gives you the ability to see who is saying what about your organization and how many people are chiming in.
But this still forces us to question, why would it be a useful tool in shaping our crisis communications strategy and decision making? And how could doing this make or break our reputation and the trust we have built with our communities?
Stay on top of a bubbling crisis.
As part of your reputation management, media monitoring affords you the opportunity to first see what is publicly being said about your organization. A crisis can happen overnight, or sometimes it bubbles underneath the surface and boils over time. Maybe someone had an unsavory experience at your organization, or maybe you received criticism about your actions and values. The bottom line is, you never know when a crisis can present itself to you – whether big or small.
It is how we respond to a crisis that will make or break your recovery from something possibly detrimental to your organization. Even if we have clear procedures and processes in place to prevent and respond to a crisis, we can’t neglect the fact that we must be prepared to communicate about one.
Timely media monitoring will help you see potential threats to the goodwill you’ve accumulated with your stakeholders as they bubble up and prepare for what kind of questions you may receive, which gives you the ability to identify an issue, formulate a thoughtful response and ultimately have the upper hand in being able to craft an effective crisis communications plan. Without first being able to recognize a crisis in its early stages and respond accordingly, you open yourself up to the risk of stakeholders worrying you don’t know how to handle a situation, or worse, are indifferent to the problems this may cause for them.
Identify trends in coverage during and after a crisis.
Feedback during and after a crisis will shape your decision-making. As much as we hope for a crisis to be resolved overnight, oftentimes, risk assessment and responding to an issue takes an indefinite amount of time. Different factors, opinions and feelings evolve through every stage of a crisis — so your crisis response and strategy should too.
Assess the effectiveness of your crisis communications strategy and be on top of the shifts in tone or coverage that you notice about your organization. Even after doing all you can to resolve an issue, measuring your stakeholders’ response to your efforts is critical in truly being able to determine whether your efforts in mending relationships and maintaining trust were effective.
Bridging the gap between misunderstandings, rumor and speculation is key in responding to a crisis and finding lapses in spreading information. Media monitoring is an efficient and effective tool that should be utilized in every phase of a crisis. It may just surprise you when you’re able to anticipate a crisis or issue before it even becomes one.