Going digital: Top tips for monitoring PR coverage

  • 1
  • January 9, 2014
David White

David White

Head of Content Marketing

During the past few years, it’s become very clear that the PR industry is changing. Up has risen the power of online coverage – the type of coverage that can be monitored more easily by a variety of free tools, compared to the expensive cuttings services used for more traditional print coverage.

The internet has become the first port of call for consumers to gather information, whether that be the location of their nearest supermarket, where to find the cheapest holidays, or simply to look at pictures of cats (I’m not judging!)

When you work on behalf of a client, you want all eyes on them. So you have to match your PR strategy to the place where consumers are searching for information relevant to your client. Working in Digital PR, it’s my job to secure the kind of top-class online coverage that not only gets the client’s message out there and improves brand awareness, but also has a positive impact on their SEO performance.

With hundreds of emails sent and phone calls made each week, it’s highly important – but often difficult – to keep track of coverage. If you land one highly authoritative placement, who knows how many sites could pick it up naturally? Plus, if you have more than one PR campaign running at a time, it’s easy to lose track of the natural pieces of coverage created from an authoritative placement.

If you don’t have the correct tools to monitor where your client has been mentioned, you could well be missing out on some brilliant pieces of natural PR coverage. I’ve put together four key tips for monitoring the appearance of natural coverage to make sure no piece of coverage is left unknown!

1. Get instant notifications with Google Alerts

One of the most simple, yet useful tools for monitoring coverage is Google Alerts. Simply type your client’s name into the alert box and you’ll get an email every time the brand name is mentioned on a page indexed by Google.

This tool is particularly useful when seeding a piece of content, by putting the keywords of the content into a Google Alert, you can keep constant tabs on who’s covered it and whether they’ve included your client’s name and a link to the content. The beauty of Google Alerts is that they can be changed at any time, so each time you’re promoting a new piece of content; you can edit your alert and stay on top of your coverage.

2. See a list of sites using Fresh Web Explorer

Fresh Web Explorer is a research tool designed by Moz. Simply type in your client’s name (or the keyword for your campaign), and it pulls up a list of all the mentions they’ve had in the last four weeks. The results are shown both in graph format, and in a list underneath which details every URL that has recently contained the client name or your keyword.

This tool is great if you already know your content has had a lot of natural pick-up to enable you to see a complete list of mentions. Another handy aspect of Fresh Web Explorer is that you can search more than one term at once, so you can put your competitors in the same graph to compare how many mentions they’ve had against your client.

Fresh Web Explorer 2

3. Use news-worthy assets

The best way to gain natural pick-up is to seed something that’s topical and newsworthy. Google News is a comprehensive news source that’s constantly being updated. Keeping an eye on Google News can be really helpful in getting the most up-to-date information of where you’ve received online news coverage.

I have my Google Alerts set to notify me once a day for each client; however Google News is a great tool to see any coverage you’ve achieved instantly.

4. Don’t forget the basics!

Last but by no means least, is the classic Google search. By filtering your search to the appropriate location and time frame, you can be sure that you’ve not missed any natural coverage. By doing this at the beginning of each week, you can be sure that no placements have slipped through the net!

The chance of gaining natural links varies in relation to the original site that the story was featured on. Sites such as Mashable and BuzzFeed always have a huge amount of shares on their articles, therefore it’s more likely that your content will get natural pick-up. By monitoring your online coverage instantly, daily, and weekly, you can always be sure you’re seeing all the coverage from your PR campaigns!